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Walking in Beauty

Growing up with the Yurok Indians

by Harry Roberts

Harry Roberts page



Harry K. Roberts (1906-1981) lived at Yvonne Rand's house near Green Gulch Farm for the last few years of his life. During those years he was a deeply appreciated presence at Green Gulch, where Harry was a major advisor on developing the gardens and setting long-term goals in shaping the landscape and protecting the Farm's environment. He also worked individually with many Zen students in a variety of areas, from welding to plant identification to living a complete, grown-up life. He received his spiritual training through the Yurok Indians of the Klamath River region between 1917 and the mid-1930s and never strayed from the wisdom and principles of training he acquired and attained there and practiced throughout his unusually varied life. At Green Gulch, he was respected, loved, and admired by many--feelings that, for him, were completely mutual. His life and his teaching were in no way incompatible with Dharma practice. His ashes site is on a hillside overlooking the gardens and plantings that he devoted his last five years to.

It was my own great privilege to be Harry's close student from 1971 until his death in 1981: my gratitude is beyond words. In 1976, after he moved from the North Coast to Muir Beach, he and I began going through a shoebox full of stories and poems and notes that he had written over the years--everything from complete typed stories to handwritten pages torn from notebooks to a matchbook cover with a poem scratched on it with a carpenter's pencil. He wanted to make a book of these writings and by 1978 we had put together a complete working manuscript that arrived in its final form in 1980, a year before Harry died. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the manuscript in print. Time moved on until I wondered if I would live long enough to see a book come of his efforts! That's a long story in itself, but one with a happy ending. Harry's Walking in Beauty is now available to all, thirty two years after he completed it.

Thanks to the efforts of the late Ned Simmons of Trinidad Art and of Joan Berman, a librarian at Humboldt State University, Harry's manuscript has been beautifully published as a paperback in a test-edition of 150 copies. It contains the 1980 ms., now illustrated by many vintage photographs (as Harry wanted it to be) and introduced by my own, very brief Foreword. Its reception has been overwhelmingly positive and a second, more widely distributed printing is under discussion. Meanwhile, either Joan or myself can fill orders from individuals and from bookstores.

Single copies cost $10.00 each plus $5.00 for packing and postage and these should be ordered through me: Larger orders and all bookstore orders (@60% cover) should go through Joan:

--Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley cuke page

From Heyday Books Walking in Beauty page

Walking in Beauty
By Harry K. Roberts; Foreword by Thomas Buckley (aka Jokan Zenshin)

When Harry Roberts was a boy in the 1910s, he spent his summers at the mouth of the Klamath River, where his Irish American family was friends with the Yurok spiritual leader and cultural expert Robert Spott. As a child Harry played with the children of the Spott household, and when he entered adolescence he became Robert Spott’s close student: first to become a “real man,” meaning a person who lives in harmony with the law Be true to thyself, and then to make his high medicine as a counselor and teacher. This collection of stories, poems, photographs, and short essays is Harry’s account of the transformative years when he discovered himself and his purpose in life. Written with profound understanding and a sense of pure enjoyment of life and beauty, Harry’s lively recollections of Yurok culture and his admiration for “Uncle” Spott’s depth of wisdom will inspire readers along any spiritual path.
Published by the Press at Trinidad Art

Harry Roberts (1906–1981) was born in the East Bay, and he spent his childhood summers with family in the Yurok village of Requa. Through family friend Robert Spott and other Yurok elders, Roberts was trained in a traditional Yurok way until his early thirties, and ultimately he became a counselor and teacher.