Window to the Wilderness

Journal of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance
Fall Equinox 1999 -- Volume II, Number 3

The deer were bounding like blown leaves
Under the smoke in front of the roaring wave of the brushfire;
I thought of the smaller lives that were caught.
Beauty is not always lovely; the fire was beautiful, the terror
Of the deer was beautiful; and when I returned
Down the black slopes after the fire had gone by, an eagle
Was perched on the jag of a burnt pine,
Insolent and gorged, cloaked in the folded storms of his shoulders.
He had come from far off for the good hunting
With fire as his beater to drive the game; the sky was merciless
Blue, and the hills merciless black,
The sombre-feathered great bird sleepily merciless between them.
I thought, painfully, but the whole mind,
The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better than mercy.

Fire on the Hills, by Robinson Jeffers, copyright 1932



Ventana White
An Adventure to the Window
Bill Roberts

An Excerpt
Chris Lorenc

Unique and Noteworthy Plants of
the Santa Lucia Mountains
Part Three
(Gooseberries and Currants)
David Rogers

Invasive Exotic Plants Series
Pampas Grass
Dave Nelson

Our Threatened Monterey Pines
Corky Matthews

Impressive Specimens Series
Feynner's Manzanita
Steve Chambers

High Places of the Ventana
Thom Carson

Times Past
A History of The Caves Ranch


Map Mania
Test Your Topographic Know-How

Lost Trails of the Wilderness
Hot Springs Trail

Lost Camps of the Wilderness
Buckhorn Spring Camp

Birds of the Northern
Santa Lucia
Spotted Towhee

Feature Flower
Chaparral Virgin's Bower

The Last Word
In Doolans Hole
a poem, by
Bill Roberts

Back Issues
Summer Solstice '99
Spring Equinox '99
Winter Solstice '98
Fall Equinox '98
Summer Solstice '98

Submissions Encouraged



As if to celebrate the approaching end of the final fire season of the century, summer is yielding to autumn in the Ventana this year with a manic dramaticism not seen in decades. A fortnight ago Tropical Storm Greg spun off an angry scion that directed itself toward the Northern Santa Lucia like it were heading home after a hard day. The full, dark storm clouds lumbered in just after sundown, heavy with warm rain and crackling with electrical energy. Soon drops began to fall - large ones, well spaced - then came the lightning. As the gray-black belly of the storm passed over the Ventana it peppered the land with thunderbolts, touching off no fewer than a dozen fires before finally moving off to the north.

Today, two weeks later, nine of these fires are out, one is weakening, and two have found their legs in earnest. Those officially in charge at first stepped up to do battle with the awakening beasts in hopes of taming them - they've now backed off to build better fences instead. By all appearances, the only force sure enough to quell these wild fires will be the first solid rain of autumn; equally strong, equally beautiful, equally natural - only favored by the season.

As most now know, we've been, at least temporarily, locked out of the Ventana. Likely for the better, although its still a bitter pill. We here at the DCQ hope that this issue will, in some small way, help fill the resultant void. Please enjoy it at your leisure and, if you feel so inclined, let us know your thoughts.

Savor the Season

The Editors


Anne Scott-Chambers, © 1999



The Double-Cone Quarterly is published four times a year, on the equinoxes and solstices, by the Ventana Wilderness Alliance and can be obtained free of charge by anyone with an internet connection who steers their browser to 

Editor, Webmonkey:  Boon Hughey

Associate Editor:  Gordon Johnson 

Editor-at-Large, Graphicsguru:  Philip Williamson 

Contributing Editor:  David Rogers 


All articles, photographs, and artwork are copyright ©1999 by their creators. All rights reserved.



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