Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Flourescent Berries

Yesterday morning I was driving back up the mountain after finding a calm
ocean.  A small forest covering a hill caught my attention.  I had seen it
before from a distance, a couple of square miles of tall trees surrounded
by pasture on the side of the volcano. Decided it would be fun to tromp
around in.  The eastern side of the forest was eucalyptus, and the western
side pine, with the two meeting in a contentious line over the middle of
the hill.  I hiked up through the eucs, having to scramble up the steep
hillside near the peak, and came into the pine forest at the top.  The
pines were evenly spaced, and I leaned against a tree that was canted over
at forty-five degrees.  Then I noticed, down at my feet, a really weird
looking berry or mushroom looking thing.  It was bright pink, and looked
like a marble with a diameter of a centimeter and a half.  There were a
couple of others like it scattered about, but I couldn't see any bush that
they could have come from.  I picked it up to examine it.  It was soft and
kind of squishy, but seemed too perfectly spherical for a nut or berry,
and had no visible stem scar.  I squished it between my fingers, and this
bright pink juice squirted out when it burst.  Odorless.  Then I laughed
at myself.  A paintball pellet!  I looked up and around at the trees, and
they were marked intermittently with small faded splotches of color.  I
had wandered onto a deserted battlefield.  It fits.  This whole island
seems like a playground for big kids.  As I walked down the other side of
the hill, through the pines, I thought it was kind of disrespectful for
these people to leave all this artificial crap, the expended paintballs
and paint, all over the forest.  Then chuckled to myself when I noticed
that all the pines were layed out in neat rows, just like the eucs on the
UCSD campus.

This is a funny place.  Beautiful and wild, but everything here got here
from somewhere else.

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