Since the early 1970s I’ve been writing and publishing regional material-the literature and histories of particular places. A special interest and personal passion has been my work in the California Indian world. For the past thirty-fi ve years I’ve been hanging out in the shade of oak trees listening to stories, and I’ve been tramping through mountains, deserts, riverbanks, seashores, valleys, and woodlands of California with people whose ancestral link to this land goes back thousands of years. I have visited places where the fi rst people emerged from the ground to inhabit the world; I’ve been shown rocks that in the time before this were living beings and that still retain power and memory. Look! Here’s the footprint of the great bird who strode the earth when its surface was still soft. I have been introduced to the fragments of old calendars that governed the rhythm of daily life: when the elderberry blossoms we can no longer collect shellfi sh, the chirping of a certain wren announces the coming of the salmon. Knowledge so deep as to be inseparable from its place.