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 the following poem first appeared.

Blanche Trask published A SONG in LAND OF SUNSHINE in August 1898 after living on Catalina Island for about three years. A SONG was published two years after her first poem called MASKING. A SONG is the fourth (4th) 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 Jan van de Hoek, August 2, 2000, for educational purposes in recognition of the California Least Tern that for the last week have been at Malibu Lagoon on the beach. The parent Terns still diligently feeding the their fledged Terns that have flown 20 miles up to Malibu from Venice Beach. By the way, Western Gull are flying endlessly around the Least Terns in hopes that a parent Tern will drop one of their fish: Topsmelt/Pacific Saury.

Note: The brief biography of Blanche Trask has since been revised in July 2000.

LAND OF SUNSHINE Volume 9, Number 3, Page 153. August 1898
Avalon, Santa Catalina Island1


Ah! What is better than this, my dear,
What is better than this? -
The thought of a night which has lost its way
Between tomorrow and yesterday;
The full of the tide and the gray of the sea,
And a gull that circleth endlessly;
The breath from a wind which bloweth well;
A sail that hasteth new ports to tell;
If ought is better than this, my dear,
I find it not here, I find it not here.