Chaparral Spirit

Nancy Helsley, for the dedication of the Cold Creek Valley Preserve, June 6th 1993.


          See the largest, the smallest, the macro, the micro . . . .

          See hawks soar, then plunge suddenly to earth for prey,

    • the full moon rise over the eastern ridge, then set at 4 AM on a winter solstice morn,
    • the waving grasses silhouetted against the varying horizons,
    • the play of light and shadow creating myriad color schemes from subtle to bold,
    • the individual grains of soil, how they fit together to form shapes and support life, for plants and animals to which we are oblivious


          Hear the staccato call of the towhees and the vibrancy of the canyon wren.

          Hear the wind speak through the movement of the grasses & shrubs,

    • the wind whispering the spirits of the native people, the Chumash who lived here long ago.


          Feel the sizzling summer heat, the playful breezes, the icy cold sting of a winter storm.

          Feel the velvety purple sage, the leathery toyon or sumac, each evolving in a different way toward the same end: protection from rigors of climate extremes.


        Breath in the spicy pungent earth at first rainfall, the fishy clean fragrance of the mulefat near the creek.


          Taste the air on a foggy morn as clouds drift in a mist over the creek.

          Taste the melony chia seed or the vaporized air full of chaparral oils and dust on a superheated autumn day


          Sense the spirit of the people who lived here long ago, whose spirits

          live on today in ancestral Natives.


          Know and absorb the peace of this land that came before all people.

BE NOT AFRAlD of this wildness, for in the knowing there is strength.

COME, come back to the land for healing and wholeness.