Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reflections on Chabot Observatory, Oakland

Edna Linsley Gressitt was the sister of the renowned astronomer Earle Garfield Linsley. He was the former Director of the Chabot Observatory in Oakland, California. His twin brother was my paternal grandfather, Paul Judson Linsley. Paul was a published poet and horticulturalist who cultivated hybrid roses with Luther Burbank of Santa Rosa, California. He also developed several strains of disease resistant avocado trees.

Climbing Up
By Edna Linsley Gressitt

Climbing up,
Thru the hostile chaparral,
Under the stiff, suspicious trees,
Hushed from any breath of breeze,
Without a rustle,
On and up,
By the lonely creeping trail
Winding up the wooded steep
Of the shadowed canyon side,
In faint star light,
Dim and still,
In quaint far light,
Huddled, breathless, sleeping quail
And noiseless brown hares, burrowing deep,
And still gray gophers hide,
When the weird quivering
Cry of the night owl beats the soundless air;
Up, at last
In clear star light,
To the vast
White structure massed
On the cleared crest of the hill,
In sheer, far light,
With its circling domes of grace
Watching long
In the wordless, waiting night,
Searching far
Past Man's hope or thought or will,
In the boundless, glowing space,
Catching there
Signals from the Sovereign Power,
Granted in night's hallowed hour.

This poem first appeared in Sierra Educational News. Created in 1883 as an astronomical observatory, the Chabot Science Center and Planetarium is dedicated to applied science and technology. It offers a wide spectrum of educational, research and public programs.

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