“SIDE CANYONS, DEER TRAILS, CLIFFS & THICKETS”

The poem below from short term (several months, fall 1969 through early/mid 1970 ) Druid Heights resident Gary Snyder was dedicated to Druid Heights resident Alan Watts following his death on November 16, 1973. I believe their time at DH overlapped. If you have ever hiked in the Mt. Tamalpais/Marin headlands area you know that Snyder’s words match the land near DH as well as the way of Alan Watts.

The photos of Watts and Snyder date from the late 1950s. By then they had been friends for several years.

For Alan

“He blazed out the new path of all of us , and came back and made it clear .

Explored the side canyons and deer trails ,

And investigated Cliffs and thickets..

Many guides will have us travel single file,

Like mules in a pack train and never leave the trail .

Alan taught us to move forward like the breeze ,

Tasting the berries ,greeting blue jays, learning and loving the whole terrain..”

2 Comments on ““SIDE CANYONS, DEER TRAILS, CLIFFS & THICKETS”

  1. Druid Heights most certainly should be resurrected from the present shambles that it has become. How to raise significant interest and funds while keeping it off limits to the public? Out of sight out of mind. Yes the videos are helpful though much is lost I think. Everything is “a video” these days. Easy to forget.
    If one has never experienced an old growth redwood forest how much less enthusiasm than after sitting next to a giant?
    No doubt a culturally historic site, Druid heights needs accessibility for the word to spread.
    There needs to be an emotional connection for people to fight for it politically and or monetarily.
    Give a guided walk thru Druid Heights and explain to me the restoration ideas and plans and yes! I will donate, no doubt.

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  2. Although this sort of option may seem improbable, perhaps not: I would like to recommend someone consider seeking out a connection within San Anselmo’s famous resident, George Lucas, circle of friends, in the shadow of Mt Tamalpais – perhaps local people rather than someone in the film industry – or both.

    I understand that Mr. Lucas drew upon his knowledge of Buddhist concepts in creating the underlying mystical and spiritual theme in the Star Wars films. Perhaps, like many of us, he came across Alan Watts books or recorded lectures. What could be more valuable than the prominent support and advocacy of a prominent artist such as this? (Clint Eastwood and Keanu Reeves come to mind as among those who have some interest in the Eastern philosophies which so enlivened the Bohemian community at Druid Heights – certainly there are many others – Musicians, authors, artists, craftsmen . . inspired by the former residents)

    Perhaps we need to turn to an inspired younger generation at the universities – artists, film students, etc.

    Consider the possibility of a documentary – or better yet, a major motion picture – devoted to that era in the Bay area and the life of the nation, one making a central underlying link to the Druid Heights phenomenon and the linked cultures in the Sausalito houseboat district, at Berkeley, in San Francisco (City Lights Bookstore)? Imagine a film beginning not unlike the start of the film, “Contact,” with a broadcast of a Watts’ lecture from Berkeley, fading out to scenes of listeners in various predicaments in life, then to glimpses of events around the nation and world at that time, fading into the silence of space, with the Earth receding into the distance as Watts finishes his broadcast lecture. Fade to a sunny morning flight of a seagull or flock of geese over or under the Golden Gate Bridge, and then to that hidden little Bohemian oasis, Druid Heights and an early morning tea ceremony in the sunlight underneath the Eucalyptus trees humming in the light winds . . .

    In the interim, once the pandemic transitions into mere endemic, free spaces might be available in the city of San Francisco – or Berkeley – for Druid Heights/Alan Watts events/lectures where spaces are available to non-profit groups – at universities or libraries, or community centers. Post invitations on all of the Alan Watts Facebook and other forums. Seek out NPR and other radio stations who might host a ALAN WATTS LECTURE REBOOT series once per week.

    “Great men and women are those who realize that the spiritual is greater than any material FORCE, that thoughts rule the world.” Emerson

    JONI MITCHELL: GOT TO GET OURSELVES TO THE GARDEN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRjQCvfcXn0&t=60s

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