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Distant Neighbors

About halfway through the new book Distant Neighbors, which presents a fascinating collections of letters between two of my heros, Gary Snyder (see Gary Snyder at 83) and Wendell Berry. What a lively and thoughtful dialogue - and a lovely friendship. They exchanged nearly 250 letters from 1973 to 2013.  A snippet from Snyder's letter to Berry on June 3, 1977:

"The question I ask myself is, what next? My ignorance of the dynamics of economics troubles my sleep. I must keep working on that. Because, (as my study of China is showing more and more) the best intentions in the world will not stop the inertia of a heavy civilization that is rolling on its way. As poets, our politics mostly stand back from that flow of topical events; and the place we do our real work is in the unconscious, or myth-consciousness of the culture; a place where people decide (without knowing it) to change their values."

[NOTE: There is a powerful and subtle logic on display in these letters. I highly recommed this book]. 



Apropos of nothing, except perhaps to add a timeframe to your Monday, shown above is a fossil of Stenophlebia latrelli, an extinct genus of dragonfly from the late Jurrasic. i.e. about 150 million years ago. Deep time. Collected from the Solnhofen quarry in Eichstatt, Germany. [NOTE: Photographed in the California Aacademy of Sciences].


Echinopsis (and pollinator)

Echinopsis sp. cactus in flower at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden.  [NOTE: Probably Echinopsis chiloensis (Colla)Friedrich & G.D. Rowley (Catalog No. 52.0568)].

And a close-up of some pollination activity: 


Re-Visiting Camu-camu

Graduate student Meredith Martin (Yale Forestry) re-sampled the camu-camu (see Camu-camu) inventory plots that I originally established in 1984 along the banks of an ox-bow lake (shown above) in Peruvian Amazonia. Although the population had been exploited commercially for the past 27 years, Meredith found that the species continues to regenerate on the site, albeit at a lower rate, and that camu-camu is still an important wild-harvested resource along the lower Ucayali River. Extreme hydrological events since the late 1980's and the natural successional closure of the ox-bow lak have had a greater impact on the dynamics of this plant population than annual harvetsing. From the standpoint of sustainable forest use, this is an extremely important finding. [NOTE: A copy of the paper detailing this work (Economic Botany 68) can be found here].  



The San Francisco Women's Building at the corner of Lapidge and 18th Street in the Mission District is covered with an unbelievable mural called "Maestrapeace" (great title).  Painted in 1994 by Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, Irene Perez, and many helpers, the mural is a visual testament to the courageous contributions of women around the world. Beautiful (thx, Dan and Astrid).