Blanche Trask: Poet-Explorer-Naturalist

Blanche Trask, Poet-Explorer-Naturalist, did most of her California wild nature exploration and writing on the Channel Islands of Southern California. She was a resident of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island in Los Angeles County, California from 1895 to 1915 (20 Years). Her winter home was located next to the Tuna Club in Avalon, but she also had a summer home at the Isthmus where the Institute of Environmental Studies of USC is currently located. She corresponded with professors and scientists at UC Berkeley, Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and at the California Academy of Sciences in San Franciso. She also corresponded with Charles Lummis, editor of the Land of Sunshine, a literary magazine in which her early poetry first appeared. Land of Sunshine was merged into another magazine called Out West in 1900.

Blanche Trask published THE DREAM OF THE PINE in OUT WEST, which subsumed LAND OF SUNSHINE in February 1905 after living on Catalina Island for about nine years. As you can note at the end of the poem, she authored this poem at Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains. There abundant pines near Idyllwild, and she may have climbed San Jacinto Peak. From the peak, one can see Catalina on a clear day. In my imagination, she saw Catalina. In my two years of living on Catalina, I often could see Mount San Jacinto on clear days. THE DREAM OF THE PINE was published nine (9) years after her first poem called MASKING. THE DREAM OF THE PINE is the ninth (9th) of ten (10) poems published by Blanche Trask spanning 10 years between 1896 and 1905. The above narrative and the poem was written and compiled by Robert Roy van de Hoek, September 22, 2000, on the Autumnal Equinox, for educational purposes. The brief biography of Blanche Trask has since been revised in September 2000.

OUT WEST Volume 22, Number 2, Page 119. December February 1905 


On the alpine meadow, dull and brown.
The gold of the oak comes shimmering down!
The scent of the fern on the withered stem
Clings to the garment's sleeve and hem.
While a sound as deep as the song of the sea
Is borne from the heart of the pine--to me!
For ships still "plough the furrow'd main"
But if it be joy or if it be pain
We dwell so high that we may not know
How the white sails fill, or the great winds blow!
For the stars are agleam in the taper trees,
Which bear in their hearts this dream of the seas!

Idyllwild, San Jacinto Mountains