— 300,000,000— First a sea: soft sands, muds, and marls — loading, compressing, heating, crumpling, crushing, recrystallizing, infiltrating, several times lifted and submerged, intruding molten granite magma deep-cooled and speckling, gold quartz fills the cracks— — 80,000,000— sea-bed strata raised and folded, granite far below. warm quiet centuries of rains (make dark red tropic soils) wear down two miles of surface, lay bare the veins and tumble heavy gold in streambeds slate and schist rock-riffles catch it – volcanic ash floats down and dams the streams, piles up the gold and gravel— — 3,000,000— flowing north, two rivers joined, to make a wide long lake. and then it tilted and rivers fell apart all running west to cut the gorges of the Feather, Bear, and Yuba. Ponderosa pine, manzanita, black oak, mountain yew, deer, coyote, bluejay, gray squirrel, ground squirrel, fox, blacktail hare, ringtail, bobcat, bear, all came to live here. —40,000— And human people came with basket hats and nets winter-houses and underground yew bows painted green, feasts and dances for the boys and girls songs and stories in the smoky dark. —125— Then came the white man: tossed up trees and boulders with big hoses, going after that old gravel and the gold. horses, apple-orchards, card-games, pistol-shooting, churches, county jail. We asked, who the land belonged to. and where one pays tax. (two gents who never used it twenty years, and before them the widow of the son of the man who got him a patented deed on a worked-out mining claim,) laid hasty on the land that was deer and acorn grounds of the Nisenan? Branch of the Maidu? (they never had a chance to speak, even, their name.) (and who remembers the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.) the land belongs to itself. “no self in self: no self in things” Turtle Island swims in the ocean-sky swirl-void biting its tail while the worlds go on-and-off winking & Mr. Tobiassen, a Cousin Jack, assesses the county tax. (the tax is our body-mind, guest at the banquet Memorial and Annual, in honor of sunlight grown heavy and tasty while moving up food-chains in search of a body with eyes and a fairly large brain— to look back at itself on high.) now, we sit here near the diggings in the forest, by our fire, and watch the moon and planets and the shooting stars— my sons ask, who are we? drying apples picked from homestead trees drying berries, curing meat, shooting arrows at a bale of straw. military jets head northeast, roaring, every dawn. my sons ask, who are they? WE SHALL SEE WHO KNOWS HOW TO BE Bluejay screeches from a pine.