Island Survival

Image By Larry Farr||

Image By Larry Farr||

Lewis and Clark would be dismayed. The careful calculations they charted were of a forming and reforming Columbia River, which was destined to divide.

Swaths of explorable land forked the lake-like Columbia while heavy timber slowed the push of mist, rain and river. The ocean fought the flow of fresh water, diluting with low tide only to reclaim its mixture as the tide swelled.

The tide and the river’s pulse remain. With the felling of timber, the rise in soil run-off heaved the volume of the river. What the rush of spring melt had not washed away was suffocating in the sudden silt. Island swaths dwindled to stranded trees between muddy banks.

True, the onslaught of matter-dense river water will etch away the blunt tip of an island. And it is at the upstream the island gains debris with which it incrementally rebuilds itself. The trees march forward, sidling up to shore one another during the calmer months. The solidarity of trees’ roots claim any purchase—deadfall, rock and nutrients—that would otherwise escape the grasp of an island.

Then-maps will never match now-maps, or next-maps for that matter. The Pacific Northwest is a place set in its ways, however malleable the landscape.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson


Light and Upward Motion

Stand of White Birch Trees in Early Spring

Image: © Allison Trentelman | Please click image to visit the original image page.

The snow had melted to a burnished bronze soil seeping with the comforting scent of decay, the forest readying itself for imminent spring. The path was primarily evergreen fir trees, fallen branches and the most intimate fungi to catch the eye.

At a rise, I looked left into a stark stand of naked white birches glowing against the surrounding evergreens and revealed soil.

Stepping from the muted energy of an evergreen canopy into the downward rush of a much more open space is a sensation I treasure every time I think of Mount Hebo.

The clear view then, from the flat summit, is 360 degrees of bliss for my hermetic soul. South to, I’m told, Tillamook Bay; west into the Pacific Ocean’s indefinite horizon; north so far it feels tangible; and the mountain-blunted view east to the Cascade Range.

Eternity up close—having to sit down before falling into a winter-clear night sky of universe. Another message from The Great Divide and all its meaning.