Gary Snyder came to Jackson Wyoming one evening back in the mid-’80s, when I lived there. Or, I should say, when I had landed there, in a yurt, temporarily, I figured.
The yurt, I told people, was my launching pad. For about a decade I had been flitting about like a bird, always looking for where the grass was greener.
Then Gary Snyder came to town. And read to us from his latest book of poems. At one point, during the Q &A, he told us that we need to pick a place, and to dig in. I’ll never forget that remark. It reverberated into my flighty gypsy body, shook my very bones.
So I tried to ground there, in the Tetons. I really did. But I couldn’t root in. Something in me forbade it. In 2003 I finally moved, and landed here, in Bloomington, Indiana, the midwest where, for some mysterious reason, I was able to dig in. And wow, the grass really IS greener! — at least during spring/summer of 2015, thanks to persistent rains.
An odd blend of old and new San Francisco turned out to see Gary Snyder at the Nourse Theater one evening in May. Former counterculture standard-bearers such as Michael McClure and Peter Coyote mixed with young tattooed hipsters, curious techies and California Governor Jerry Brown. When I pulled out my reporter’s notebook, the young Indian man sitting next to me said, “Are we supposed to take notes?”