Thursday, May 3, 2012

Twilight on Tamalpais ~ March 14, 1921

Once again I'm back to work on family genealogy. The thrill of the hunt, an archaeological dig and jigsaw puzzle all rolled into one. You never know what you'll find around the next corner. Sitting cross-legged on my studio floor I was looking through a small file cabinet for a specific photo. I got sidetracked by a manila folder filled with some ancient newspaper clippings. Among them was the following poem.

Twilight on Tamalpais

High upon a mountain, whose fingers touch the sky,
Whose pillared sides and giant trees saw men and nations die;
There, standing in the twilight, in Nature's fiery tone
I breathe the air of freedom and joy to be alone.

Below, there ride the straining ships ~ the greyhounds of the deep
Upon whose decks the silent crews their silent watches keep;
And in the middle distance, as greylike as a tomb,
As befits a dreary prison, is Alcatraz in the gloom.

Behold the distant ocean, the soundless, tossing sea
As silent as an ocean in any dream could be;
The stretches of the City, flung far across the Bay,
Whose myriad houses glow with light ~ the light that ends the day.

Alone to feel the silence, alone and all in peace,
The calm, still peace of even, as daily labors cease;
The passing breath of sunset, in lovely shades of red,
The peace and joy of living 'mid the splendors of the dead!

All I know is that it was written by Frank Livingstone, San Francisco, March 14, 1921. It was no doubt cut from the local newspaper by my grandmother or great grand mother.

Undated, photo/postcard of Mt. Tamalpais in same file

Anyone who has been up on the mountain will recognize the views and thoughts he describes. I could only smile at the similarity of my own journal entry written 91 years later (March 2012 blog: Just a Thought Series ~ December 10, 1970). It appears Mt. Tam holds magic for all who spend time in her embrace.