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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mt. Adams Fire (09-22-12)

 Mt. Adams as seen from the Cooper Spur shelter (Mt. Hood) on 09-22-12

Mt. Hood’s lengthening shadow, straining for the eastern horizon 

Smoke from the fire doing a pretty fair impersonation of clouds 

The timberline trail spirals on around the mountain 

Toyed with the idea of composing a shot here, but Lola the dog was feeling territorial 

Mt. Adams beyond the shelter 

Mt. St. Helens 

As night falls, the source of the smoke becomes evident 

The scale of the fire is slowly revealed as the sky gets darker 

An inferno about the size of a mountain 

Swirling winter clouds ride autumn’s cool night air into the valley, like circling predators patiently waiting for a flickering campfire to go out. 

Detailed information about the fire can be found here: http://inciweb.org/incident/3249/

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Seaside Improvisation


 A soloist improvises… accompanied by the ultimate rhythm section. 

It’s Matt’s birthday, and he’s arranged a gathering at the Seaside Hostel, and I’m under the impression that he doesn’t want to draw a lot of attention to the fact that it’s his birthday, but when I arrive (with a bachelor’s token chips, store-bought layered bean-dip and case-O-beer for the pot-luck) a flaming birthday cake is being presented and his musical friends are breaking into birthday song. Later almost everyone participates in (what I believe they call) a ‘Jam’.  I look on enviously, as if watching a favorite T.V. series… but on Spanish T.V. and I’m therefore regulated to reading facial expressions - of concentration, pleasure, and happiness – which all goes to point out how foreign and out of place I am, unable to speak the language.

Savoring the hope and necessities of social interaction, I miss the sunset. Later, self exiled to a vast tsunami-plain, I turn to other sources of illumination. Later, a stale blue- moon will wash the sky of its stars. 

Even though it is relatively early (by the standards of those who wake up with hangovers), the parks and their parking lots are already full of labor-day tourists by the time I enter Ecola State Park. Rather than wait for a parking space to open up at Indian Beach, I opt to take the trail…

…and see an arch I hadn’t really seen before.





Some people really like crabs. 

What I like to do here is, approach from a distance by horseback (usually with a beautiful mute named Nova) until I’m close enough to recognize the wreckage. Then I dismount from the horse and fall on my knees in the sand and scream something like, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Damn you all to hell!” 

My parents brought me and my brother and sister here once when I was a child. My parents were either entertaining friends, or being entertained, I don’t remember – we were sightseeing. Now my dad is long gone… and so are those friends … 

…and this shipwreck, already weathering over a hundred years of winter storms, seems poised to outlast me. 








Standing with ghosts besides the rusting red ribs of a shipwreck, riding the surface of the spinning earth into the dark night, imagining matter coalescing into generations of stars in the course of a 14 billion year long explosion…entropy suddenly becomes tangible – things run down - and though it makes me afraid, I know I have no place to run. 

I find the improvisers gathered around a fire, and like some parasite, I partake of the Gem├╝tlichkeit they've created.

A beautiful ninja girl expertly prepares a colossal double smore for me, and as they pick up their instruments, and as I shove my hands in my pockets to assume my usual wallflower pose, Jake hears my keys jingle and suggests, “Play your keys.” 



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