Spring Inertia

Last week we had beautiful Spring weather. Spring in southeast Texas lasts about 1 minute between cool wet winter and blazingly hot and humid summer. Enjoy it while you can. The days are countable.

I took this beautiful Spring day as an opportunity to wander through an old cemetery in Falls County, a 2 hour drive northwest of where I live. Rolling hills, rural as it gets here, and at this time of year, miles of green, green fields and wildflowers. The cemetery I explored is the small Powers Chapel Cemetery across the road from the Powers Chapel, a white frame church that has been having services since 1850, and the cemetery has headstones nearly that old.

I have been working on an ongoing project  for a friend. Part of the project has been to find out more about some of her ancestors in Texas. Sometimes it is easy to do genealogy in Texas. Lots of things are online. Records sometimes just seem to fall out of your computer and onto your lap. How cool is that.

But Texas is also a place that many people wandered to during the years following the Civil War, when the south was in chaos. And many people wandered into Texas wanting to leave their past lives and that chaos behind. So immediately after you pick up those lovely documents that just fell onto your lap, you usually run into a brick wall.

Feast or famine. We all run into this. Sometimes I put down a project for a while, and just think about it. Sometimes I just keep running myself into that brick wall over and over, hoping to find or make a little chink. The man from Falls County has had me doing both things for a long time. Since it is a pro bono project, I luckily have the luxury of time.

Which is a good thing. It is usually a long drive when I am researching a project on the ground here in Texas. Everything is far away from wherever you are.

Sometimes it is not just the physical distance through time. Sometimes it is the mental distance that I must pass through.  Is this normal?  I don’t think it is procrastination, though there may be some of that. It is more of a post-organization inertia. Ready, set, stop. I am noticing it also happens when I am working on projects for my study groups or portfolio. Gather that info, outline, cite, good to go. Stop. Eventually everything will begin to flow again. Maybe it is just a little Spring Inertia.

Rincon

A Spanish word meaning corner. The inside corner, not the outside corner. In Spanish there is a different word for that.

 The inside corner is a protected place. In Santa Cruz County, California, there is a place called Rincon. It is the inside corner of a steep and curvy highway. It was the name of a huge Mexican land grant, a parcel that included the canyon, from the steep curvy road to the San Lorenzo River at its base. It has been reclaimed by the forest, but it used to be a logging camp.

 Highway 9 curves northward out of Santa Cruz, heading up into the mountains, toward Felton and Ben Lomond. Now it is surrounded by the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Hikers, not loggers. But people do not stop at the corner, the rincon, they drive by, on the way to their hike. On the edge of the road in the big curve, the big rincon, a couple of miles out of the city limits, there still sits an old moss-covered water trough.

Trough at Logging Camp

Across the road is a very small flat area. This is Rincon. The Corner. It is the place that my grandfather and his sisters were born.

Site of old Logging Camp

Nonno came to this place about 1890. He brought my great-grandmother to this place. They lived and worked at the logging camp. There in the forest in this small flat corner of land they made their home. Three of their children were born here. And they lived here until about 1896. Then they left the woods.

 If you stop today you will be surrounded by a wall of green overlooking a cliff of green. When you step off the road onto the small flat area, you are surrounded by redwoods. The tallest trees in the world.

Old Logging Camp at Rincon, Santa Cruz, CA

Old Logging Camp at Rincon, Santa Cruz, CA