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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Keeping an eye out...

Got a few days off... but the weather pointedly asked me just how much fun can you really have in a tent by yourself when it's raining? So I headed East into the Cascade range rain-shadow, searching for sunshine...all the while keeping my eyes open for 'thin places'.

Two different metaphors presented themselves:

* Interstate freeway system as circulatory system (with the health of various 'organs' dependent on circulation/traffic

* The route from Portland into rural Oregon as time travel into the recent past

I found the first metaphor rather pleasing as my trusty (said with heavy irony) corpuscle/vehicle coursed through various arteries and veins to the peculiar arrhythmias of commerce (once I factored in the Columbia River). But wind turbines and the price of gasoline were jarring reminders that small towns were definitely not  nostalgic oases in time.

Still, I very much enjoy road trips, if for no other reason than to find the perfect heat-lamp blasted jalapeno popper fermenting in a glass display case at some remote quick stop.

Rain managed to encroach beyond The Dalles, but mostly undercover of night. During the day, gentle showers would stray here and there, not managing to really wet anything. I managed to find a puddle to illustrate the Douglas Adams anecdote from last week.

Rain. It has what plants crave.

I felt a certain empathy for this tree.

As I drove up to the pay station at the John Day recreational area, I made the mistake of asking the attendant if there were any camping spots left. His smart-alecky expression made me realize I had asked a stupid question. He scratched his head and turned away, making a big production of checking his clipboard, an obviously blank reservation list clipped to the front. Then, he returned to the window feigning surprise. "Yes." He said.

There in the dark, a contingent of trees assigned to wind-break duty stood expectantly on fresh-cut grass, presumably to protect campers from devious gorge winds. But I could tell they were in no mood to work - especially for only one potential campee. They hadn't even bothered to put their leaves on.

I sat there for a time, conjuring up the ghosts of friends with whom I'd spent time with beneath these sheltering trees... lost

The next day, at Horse Thief Butte, I finally witnessed deer utilizing their anti-gravity skills.

A spider goes about its business.

In a graveyard, remembrances are gradually cast off.

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