Skip to main content
You are here

For Thanksgiving: Fall Scenes Set to Poetry

By Dateline Staff on November 24, 2020 in University

We know many faculty and staff missed spring and summer on campus, and we thought it would be a shame if you missed our colorful fall as well. So we’re bringing the campus to you, by way of images taken last week by Strategic Communications photographer Gregory Urquiaga. We've interspersed the verses of “Gratitude to Mother Earth,” by Professor Emeritus Gary Snyder. He published the poem in Turtle Island, the collection of poetry for which Snyder won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975.


Poetry by Gary Snyder | Photography by Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day —
and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
in our minds so be it.

Yellow leaf on green pine

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing, light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowering spiral grain
in our minds so be it.

Pyracantha (red berries)

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it.

Huge splash of red leaves, trunk of another tree in foreground

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave and aware
in our minds so be it.

Water flows over weir on Arboretum Waterway.

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it.

Yellow leaves, Memorisl Union in background

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep — he who wakes us —
in our minds so be it.

Huge splash of yellow leaves on tree

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars — and goes yet beyond that —
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us —
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.
so be it.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or