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Friday, May 29, 2015

Road-trip to Cove Palisades and Beyond

Clouds, like insubstantial whales, drift almost inquisitively over the high desert plateau. Perhaps they taste the frosty tips of a sorority of mountains, or,  rising on ephemeral flippers to test the bounds of the stratosphere, they glimpse the face of a goddess.

And I, perched on the edge of a reservoir, feel the chill sneak out from the shadows of the vast scar below me, chasing the sun's residual heat out of massive basalt rim-rock back into space.

You'd think the gentle breeze could be the faintest evidence of the turmoil of a planet's atmosphere spinning, on average, hundreds of miles per hour against the vacuum of space, but only because your dilettantish comprehension of vacuums is based mostly on an object named Hoover. Regardless, you imagine it really is the sound of the world turning, and try to feel the ground trembling as it turns away from the light.

Given imperfect knowledge, given mathematical ineptitude, given mistaken assumptions, I still grasp at a sound byte or two that I picked up from Cosmos, and feel a moment of gratitude, maybe even joy, that there is something instead of nothing, even if that something means there will still be work again on Tuesday.

Here at the confluence of three rivers, I explore the canyon carved by the incoming finger of the Deschutes...

...marvel at texts written by lava...

...consider our ingenuity at making reservoirs both with admiration and misgiving... surprised by the color red... confounded by the sheer scale of this body of water, and big though it may be, am chagrined that all the surrounding camp sites are full (according to a ranger).

There's frugal.  And then there's idiotic.

I take idiotic naps along the night highway, furtively hiding on tree sheltered extended fear of the intentions of other night travelers who do not carry screaming orange kayaks on top of their vehicles...waking to the peculiar wail of tires approaching from miles away...a slow-motion crescendo that ultimately drowns out the sound of blood pulsing through veins, the lifelong subliminal background soundtrack I usually only ever hear at 4 a.m.

The sun sneaks up on me from the other side of the world and finds me in a land where deep time is written on hills of colored kitty litter.

It says right on the pamphlet, "Sunset is the best time to photograph the painted hills."

Once again I take a page from the J.J. Abrams book of lens-flare videography.

I try to see the mountains dissolve over the eons...imagine the layers of ash laid down...the animals covered, the rivers of molten basalt...but I can't quite piece it all together, or explain this irregular pocket of color.

Sometimes it's all too clear that in our passing, we leave marks upon the earth ( I hope this isn't the trail of some of those effing photographers).

As the sun leaps above the hills on the horizon, the formerly mysterious and moody landscape takes on a loud and gaudy aspect.

Transitory footsteps on hills of deep time.

Life persistently checking for footholds.

The Narrative Image NAVIGATION AID

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