by Carter Scholz
hot day no shade Stanislaus National Forest Rim Of The World some tourists pull into asphalt parking area other cars trucks motorcycles blare on downhill from Buck Meadows pop 50 elev 3000 to Yosemite
asphalt glitters high tension lines overhead crackling and humming their length hot Stanislaus
sere foothill country burned black uphill side of the road traffic blares on past asphalt parking area masonry wall sheer drop
--Part of a fire. Forest regenerating after a fire.
--Daddy? I did an outline on the
--Are those ashes from the fire?
--This is where we are. Now if you look out over here, that was the Long Valley fire. Bi-ig. Twenty years, under that. That ridge had fire again.
--That’s just telling you where it was.
--How bad is it?
--Eh. It ain’t bad now.
--The name of the fire
--I’m down slipping.
--They take this, like a town called Conrads Valley
--May help, stand up sit down
--One time lightning
--You’re not the main interest
--Pretty though, ain’t it.
--Lightning strikes a tree and catches it on fire and the next thing you know, it’s so dry, I mean, c'mere
asphalt bounded by a restroom to the west explanatory signage to the east
--Does this involve Saturday?
--You could turn around and look at me.
thousand foot drop into vast bowl rising to can’t quite call them peaks twenty hazy miles north
--Somebody’s scared let it to be.
--Fire’s natural. Fire’s just natural.
vast bowl burned black with patches of spared grass flax in color, north fork Tuolumne River unseen in its fold
--You hear the electric on the wires?
traffic blares tourists talk seldom a silence long enough to hear through
car idling passengers inside don’t get out
--I don’t think it’s gonna work, Jack.
--No no no, just
--Hang on, ha.
--How horrible, lookit.
--Hal, it’s horrible.
--Take your picture?
--Ha ha, I will, I will.
--Hey son, take care of the old man.
--Shut up and get in here.
--Trying to open it.
--How many pictures are there, a thousand eight on this
--Just shut up.
--It’s hot out here.
--You moved your head.
--I have, dude, I have like. I have like a thousand pictures left.
high tension lines overhead humming crackling their length
--Never tweak the hood.
--And those things are so hot.
--Hello Mister Fumer.
--Yeah cause it was like
explanatory signage Pilot Fire 1989 some slopes burned clean chaparral buckbrush chemise mountain mahogany, and for poison oak Toicodendron [sic] diversiloba, and past this a dead end aisle of flagstones shaded by Ponderosa or are they gray pine, making a bower of shade for two vertical plinths three feet high two feet wide an inch thick, masonry wall sheer drop a few near treetops at eye level, some large leaved oaks, and very far off and down a glimpse of the Tuolumne River in its gravel
--You get voltage along those lines.
In memory of David Erickson
A US Forest Service crew leader from Siskiyou County, Calif. Lost his life while fighting the Stanislaus Complex Fire which destroyed 147,000 acres For the love of the forest he gave the ultimate sacrifice September 11, 1987
Sit and rest awhile
Listen to the pine trees whisper in the light wind
Gaze at the trees and look upward
Where branches reach the sky
Where clouds pass by and day turns to night
--I promise you it gets better than this.
seldom silence long enough to hear through, bright patches of spared grass flax in color, clouds pass by, day turns to night, wings of a hawk, what we know and what we’ll never, speak of it in spavined tongues, sheer drop, who is we, daughter, sister, crewmate, friend, for the love of, be careful, blare on, Toicodendron [sic], don’t know if there’s gonna be anything. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
--I don’t know if there’s gonna be anything
--And then you have a champagne brunch.
--Well you know what I mean.
--In the back. Yeah, I know what you mean.
--Do you hear that?
--Do you hear that electrical?
--I wasn’t, about, even listening. All done?
--Yeah. It’s one of those, um, composting toilets?
--Uh, in any bag in particular, or just at the top?
--Just at the top.
--Then we can find it.
--Yeah you’re right. It’s totally weird.
In memory of Eva Marie Schicke
--Yeah you can’t really get a good picture.
--It’s so big.
--We can’t really
--It’s too brown.
Oct 25, 1980 - Sept 12, 2004
Eva was a crew member of Helistack 404, based out of Columbia, California, on 9/12/2004 the Helistack crew was over run by flames on the Tuolumne Fire. The fire was located over the ridge from where you stand, in the Tuolumne River canyon. Eva will be remembered in history, not only as the first CDF firefighter to die in the line of duty, but also as a daughter, a sister, a crewmate and friend. Each day we can honor her by living our own lives the way she did, with determination, kindness and a passion for life. We miss Eva’s contagious smile, but her spirit is with us as she flies on the wings of a hawk.
--Oh my God, get away from the
--Hey! Oh, I’m so sorry, come over here, get away from there! Hey, be polite!
--Rocko! Rock! Rock Star! Come here!
--What type of dog’s that?
--Ninety five on the road.
--Up where the car is.
--Kind of an adjustment, we’ve just been in San Francisco for the last couple of weeks and it’s been in the fifties.
--Oh, and we left, well, I’m from Florida, I’m used to the hot weather but I work all the time so I’m never out in it, but, uh, Portland it was fifty nine, Sunday morning, is today Monday?
--Yes, yesterday morning. Fifty nine degrees.
--Be the person you can and they’ll think you’re not aware of it.
--Uh. Sir? You know you got some equipment settin on top.
--I do, thank you.
--Have a good day. Be careful.
A note on source and structure: Dialog was captured by chance during a field recording of power lines at a scenic vista point in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. The dialog was transcribed verbatim and divided into 17 passages by naturally occurring pauses. 17 descriptive passages were composed or collaged to match the length in words of the dialog segments, then alternated among the dialog. The memorial inscriptions were transcribed verbatim from the stones.
About the Author
Carter Scholz lives in California.
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