donderdag 28 oktober 2010

Kitkiddizze (the Snyder home)

Building a cabin in the woods (Thoreau, the Unabomber) is the all American form of dissent and Gary Snyder, the favourite essayist of all cryptoforesters, has followed the tradition. Kitkitdizze (the native name for bearclover) was built in the summer of 1970 in the deforested gold-mined foothills of the Sierra Nevada and has become something of an emblem in his personal mythology: the sage-poet living on a 100-acre homestead where "He pays the property tax, but claims no more right to the land than the other creatures that live on it". Kitkitdizze lives the philosophy of "reinhabitation: moving back into a terrain that has been abused and half forgotten – and then replanting trees, dechannelizing streambeds, breaking up asphalt". Snyder is a man of practical skill and his house combines features of traditional Japanese farmhouses and native American earthlodges.

Listen to the Guardian:
Deer peep through the foliage at the visitor on the three-mile unpaved road to Snyder's ranch. On a walk in the surrounding pine and black-oak forest, he points out claw marks on a tree-trunk made by a bear - the same bear, perhaps, that features in a recent poem eating all the pears from a fenced-off tree by the house. A wildcat dispatched his chickens. Until recently, the family had only an outside lavatory some 50 yards away, which, he says wryly, "could be dangerous in the mornings" - pumas also lurk among the pines, though seldom seen - but the Snyders now have the luxury of an inside bathroom with a polished wooden tub. He called the place Kitkitdizze, a local Wintun Indian word for the surrounding low ground-cover bush, also known as mountain misery. "We had our hands full the first 10 years getting up walls and roofs, bathhouse, barn, the woodshed. I set up my library and wrote poems and essays by lantern light." Kai, Snyder's eldest son, was a child when work on the house began in 1969. He has memories "of heat and dust and a lot of people working, and me getting underfoot". In the beginning, says Kai, now in his late 30s, "all our water had to be pumped by hand, which my dad did every day for about 40 minutes. It was good exercise, I guess. All the cooking was done on a wood stove, and our heating was produced by the same method. It was like a 19th-century lifestyle in lots of ways."

1 opmerking:

  1. Apologies if you've already seen this, but another of Snyder's old homes was recently—and absurdly—redone, apparently for Silicon Valley millionaires:

    "This dramatic modern home, built in 1967, was originally owned by Gary Snyder, a Pulitzer Prize winning Beat Generation poet. A total remodel was completed in 2007 by award-winning architect Paul Baird. Enjoy expansive views of Muir Woods National Monument, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Pacific Ocean from either of two large balconies, the master bedroom suite, the 2nd bedroom or the large family room. Walk out your front door to enjoy the Dipsy Trail or head out on a world-class bike ride through the Marin countryside."