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Showing posts from 2013

"a mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that's just a little bit too... tight." - Dr. Who

I had a teacher once (Vicky) who posited with a straight face that the most important thing you can give to starving people is art. Now as then, I still vote for bread, or more specifically, an educational program that teaches sustainable farming and a financial package to help such an endeavor along, but the outlandishness of my teacher's claim haunts me to this day.
I wish I could remember the words my teacher used, her normally brash and cool character terrifyingly subverted by the threat of oh-my-god-actual-tears, as she tried to convince us, a handful of her young sculptor's in training, that what she said was true. But I can't. It was thirty years ago or so, and while that may not pose a great problem for gospel writers, it does tend to make me, at least, a little sketchy on details.
I'm not a great student. What I got out of that teachable moment was that my teacher was very likely crazy...but also that art was important, probably more important than I've ever…

"Hello." The Water is Calling.

I set out for The Dalles last Saturday to track down some more examples of native American rock art (I'd been given a few leads - thanks Mr. Colman), but driving east on I-84, I didn't fail to notice that the Columbia River was as smooth as glass all the way from Portland to Biggs Junction and probably beyond.
This phenomenon was not entirely unexpected (witness the kayak strapped to my vehicle). The miraculous conditions persisted as I sped up the gorge. By the time I passed CeliloVillage, my plans to correlate GPS coordinates with actual physical locations were mostly forgotten. The brilliant blue water was calling to me like early morning flat water calls to water-skiers.  Note to literalists: When I say the water was calling to me, I'm employing a metaphorical device and by no means am I suggesting that water can actually talk.

Even my brother Fred would have a hard time managing to capsize in this.

Some months ago, wildfire danced impulsively across this Columbia River i…

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: What we learned from beavers

If you can block a stream, and keep the water from getting away, you can bury an existing prairie and make your own lake and use it to stock trout for sport and water for irrigation. That's what human beings did in 1922 to the Deschutes River Prairie (thank you Wikipedia). Beavers have a knack for doing this kind of thing without (presumably) thinking about it very much. Humans are learning to think about it with greater sensitivity, now that it is becoming clear that resources and land are limited, but regardless, the big winner here may very well be mosquitoes.

Uncle Rico, Kip and I set out for Crane Prairie Reservoir, Uncle Rico in his character laden Jeep, and Kip and I in Kip's new normal passenger vehicle, destined to acquire some character of its own. My vehicle has accumulated enough character to become taciturn and devious toward humans and so we left it parked safely at Kip's.

At some point, I must have made a disparaging remark about Uncle Rico's aqua-pod, bec…