in Trees of California.
THE WOODS OF THE WEST.
Oh, woods of the west, leafy woods that
Where through the long days I have heard
The prayer of the wind in the branches above,
And the tremulous song of the bird.
Where the clust’ring blooms of the dog-wood hang o’er—
White stars in the dusk of the pine,
And down the dim aisles of the old forest pour
The sunbeams that melt into wine!
* * * * *
Oh, woods of the west, I am sighing today
For the sea-songs your voices repeat,
For the evergreen glades, for the glades far away
From the stifling air of the street,
And I long, ah, I long to be with you again
And to dream in that region of rest.
Forever apart from this warring of men—
Oh, wonderful woods of the west!
in At the Shrine of Song.
The Mohave yucca is a remarkable plant, which resembles in its nature both the cactus and the palm. It is found nowhere save in the Mohave Desert. It attains a height of thirty or forty feet, and the trunk, often two or three feet in diameter, supports half a dozen irregular branches, each tipped with a cluster of spine-like leaves. The flowers, which are of a dingy white color, come out in March and last until May, giving off a disagreeable odor. The fruit, however, which is two or three inches long, is pulpy and agreeable, resembling a date in flavor.
ARTHUR J. BURDICK,
in The Mystic Mid-Region.
Throughout the coast region, except in the extreme north, this Live Oak is the most common and characteristic tree of the Coast Range valleys which it beautifies with low broad heads whose rounded outlines are repeated in the soft curves of the foothills. Disposed in open groves along the bases of low hills, fringing the rich lands along creeks or scattered by hundreds or thousands over the fertile valley floors, the eyes of the early Spanish explorers dwelt on the thick foliage of the swelling crowns and read the fertility of the land in these evergreen oaks which they called Encina. The chain of Franciscan Missions corresponded closely to the general range of the Live Oak although uniformly well within the margin of its geographical limits both eastward and northward. The vast assemblage of oaks in the Santa Clara Valley met the eyes of Portola, discoverer of San Francisco Bay, in 1769, and a few years later, Crespi, in the narrative of the expedition of 1772, called the valley the “Plain of Oaks of the Port of San Francisco.” Then came Vancouver, Englishman and discoverer. Although he was the first to express a just estimate of the Bay of San Francisco, which he declared to be as fine as any port in the world, nevertheless it is his felicitous and appreciative description of the groves of oaks, the fertile soil (of which they were a sign), and the equable climate that one reads between his lines of 1792 the prophecy of California’s later empire.