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Wednesday, December 6, 2017


The lodge at Multnomah Falls is open again — and that’s not fake news. But the lodge is about all that’s open. The route to the first viewpoint is screened off with a section of chain-link fence. This is the best shot I could get holding my camera up over my head to clear the fence. You can see the railing of the distant observation area in the lower right corner. Even as I stood behind the barrier, workers brought more fence to make sure that certain ‘gray areas’ of access were no longer open to interpretation.

The wind was hurtling westward down the gorge, and plastic chairs that may have earlier welcomed winter tourists’ butts were now stacked in compact piles, perhaps to avoid the prospect of flying furniture.

Tree limbs combed the sky for litter nits.

Already, it’s hard to be certain if one is looking at fire damage, or autumn’s annual tree stripping.

It’s so windy that some waterfalls stop falling.

The iridescent sheen of charcoal is the tell-tale signature of the fire.

The high ridges exposed to the wind bore the brunt of the flames.

At least some of the railing at the top observation platform appears to be intact.

Fire has rhymes and reasons that I don’t understand.

The same niche that protects the falls from today’s wind must also have provided some degree of aerodynamic shelter during the fire.

Click on images to view larger versions

Some of the burnt trees have been removed, and I suppose park personnel have taken steps to make the area look nice. But enough evidence remains to speculate that the lodge’s survival — is a surprise.

Artist's depiction of Eagle Creek Fire at Multnomah Lodge 09/05/17

Friday, December 1, 2017


A thin, icy, cloud painted crystals overnight onto chilly windshields

Till the morning’s faux summer-sun chased it into low places

Winter’s premature apparition melts in gullies, carved across sloping fields

Behold a golden diamond set in a blue dome of sky, quiet and still as if in permanent stasis

Until Winter’s specter fingers stretch forth, over brittle, golden-fields shivering

Birds bail out of the sky, as if some great dangerous tide is turning

I stand atop a deep cut scar, a canyon, a river’s ceaseless dithering

Gusting winds kick up a haze though no fire is left burning

This bird’s eye view reveals my path through history, those days of triple digits

The river, flashing cold blue grins, teases saying, “I still got your (pretty-good) fishing pole”

It seems unlikely that a river’s fits and starts, its endless fidgets

Would craft such nonsensical wondrous scenes — absent any goal

Though born of different mothers — those distant violent mounts, these carved out hills —

They put on similar fashions, they rock their gravity skirts

Strong gusts comb the blond stubble of this barren high desert, yet my nose fills

With juniper pollen, hints of sage — varieties of earthly dirts

This isolated house — it’s hearth — someone’s metaphor for heaven

Did it nurture its humans, or do tragic skeletons somewhere repose, without testament or will

I can see for miles and miles and not see one Seven Eleven

Or gas station for that matter, my sketchy gas gauge reading empty while slanted downhill

Those grasping spectral fingers from before

Dragging a cloud blanket behind me, to swaddle me in cold darkness

A crowd of fans are waving at the sun they adore

“We really love what you’ve done with these pressure gradients”, they confess

Winter seems certain to win this seasonal battle, yet one pinwheel yet strives

To blow the snow off the mountain (with picturesque backlighting)

The vanquished apparition rises from the valley again, as if with infinite lives

Who would have thought 23.5 degrees of tilt would guarantee forever fighting

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