Corral de Tierra

The Pastures of Heaven


At the base of Castle Rock is Corral de Tierra, the "Fence of the Earth." A young John Steinbeck and his sister Mary would play at the base of the jarring sandstone cliffs. The short story cycle The Pastures of Heaven explores the area, its history, and the lives of its inhabitants. 


“In the late afternoon of the second day a small deer started up before the troop and popped out of sight over a ridge. The corporal disengaged himself from his column and rode in pursuit. His heavy horse scrambled and floundered up the steep slope; the manzanita reached sharp claws for the corporal’s face, but he plunged on after his dinner. In a few minutes he arrived at the top of the ridge, and there he stopped, stricken with wonder at what he saw--a long valley floored with green pasturage on which a herd of deer browsed. Perfect live oaks grew in the meadow of the lovely place, and the hills hugged it jealousy against the fog and the wind…”Holy mother!” he whispered. “Here are the green pastures of Heaven to which our Lord leadeth us.” (POH 2)


“After the bare requisites to living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed. He leaves his proof on wood, on stone or on the lives of other people. This deep desire exists in everyone, from the boy who writes dirty words in a public toilet to the Buddha who etches his image in the race mind. Life is so unreal. I think that we seriously doubt that we exist and go about trying to prove that we do.” (POH 56-57)


© Steven Domingo



castlerock2©Corral de tierra