Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Beacon Rock State Park is mainly a huge volcanic plug which was left behind when eons of erosion swept the surrounding mountain away. Climbing Beacon Rock involves traversing a series of switchbacks, back and forth sometimes with a stream of people ahead of and behind you. On this day the temperatures were nearing 85, and the sky was clear of any shading clouds. Here I'm waiting for the girl hiking in front of me with a "W '04" T-shirt, and expensive hiking regalia to get out of eyeshot before I do something mean-spirited! :-)

When you reach the top of Beacon Rock, you have a view of the Columbia River Gorge that extends almost impossibly in both directions of the river ... really a magnificent rock.

This concept of eternal vision, of visual links from the present to the past, and the notion of fluid time (navigatible both backward and forward) fascinate me. Responding to the photo today, I think about Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera when the protagonist is traversing the Magdelena River in Colombia, and how profoundly the landscape changes when he makes the journey again 50 years later. What did the Columbia River Gorge look like, smell like, even taste like before highways were installed beside it, before the mountain around this plug washed and blew away? What can Gaia leave for a woman five hundred years from now to see from a similar view?

Posted by Hello

6 Comments:

At 12:22 AM, Blogger pat said...

Hey Pamela, you're skinny-bones-jones.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Pamela said...

That somehow doesn't read as a compliment, Pat.

 
At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A beautiful photo worthy of an English major--beauty and contemplation!

--Meg

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous bill hooked said...

Congrats....looking forward to reading some of your "stuff"

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger johnmclain said...

The Columbia Gorge is a great place to reflect on the timeline of change, whether thinking 500 years ago when only the native indians cared for the place, or 500 years into the future to see what we have left to those who will come later to stand in your footsteps on the Beacon Rock Trail.

I grew up on the river and knew the river as did the indians of long ago... before most of the dams and bridges (i.e.The Dalles). The river was magnificent as a free flowing vessel of teeming life providing a source of mystical beauty to be worthshiped (art, song, spirits), while at the same time providing a bounty of life-sustaining elements to be harvested (fish, fowl, water). The foundation for the river as a source of life was the Salmon in all of its many forms and seasons. To answer some of your questions about what it was like:

It smelled like:
-- fish.... cooking on a campfire, or smoking in a smoker, or sweet and tangy as someone was making salmon jerky drying in the sun.
-- a garden.... Lilies, Rhodies, Roses, Poppies, Lilacs, and a host of fragrant wild flowers all gather around the wild rivers.

It sounded like:
-- gurgle of flowing water between the fast bends and falls
-- music of all the birds
-- continuous thunder that could be heard for miles around Celio Falls

It tasted like:
-- Hmmmmmm. Mint comes to mind.... the water was cold and fresh.

I too have stood in your footsteps on the Beacon Rock trail, and pondered about what you might call "the notion fluid time... navigatble backward and forward". I do believe that we may be entering a time period where people want to go forward by returning to the past regarding nature (e.g. Rivers and Salmon).

Thanks for sparking a pleasant memory of the past, as well as an opportunity to rededicate time and effort to make a difference in the future.

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Pamela said...

John, your thoughts extended my journey! The smells, the tastes ... are you sure there isn't a latent writer hiding behind that looming MBA? :-)

Thank you for the reverie ...

 

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