Chapter 6. Land and sky

Flicker feather

Banded orange feather held with a waxed cord to a thick manuscript. We can possibly imagine what this feather meant to the writer, struggling alone on long winter days.


Gray cow bone shaped like a model spaceship only rougher, with no detail found by itself in a field on bed of green spring grass.


Pull the tendon, like this, to make the claws grip. I was just a boy; I don’t know where I found it. I put it in my back pocket and a claw pierced my butt which caused a huge painful boil that had to be lanced.


Three seeds of the California Buckeye —as big, brown, and smooth as the eyes of a buck, I imagine. These from a large tree in Santa Clara County. Native Californians, the Ohlone, ground these and put them in baskets in small streams where neurotoxin leaching from the meal would stupify fish to make an easy meal. After leaching, the meal could be prepared like acorns to make porridge or bread. That was before the Spanish destroyed them. As far as I know, no one uses buckeyes today.