Many people know that California is an extraordinary place of physical beauty. It is an artist’s paradise, with a wide variety of terrain and climate suitable for almost any imagery. It’s also rich in history, sometimes surprisingly so. Near Mono Lake is the ghost mining town Bodie, now an Historic State Park. Bodie is fairly well-known for its stamp mill, the place where ore was crushed for the extraction of gold. A couple of miles from Bodie is another smaller stamp mill, called the Gray Mill. It is nearly in ruin and might well not survive two more winters. My friend Michael and I visited it near sunset, and watched the light go out.
The title Having Writ is a reference to the preservation of these sites in their state of arrested decay, evidencing the power of time, and is based on the line from Omar Khayyám‘s The Rubáiyát:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
Stephen Hawking might say that it is our physical manifestation that time moves only in one direction.