First night in La Mancha

Where’s the Vice Chancellor’s Corner?

This week, in order to give full attention to my good friend Gordon’s project as Artist in Residence, there’s no Vice Chancellor’s Corner. Check back next week for the latest article.

In the meantime, enjoy the first journal entry below, or click the “Read more from La Mancha” button to really fall down a rabbit hole.

 – Zac Smith, VC

First Journal Entry

On beyond the Lost Boys Cabins you leave everything human behind. I found a comfortable rock out there and sat upon it as the sun slipped below the horizon. I sat for quite some time, as day turning to night takes longer than most people realize.

Somewhere along the way I learned that every place has an ambient sound. When you first arrive it’s a good idea to be silent for a time and listen to what may be heard there.

My place was bordered by the Gully of the Wild Things on my left, the Valley of Dulcinea before me, the Village of La Mancha to my right, and Crystal Hills Drive behind me. That was the place where I was. The sounds of that place were what I heard. I am a human being, so I made some clumsy noises entering and leaving, but for the most part I was silent.

I was in that place and state of mind while I watched my first sunset in the Land of La Mancha. As the orange sky deepened to red I had one of those moments where the membrane between Mother Nature and me had grown thin, like a veil.

Then I heard the thump thump thump of car doors closing. A wedding party arrived in the village. You can tell a lot about people by how they close their doors. If you hear a lot of slams in quick succession, consider those mortar rounds and they’re about to explode at the Fang & Feather.

This is going to be an interesting place to live. One minute you’re listening to owls and the next someone rings the bell at Dulcinea and a wedding celebration begins. Perhaps the soul of La Mancha lies in the collision of humanity with nature.


I think sunset watching is going to be a thing.


I saw a fox last night. I was laying on the sidewalk by the Bells of La Mancha watching the stars and I heard a weird sound. I rolled over and jumped to my feet. I saw a fox slip into the undergrowth.

I think it was sniffing my head.

 – Gordon Atkinson