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Monday, February 2, 2009


Note: I’ve mentioned this before, but a really great resource for Portland residents who like to hike is Portland Portland Oregon’s Hiking Network
The following images are derived from following the Warrior Rock/Point Lighthouse hike as described here:

Even though I was once an art major, I couldn’t think of any more names to describe the colors of mucus that I was able to blow out of my nose. After a week, I was convinced much of it was brain matter. I couldn’t think anymore, most of my parts hurt, and the coughing was starting to aggravate my ribs. When the weekend arrived, all I wanted to achieve was the oblivion of sleep.

But at that unexpected moment in the dark hours before dawn, as I eyed the threshold to unconsciousness... some electric stimulus - a message passed along an ethereal network - the inspiration from a muse, invited me to wander.

The drive to Sauvie Island was an exercise in nearsightedness. Traffic signs gave up their messages only at the last second as obfuscating fingers of fog softened the edges of significant letters. A suggestion of a massive concrete pier lurking off to the right of the road was the only inkling I had that I passed under the cathedral-like arch of the St. Johns Bridge. For all I could see, I might as well have painted all my windshields white and driven through Paris.

Along the beach, the filtered moan of some behemoth cow echoes up the river. The mechanical vibration of its diesel heart is heard best by one's guts. A ship seen only by the imagination traces shock waves in the water – displaced water transfers the message to the river bank, and implies the ship is real.

figments of imagination from some distant country

some vast enterprise, advancing without seeing – by senses someone else imagined

there’s so much water in the air, it’s puzzling that no one drowns

From the river, the sonic fingers of blind ships probe the channel. The mournful lowing, muted by the fog, evokes another kind of wake - not the joyous Dixieland procession that my father longed for – but the somber hopelessness of the lost.

this winter landscape – these skeletons

this vessel of graceful, bounding life - now static – now bound to the earth - matted disheveled fur, like parted hair, revealing a pinkness that reminds me of some common ancestor. The smell strikes me, and I back away – I don’t want to smell like that – I don’t want to get any on me

The air is filled with the noise of flapping. How can the motion of feathers on air sound like such a beating?

people come and people go

for all we know, there’s nothing around the corner

the promise of sunshine, if not today - soon


  1. Beautifully evocative. I love fog and mist.

    I have many photographs of hearths and chimneys in the forests of my childhood that for some reason refuse to fall down, even though all around them has melted back into the earth fifty or a hundred years ago.

    Many of them have beds of daffodils and thick stands of lilacs just outside where the front door would have been.

    Is that all we leave behind to mark that we passed this way? Some stones, some ever greening plant we nestled into a spot of earth we called home? Should we strive to leave more... or is it enough?

  2. Cynthia,

    I'd count myself fortunate if I ended up leaving a hearth and chimney behind (I anticipate I'll be leaving a grubby cardboard box somewhere under a bridge). One of my reference sources describes the fireplace of a home as "a symbol of the home and the life of the family who live in it." I can imagine a family repeatedly gathering around the fireplace during holidays, making the memories that are often associated with love. On that same hike, I also found an abandoned bird's nest. Season's come and go and empty houses and nests need'nt be more than cast off tools we left along a greater trail.

  3. I'm glad I found this blog; it's nice. Sauvie Island was one of my favorite places to go when I lived up there. Now I finally get a little look at that chimney. For me, it was surrounded by impenetrable blackberry bramble.



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