Photos from our winter adventure of the last few weeks. It was magical seeing the valley blanketed in white and observing the remarkable level of social solidarity that emerges when people are nudged out of their cars. In some places, after the deep snow hit, the streets were more the province of walkers and skiers (not to mention a few determined bikers) than drivers. People were talking, helping each other, crowding onto the remaining buses and trains that Trimet valiantly tried to keep running. Drivers who would normally be speeding past my bicycle with sociopathic disregard were stopping to pick me up by the side of the road when I stuck my thumb out. Hey - it was nice to get to know some of you.
Beautiful moonrise yesterday evening. The chill that settled in immediately after the sun set behind the hills made me yearn to be in the sun on the other side of the river. I always have a slight feeling of reluctance trying to capture scenes like this, because you lose the movement and real sense of seasonal drama that "being there" gives you. (It doesn't help that my camera sucks, either.) I was up there for almost an hour waiting for the mountains to turn a nice shade of pink, and by the time I headed back down the hill I'd have to say that my hands were pleasantly numb.
Lately I've found my mind returning again and again to the gulf between our human-centered perception of time, defined by our blink-of-the-eye lives, and the great expanse of time over eons. Yep, it seems like every time I stop halfway across my beloved Broadway bridge I end up trying to imagine what this stretch of river will look like in 500 or 5000 years. What will be left? The equivalent of smoldering ruins? Will we have recycled everything that stands today into something else during some time of great need? What sounds will echo across the valley? Will people still live here? Will their memory of this city --of cities-- have evolved into myth, like the travelers in Jim Crace's "The Pesthouse" who stumble upon what's left of a freeway in post-apocalypse America and try to connect what they're looking at to the stories handed down to them through generations? Will this place simply revert to the vast wilderness that it was only a very short time ago? I would give anything to be able to time travel into the future and see for myself.
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"Ross Island, the bridge's namesake, was at one time home to a famous distillery. McArthur's Oregon Geographic Names, an indispensable work, says the island was once legendary for its "'Blue Ruin' whiskey of pioneer days . . . it was a fluid of high voltage." The distillery is gone, and now it is home to a large number of Blue Heron rookeries."