When Mark DeSaulnier was running for United States Congress as a California Senator, he saw my photographic print on canvas, “Mount Diablo Under a Glorious Sky” hanging in Danville Chamber of Commerce, California, and he loved it. Now after he won the election, he bought it and took it to Washington D.C. This piece of fine art will be hanging in his new office. I also gave him a poem: “Mount Diablo”:
so named by the Indians
as the Mountain of the Devil.
He’s the king among a pack of lions,
maned head yawning out morning mist:
Asleep or awake,
the twin peaks are his ears keenly alert:
traffic in the valley, planes in the air,
coyotes whimpering, earthworms digging dirt.
He is a revered patriarch,
watching the valleys with a quiet gaze:
On a dry autumn day
smoke arose on his shoulder’s golden hair,
flames crawling across his chest.
Down in the valley, young and old,
all who dwelled under his nose,
gardeners, meter maids, pupils, chefs, CEOs, …
“Mt. Diablo is on fire, do you know?”
Imagine Parisians’ despair,
if Eiffel Tower was on fire.
An hour of burning on the golden hill,
upset the town folks large and small,
like kids returning to an empty home,
their mom’s whereabouts unknown.
as free standing as Kilimanjaro,
he is the weight that holds the paper that otherwise scatters,
he is the reminder, the intervener, the constant, the inconvenient,
the taken-for-granted, the indispensible, the limit to the immeasurable.
A serious friend, a great grandfather, the head of the household,
a reliable vehicle.
He is the beating heart and the daily breathing of this small world:
Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, Lafayette, Concord, Clayton, Moraga, Orinda, Pittsburg, …
from Bald Mountain further north, his twin peaks hover in the misty cloud,
On a clear day on his peak, Half Dome tilts his hat from Yosemite in the south.
Always there, for whatever reasons,
or none at all.
(Poem by Joanne Tan, 12/15/2014, all rights reserved.)