Thursday, 18 June 2009

yerba buena

when the Spanish came to California the priests named this place yerba buena
literally meaning 'good herb'
for the fragrance that rose from the aromatic groundcover Clinopodium douglasi as it was crushed underfoot by the brothers as they wandered about forcibly dispensing Catholicism to the Ohlone

in the sixties it may have had a slightly different connotation 

i came here this week feeling just a little wrung out...Tolkien puts it perfectly as "like butter spread over too much bread"...and needing a new direction in my work having taught all my tricks during this rather heavy teaching year

the process of opening the windfall bundles that i've been making up here on the eleventh floor has filled me with delight...and gratitude

i'm grateful to this place for refreshing my spirit
and for giving me gifts in the street
windfall leaves and discarded metal fragments

i'm grateful to my family for keeping the home fires burning in my absence

and i'm grateful to my fellow taxpayers who [through an Arts SA grant] have partially underwritten this journey of [re]discovery of which there is yet more to come
as i'm now off to be an anonymous student for a week somewhere further east, in the deep heart of middle America

it'll be good to be on the other side of the fence again

Si, ha sido muy biena, gracias*... Yerba Buena has truly been the good herb...

*apologies to Spanish speakers for dodgy grammar, my linguistic skills are pretty much limited to ordering margaritas in that beautiful language


  1. Dear India, enjoy the other side of the fence.

  2. oh - you have been very close in proximity to some of my loved ones over there ...

  3. Have been eyeing up a little rusty object on my walks from my car to work and back
    Have decided I need a rusty item box
    then I may just go crazy!!
    till I fill it
    Who me?

  4. It will be a refreshing change to be on the other side of the fence. Enjoy!

  5. Where in middle America will you be?

  6. as always inspiring, refreshingly so

  7. Columbus, Ohio, Patricia....or, to quote Dorothy
    "not in Kansas anymore, Toto" and regrettably not in San Francisco either.

    but it will be a new adventure
    and doubtless there will be stories to be told...

  8. I love the idea of windfalls...