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4 jan 014

Stone circles

from apex to zenith


The Russian River is stunned. Beaten by a thirsty summer and desiccating fall, the river appears placid and calm, a little frost on its morning banks, the sandbars slowly creeping down into The Russian River – now only a meandering thread of green – still awaiting the rains that must come soon.


Look at the river from a promontory, a ridge projecting over the river and dropping off a hundred feet. The rock is metamorphic, a fragment of the Franciscan, a hard gray stone, a little El Capitan emerging from redwoods and willows. Stones from the river are here, too, all about the ranch... in wavy lines and sinuous shapes.


Stand in a circle of stones... and look out over White Pigeon Bend.


Stone circles view the river from high above the bend, aligned to see the great swing of the Russian as it goes south, turns west, then north and ultimately west again to Jenner by the Sea.


The Stone Circles look ancient, and they may as well be.


Jack built them here, generations ago, with round cobbles from the river, with the big old truck, and the fervor of a driven man on his day off. Rings here, lines there, rocking the ditches and swales. To this day, a grand network of cobble runes.


The upside down map shows this to be peak of the river’s southern journey. The 240 acre chalk hill ranch holds not only the bend of the river and Jack’s stone circles, but hills of volcanic ash, the alexander valley fault zone, tangled stones, dense rocks and landslides – all shunting the river west.


This is White Pigeon Bend: it’s called also the Brooks Creek junction, the chalk hill ranch, and ‘just above Digger Bend’ – one old place with many names, most of which we will never know.

At the end of the day, at the bend of the river, it is a story about nature and people. Years ago, it was about civilizing the wild. Now it’s about seeing and saving nature’s moving parts.


The River is the actor here, theoretically carving, changing and bending every day. It is supposed to be motion and power, working and wearing, surging to the ocean and flowing its destiny.


But, from apex to zenith, we stay dry and wanting. The winter remains at large, just moist tendrils of rain drifting through.


On the Ranch, we await it in stone circles, knowingly placed, tidy views of the all-too sleepy river rising up to the horizon. It is not the first drought seen from this ranch, but one can only hope

that it’s the one that


doesn’t


last.



from the chalk hill ranch, this is fred euphrat


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Disability is a relatively untapped area of investment for philanthropy, but one that offers promise of change and multiple avenues for donor impact.


Article published in the Stanford Social Innovations Review, by Catherine Hyde Townsend & Bess Rothenberg


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