Posted on

Acid Rain

Acid Rain

by Nicholas Von Robison and Perry Thomas

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly, Volume 12 #1, 1984 and Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1998

See also,
“Acid Rain Update” by Nicholas Von Robison
“World Forest Outlook” by Nicholas Von Robison and Parry Thomas


Enjoy is the word for this afternoon; a hundred kinds of enjoyment. If a wood sculptor had been along on this hike he or she would be having a field day — gnarled roots and trunks on the forest floor; cracks and twistings of naked stumps deceased and debarked; rolling, convoluted patterns of aging limbs. Perry and I stop and investigate engravings made by beetles on some logs. The wood, now bleached, has been hewed out and channeled in designs so intricate they can hardly be retraced. There is a simple artistry about this free-form flow, and it captures the imagination. The creatures whose paths crossed here were of a system of life completely different from our own, yet linked to it.

The higher we ascend toward the Angeles crest, the richer the forest seems to become. Patches of Indian paintbrush and columbine increase in size and density. Berries grow in thickets. Alders enclose the streams. Mosses clothe the rocks. Lichens festoon the branches of trees and occasionally glow with a brilliant chartreuse when touched by a spot of sunlight. And everywhere there are trees.

We reach the crest, stop to look around a bit, and give each other congratulatory smiles. Our smiles are touched with a bit of whimsy; neither of us are as young as we used to be, and we know the price in sore muscles we’ll pay for this excursion tomorrow. We continue on, the Los Angeles basin five or six thousand feet below us; we adjust our gait for descent rather than ascent. We come to a stand of lodgepole pines and discover a spring gushing out from an outcrop of granite. We plop down and share sausage, cheese, chocolate, and top it off by draping our snouts in the spring; water so cold it hurts the teeth.

Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article

This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page.

If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.