Chris Norby, the Assembly’s Poet Laureate, Waxes Fulsome
This is a portion of the Irvine Republican’s electronically promulgated Norby Notes 4 from early March 2011 — with annotation:
My weekly Monday flight from Orange County to Sacramento was particularly spectacular as the wintery majesty of our Golden State below gives no hint of the paralysis of its government.
(Editor’s Note: Who, pray tell, might be a contributing factor to that?)
We rise above Newport Beach with its sandy strand that marks the end of a continent. We curl back over the rocky coast of Catalina and the docks of San Pedro harbor, whose crowded wharfs welcome the wealth of the world.
Below now is LA, its 4 million people criss-crossed with traffic-clogged concrete ribbons. I spot the USC campus (my son Alex is down there) and the Hollywood sign.
Far to the east are the three snowy sentinels of Mounts Baldy, San Gorgonio and San Jacinto, all topping 10,000 feet.
(Respectively: 10,068 feet, 11,503 feet and 10,834 feet.)
Resplendent from the recent snow, the rugged San Gabriels and Tehachapis rise abruptly from the suburban valley floors.
Off to the east is the Antelope Valley, where a rainbowed rug of wildflowers will soon be responding to our recent rainfall. I see the reservoirs and aqueducts, engineering marvels equalizing the North-South hydrologic imbalance. Now appear the glistening Sierras, whose vast snowmelts will soon fill our lakes, rivers, irrigation channels, bathtubs and garden hoses.
Below now is California’s agricultural heartland with its grapes, almonds, cotton, melons, citrus and the general cornucopia of the Central Valley. We pass over Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, Stockton and finally Sacramento.
The Sierra skyline is topped by Mt. Whitney and deeply gouged by the Yosemite Valley. Below is the muddy, meandering Sacramento River, snaking through the orchard and rice fields toward the delta.
I land for another compressed week in the Capitol.
This land is your land. This land is my land. From California to the New York Island. Budget crises may come and go but this land will endure.
(With respect, Woody Guthrie – and his compatriot Pete Seeger — would more than chafe at the use of lyrics from this stirring standard without inclusion of the following two verses, whose lines are routinely omitted by Republicans. Without giving voice to those stanzas, Guthrie and Seeger have said, is simply trading off the song’s sentiment without practicing its substance. The words:)
“As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said ‘No Trespassing.’
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
“In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people,
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?”
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