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OUT WEST MAGAZINE
F you were a farmer, would you be content to plow and harrow and seed a field against a harvest sixtyfive years distant? Not likely-And yet this is a fair measure of what the California Redwood Association is preparing to do in its attempt to re-clothe the cut-over hills of Mendocino and Humboldt counties. For it takes sixtyfive years for a redwood tree to mature to the point of being merchantable lumber, and already there are 1,500,000 redwood seedlings started in the California Redwood Association's nurseries at Fort Bragg, Mendocino county and Scotia, Humboldt county.
And, if you were a farmer and looked upon a field of ripening wheat, would its beauty, rippling in the breeze, beguile you from its harvesting? Not likely And yet this is what lumbering interests are being urged continually to do by sentimentalists. Ah, but you say: The grain is ripe and ready for the sickle. So are the trees, if you think properly about them. But the farmer will plant another crop next spring and there will be blades and ears and full corn in their season. Assuredly. That, you continue, is not the way with the lumberman. It has not been, but it can and will be the way of the lumberman in the future, if the efforts of the California Redwood Association are a fair example of the trend of the times. But, sixty-five years! you cry out. We shall most of us be dead before a new forest of trees is ready for
By CHARLES CALDWELL DOBIE
the axe. Perhaps. But everything is relative, and the greater the harvest, the greater the years between. And the greater the years between, the more altruistic the movement. That the yield will be lumber instead of grain does not rob the performance of either its poetry or its utility.
So far, Nature, herself, has been the only one concerned with reforesting the cut-over areas, and she has done it indifferently well. Redwood stumps are brimful of energy, and for every tree felled a ring of saplings springs up in a circle from the parent roots. In some instances, a seedling finds its way to maturity; but, on the whole, conditions are not favorable for a redwood seed unaided to achieve life. Then, for the best timber results, the forest floor should be thickly covered with young trees in the first years. And this is not always the case when nature is left to herself. But nature, supplemented by man, accomplishes wonders.
The replanting of the seedlings from the nurseries to the hills has been under way since December 4th of last year. This year will see 1,000 acres replanted; next year 3,000 acres, and so on until 1930, when a scheme will have been perfected whereby the replanting will keep pace with the area annually logged, and provide an excess looking toward covering the acreage cut in former years.
Thus does the California Redwood Association plan to make perpetual forests and lumbering activities in its territory.
But, this is only the surface benefit to be derived by the preservation of the redwood forests. As everyone knows, the destiny of races is bound up in the hills and streams of a country. Water is the greatest factor in the life of any community. And, without forests, the streams would dry up. The farmer, waiting for his annual harvest, therefore, will be dependent on the success or failure of the reforester, looking toward his harvest sixty-five years hence. It would be a sorry thing if California should find itself in the position of much of the agricultural territory of Spainarid and waste by reason of the annihilation of its forests.
ERHAPS this calls up in your mind the question of why the virgin forests should be cut at all. The replies are obvious. Firstly, the trees are "ripe" and secondly human comfort demands its share of what nature has to offer. The proper use by man of any natural resource, is his just due. Let us keep always in mind the analogy of the ripening grain field. If you have been shocked at the appearance of torn and blackened hills immediately following their cutting, remember that relatively a stubble field is not a thing of special beauty. But-another spring and its beauty is revived. Obviously it takes longer to repair the hills, but, to
any who have seen a denuded hillside five, ten, fifty years following its logging, the results that nature achieves unaided, are little short of marvelous. There is a grove of second growth redwoods owned by the Albion Lumber Company in Mendocino county, and cut within the memory of some of its present employees, which is so completely reforested that a layman has hard work believing it was ever logged. True, there are no sensational specimens of trees, harking back to the dawn of the race, within its borders, but it has all the essential beauties of an older growth. There are streams and birds and game in abundance and the trees have a slender virginal beauty.
After everything is said and done, age does not command all the beauty of the world, even among trees. The towering redwood is majestic, awesome, incomparably lovely in many ways, but the striplings of the species have their charm also. That there always should be abundant examples of older trees goes without saying: they have a unique character and history. The movement to preserve such examples is being assisted by the California Redwood Association, which is engaged in providing
HE town had grown away from the Devil's Half Acre in the quarter century of industry that succeeded its old content.
The new Main Street strayed from the old one like a daughter who marries well and builds a new house out of sight of the old cabin which sheltered her childhood. And among those fine stores and banks and new civic buildings was a plate glass front with the name 'O'MALLEY, Chapeaux' scrolled in gold letters. Behind it Miss O'Malley received her customers in a gown of draped canton and a marcelled crest, the black glitter of jet beads on her neck and dangling from her ears. A fine lady, Sally O'Malley, if you remembered the bare-footed Sally of the old town, living at the edge of the Devil's Half Acre.
Behind the velour hangings which separated the display of stylish modes and pattern hats and the case of widow's weeds from the work room, Sally's apprentices giggled and gossiped and twisted wonders from silk and ribbon and wire shapes, the while they wrung the heart of Sally with their talk of sweethearts and good times and their disdain of old maids. Though they did not say this last in her hearing, she knew it. She knew too that they talked about her and would not have exchanged her fine shop and the four figure bank account for this riot of youthful hopes that came with a new beau and gave promise of taking them from her workroom to a home of their own.
Nor could Sally blame them. For Sally's youth and happiness and her dream of love lay in the old town. She had not forgotten it. The field where bread and butter daisies held their faces to the sun like little neophytes at their first communion; where tansy and burdock and mallow grew pungently rank in the noon sun brew lay vivid in her mind. She could look across it from her own step to the house of Leonard Allen, maker of drums and tinker of sorts. A house weathered to soft grey, ruffling at the moss fringed eaves, settling slowly deeper into a hedge of hollyhocks which shot bare-stemmed into sky-rocketing balls of color and winking sparks of red and pink and yellow buds.
Under the eaves where birds' nests hung until the winter icicles tore them off and left a chink for next year's building, was a room of enchantment to all childhood. There, old Leonard made his drums and tinkered clocks, a
By GRACE JONES MORGAN
wizard's den with bits of wood ripening and goat skins pearling on stretchers, and shavings curled in nests on the floor, and tools shining in rows. Where little clocks and big ones practiced ticking and tocking until they learned to keep step, little pulses of time throbbing off the minutes left to the old man, and the budding years of youth. A room whence came the rat-a-tat-tat and purling of kettle and snare drums, and the boom of the Bass as Leonard tuned them to a paean of deeds to do and lives to live.
And they needed a march step, those rowdies whose devilment the slavery of pulling Canadian flax all day could not abate. The leader in mischief and rowdyism was Leonard's own boy, the second one, the lad they called Duke and named "Duke of the Devil's Half
Acre;" the one with the freckles and shock of wiry red hair and wide-toothed grin. Not much of his Dad's dreams or industry lingered in him for all old Leonard tried to beat it in with drum and drum stick, the soldier stuff that had made him stick to his work now as he once stuck to his gun at Gibraltar and Tel-el-keber.
EVILTRY! That was all that came out of the Half Acre. Tying tin cans to a pup's tail. Snaring suckers in the creek when they should have been at school. Riding pastured horses to a lather on raids that ended in green apples and, next day, colic. Hiding in the old mill to scare prayer meeting congregations with cat-calls and ghost moans. Frightening little girls with gartersnakes and dead mice. Setting the stubble afire with their corn roasts, after stealing the corn and butter, and bringing out the fire brigade with its buckets and hand pump.
ALLY had not forgotten how she would sit on her own steps and listen to their shrieks and laughter. For Sally was one of eight brothers and sisters then, steps of stairs of which she was the middle one, just big enough to inherit the dish-washing and dusting and minding the baby, from Mary who did the cooking and had a beau calling to see her.
Sally hated dishes. But when they were done and she sat on the steps holding the baby as dusk sagged down, her little soul took wings and struggled to try them. Night dissolved the walls of a day streaked by bars of school and work, and the world stretched out and
beyond trees and fences to a tinted infinitude that made glossy colored blotches of oceans and continents like the map of the school wall, over which happy birds flew south and west.
Sally longed to be a bird. Or a boy, since boys could go out to the starlight and escape for a while into the void. It seemed to Sally as if by some magic of the night, boys changed at dusk from grimed, grinning freckled nuisances into winged things. She could hear them running from the Devil's Half Acre to the mill, voices wailing from creek to woods. Sometimes they swooped near enough for her to hear the thud of bare feet on sun-baked roads.
Sally shivered ecstatically then, as if they were bats or owls waiting to
Wonderful to be a boy. Most wonderful of all to be the Duke. The leader was he in mischief and the boldest in carrying it through, but his gift of gifts was his skill with the drums.
Sally knew it the moment the Duke's grubby hands wielded the drum-sticks. The velvet soft purr of little drums throbbed into her dreams. The boom of the bass set time to her heart-beats. Some inner voice made the tunes, brave airs that called up marching soldiers, or Orangeman's Day with banners streaming and fifes shrilling "Boyne Water," a heresy she'd been forbidden to watch and for which she had been spanked once a year regularly.
But the darkest moment of her life was when the Duke tried to frighten her with a snake and failed. Sally was not afraid of snakes, nor mice, nor hoptoads, and she proved it and gloated serenely. But Willy James whispered to his brother that Sally hated to be called Mick, and the Duke shrieked it, "Mick, Mick, great big stick, Tee-legged, toe-legged, snubby-nosed Mick!"
Sally flamed. Rage shook her. Tears scalded. "You mean yellow-streak boy. Yellow. Yellow-Yellow."
She made the sign of shame with crossed fingers and ran home, hurt to the heart; hurt to a new interest in the Duke who'd done the thing. For
to sweet revenge, came the purr-r- of a little drum. The Duke was waking the throbbing dusk with vagrant, whimsical tattoos and Sally's blood leaped as a tune rose in her throat. She knew the thing he played. She sang it softly, words they'd tormented her with, the Duke and Willy James,
sixteen then, and Mary was married a few weeks later. Sally wondered at the wedding why the groom had lost that power of black magic which had once spun wings of the night to transform him. He had graduated from the Devil's Half Acre before the Duke reigned there with his ragged band; but he railed now at the Duke's following, tying tin cans and a dead cat to the wedding carriage. The bride's brothers, shined for the occasion, were wriggling to get away, and the groom mentioned that they ought to be shamed to death of their friends.
Sally did not want her dreams to come to this, this fussy red-faced husband shorn of his self possession, and
"Oh, those days in old Half Acre, We wuz happy as we cud be-e, I was courtin' O'Malley's sister, O'Malley's sister was courtin' me." ALLY tip-toed to the hedge of hollyhocks, Starlight. Soft fragrant hollyhocks. Starlight. Soft fragrant dusk. And the Duke marching up and down the Devil's Half Acre, singing the "Kerry Dancin'", trilling the time in a crescendo that quickened the pulse and quivered in the throat. Old Leonard began on the big drum, filing in after the Duke. And Willy James aught the tune in the middle as you when the sound has died away; catch a girl's waist and swung ahead, his fife tiptilted as his nose. The three of them, marching up and down, marching up and down, practising for Orangeman's Day.
Sally hung on the fence rail and steeped herself in the lilting tune until she was a vibrant, responsive palpitance, winged to fly if only she could.
Perhaps she clutched the hollyhocks in her mad desire to climb skyward, and the Duke saw the shadows bend and float over the silver sheen of dew-wet grass. For he dropped out of line and came to the fence, swinging atop it with never a trip in the steady pur-r-r of his drum. And there he sat.
Freckles do not show in starlight. His thin face was lifted, his pointed chin outthrust. His shock of hair caught stargleams on every wiry strand, and shone. Drumming the lilt of youth and of primal things he sat, until with a smart finale, the boom of the bass, the skirrl of fife, it all ceased.
Sally turned to fly, but he was beside her in one leap, his hand clutching her dress. "Sally, I'm sorry about today. Honest. It was yellow, but don't be mad."
Tremulous things shook her, like the drum throbbing, "I guess I ain't mad now, Duke."
He kissed her. Suddenly. Without warning. Sally ran across the field and slumped on her own step, hugging herself with restless arms.
It was true. Night did change things. By day boys were freckled, red-haired torments, born to be beaten and nagged
HE soul of music lingers
The twilight lays cool fingers
-Grace E. Hall.
of the majesty of a being for whom Mary titillivated in the flushed days of courting, dropped like a spent rocket to earth.
Better the deviltry of the Half Acre. Better the leader of romantic adventure. Better the drums in the night, and one kiss under the stars.
But brewed in the Half Acre were boy-dreams that balked at the labor of flax fields and garden work, would not bend to the mill yoke, nor quiet to a job delivering potatoes and sugar at back doors. A terrible thing came about. The old crowd of the Duke's followers were drifting down from adventure to steady pull in harness, bucking a little, returning at times to the Half Acre to talk of other days, laughing at past terrors, little old men living again their youth.
All but the Duke.
He would not work, though his gang had scattered and smaller boys had come to play the tricks grown stale to him. Sally viewed his lank adolescence with alarm. His frame gangled in pants that would be long for Willy James, but missed his ankles by a foot.
His voice wabbled uncertainly from high tenor to low bass. His squeak seemed to echo in his joints. The down he should have shaved gave him the look of a chicken just feathering, ragged, unshaped. He had one gift that softened the heart of the old drummaker and stayed the inevitable cataclysm. Never was such a drummer. He could have thrilled the soul of a Gordon of Khar
toum. He might have lifted the spirit of an Alexander sighing for worlds to conquer. He could set the heart of a girl fluttering. Hearing it, the flax workers stood up in the fields to straighten their aching backs and think of deeds to do, some day.
But drumming does not carry a gangling youth far. Sally's skirts were to her ankles and her hair coiled on her neck, and still, because of a kiss in the starlight she was content to sit alone of an evening when even Maggie, two years younger, had a beau and was taking the care of the house off Sally. So Sally went to learn the millinery in Miss Spark's Hat Shop and listened to love talk and had none of her own to tell. But what hurt most was when the Duke went by in his high-water pants and ragged shirt, and the girls rocked with laughter and shrieked:
"Look at the Duke, starving because he won't work! Old Leonard ought to beat him out of the Half Acre and let him make his own way."
And one day that happened.
E was fiddling that day with a clock brought in to have a minute hand put on. The clock fell and, like the One Hoss Shay, it went to smithereens. Old Leonard snatched a drum stick, the padded knob of the big drum, and swung with all his might, crash after crash, sputtering the pent up rage of his disappointment at the boy's worthlessness until the Duke fled across the Half Acre and did not come back.
A way-freight bumper carried him to Toronto, penniless, hungry, in an old shirt and ragged pants that flapped farewell to his shoe tops. Starving, he strayed from street to street, earning a dime for carrying a traveler's grips, humbled by the stare of stranger eyes. Sleeping where he could, in lumber yards along the lake docks, he was a worthless bit of flotsam, a bum, without the nerve to belong to the tramp brotherhood.
He haunted the railroad. The depot crowds hid him as they spilled out and were sucked into trains. He seized grips and was tossed a dime or a quarter, whichever came uppermost. Until the morning of Orangemen's Day, when the first band of celebrants came, middle-aged men who wore sashes and carried banners; the hired band of young men who didn't care about the occasion so long as it was a day's fun, a trip somewhere, expenses and pay.
The Duke cared little about the day. He smiled as he remembered that Leonard and Willy James would be marching as he too had marched in the dusk on the Half Acre, fife shrilling, drums purring like velvet, the night he caught Sally and kissed her.
(Continued on page 226)