Seeing a Sunset & Basking in 'The Luxury of Ecstacy',br>BLANCHE TRASK
writes to
WILLIS JEPSON
Letter of Sunday the 5th. 1910



Van Nuys Hotel, Los Angeles.
Sunday the 5th. 1910

Jepson Correspondence Volume 6. Page 254.

"I tried - but failed to find time to reply to your letter when I left Avalon. I have, however, - left - the matter with our faithful old house-man, who will send you the seeds (when mature) of both Malvas & also more of the Yellow Poppy. I think I appreciate the condition of being 'swamped' which seems to be an inevitable condition resulting from this age of Gurgiation [?] (in which wer are unfortunately living): but - I have not - will never forget that you are capable of seeing a sunset & basking in what you called 'the luxury of ecstacy' which is produced by natural scenery. In a few days I start to lingering by this May in some of the palm groves! of our California desert: eventually reaching Tucson. I hope you are not - so busy that these seeds will trouble you: I realize one may forget details: but - just allow the two forms of Malva to germinate & then see what you think.! The loary [?] is from San Clemente the other our island form: the Lousewort [?] is to keep them separated. I shall be glad to hear how they do."


Preliminary Analysis of the Letter
by
Robert Roy van de Hoek
December 2000

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. Her time on Catalina spanned 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.

However, as can be discerned from this letter, Blanche Trask also traveled to the deserts of the west. In this letter we learn that she is curious about "TREES IN THE DESERT," namely the the Palm Tree. We learn that she is going to go to Tucson as well. It may be for her health that she is going to the desert.

Blanche Trask corresponded with several professors and scientists from 1897 to 1913. Some of the institutions that she corresponded with include: UC Berkeley, Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, and California Academy of Sciences in San Franciso. For example, Willis Linn Jepson, was Professor of Botany at the University of California (Berkeley) with a PhD and several books on botany published. About a dozen letters were written to Doctor Jepson, and one of those letters is presented below. The deep friendship to Willis Jepson is evident as well as is her affection for the ocean and the islands. Although Blanche Trask was aware of and appreciated all nature and her landscapes including desert scenery, it was the California Channel Islands that were her "sense of place." The Geography of Hope for Blanche Trask is undoubtedly Santa Catalina Island

The "age of Gurgiation" may be from the word "gurge" which means gorge and gurgitation which means whirlpool. It seems that even a Century ago, people had not enough time to do things, not unlike the complaints we hear of today at the new Millenium of the 21st Century.

Blanche Trask wrote this letter on Sunday the 5th, 1910. I suspect that the letter was written in the winter-spring, but one cannot be absolutely certain. The above letter was compiled and analyzed by Robert Roy van de Hoek for educational purposes in recognition of the 90th year anniversary of this letter being written.

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