Eagle Creek Fire

Trees

Photograph and poem by Emily Bittel

Eagle Creek Fire  2017

I breathe, and smoke fills my lungs.

The forest I love is burning –

The place we first backpacked together.

The senseless loss is staggering.

 

What will be left when the burning is done?

We will shuffle through ash

Shake it from our socks into little piles on the floor of the tent.

 

Perhaps our grandchildren’s children

Will gaze up with wonder

At the lofty heights of the douglas fir

Through the filter of vibrant vine maple.

 

I pray for rain as the ash drifts down from the sky

Flakes of a forest I once knew

The last time light will shift through its leaves.

Head in my arms, I cry

 

Maybe, just maybe, my tears will water the desolation.

 

I thank Emily for sharing her personal poem.  Below is a picture from katutv, a split screen of what the Bonneville Dam looks like normally, and now during the fire.  My heart goes out to all those working the PNW fires, the critters who make the forests their home, and the forests themselves.  Photo: National Coast Trail Association

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Neighbors Near and Far

A few days back, I heard a very loud and scary crash outside our home… somewhere down the block.  I yelled for hubs and we both went out to see if someone needed assistance.  Doors flew open and neighbors noisily poured out of their houses.

I heard what sounded like a gunshot and hubs saw a car speeding around the corner on three tires.  “What’s going on?”  “Everyone okay?” “Call 911!”   Someone near the corner rang out “I got the plate number!!” and we all cheered.

A car had just plowed into two cars parked on the street in front of our neighbor’s house. One car was pushed so hard that it almost landed on the sidewalk as it damaged the second car.

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While we are standing there, a car speeds down our block, does a U-turn and flies back down the street.  Curious.

We all had our smart phones out and were comparing stories…..”What did you hear?” “Who’s car?”   It appears our neighbor a few doors down had two guests over and their cars were now destroyed.  They just stood there and we tried to make encouraging comments.  They were thanking everyone for mobilizing so quickly.

But the story is not over.  I don’t know how many noticed the car that made the U-turn, but when the car returned I recognized it.

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A kind young man, Robert, stepped out and shared his story.  He was not from the neighborhood, but when he turned down our street he was face to face with a car on three wheels driving like a bat out of hell.  He knew someone was up to no good.  Once he made the U-turn he followed the vehicle for a cat and mouse chase around the back roads, alleys, etc.  The hit and run driver even tried the old “turn off the lights and drive very slowly” trick, but Robert was determined not to let this guy get away.

Robert stayed in communication with the police until they joined him and stopped the hit and run perpetrator.  Knowing we were a curious bunch….he came back to tell us that the guy was in police custody.  We all cheered!

Clearly, you don’t have to live in a neighborhood to be a good neighbor.  An officer arrived and we all said our goodbyes and let the officer talk with the two car owners.

Thank you, Robert (no idea his last name), for being our neighbor.

Reflecting on the Women’s March

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Much has been written about the Women’s March on Washington, the day after inauguration.  People wrote about it if they were there or not, supported it or not.  My husband, my friend Susan, and I attended the Salem, Oregon march for as long as my health would allow.  It was worth it.

There was such a joyous feeling.  Strange, since this march was partly born from a woman’s sadness on election day.  To win the popular vote by so much then to lose through the electoral college….she felt helpless.  So she decided to do something.  She set up a facebook events page inviting people to march the day following inauguration.  The LA Times said she went to bed with 40 people joining and when she woke up, there were 10,000.  If there is ever a lesson on wondering if one person can make a difference, here’s a good example.

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This is the first sign I saw, and it struck me as a fitting way to begin the march.  Love, not fear; bringing together, not pushing away. A sea of pink meant to me that we would stand up for those marginalized and insulted by our new president.  We would stand together.

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I love this picture. (I did not take it.  I tried to find the photographer for acknowledgement.)  It was said to be taken at the Portland, Oregon march.  I am proud to say that throughout the country, there were no arrests, no destruction of property, and no break-out riots.

As I said before, for me it was joyous.  There was such hope in the air.  Women, men, children, and several doggies in attendance.  The young and the old, united to say….we are together.  We can make a difference together.  We are united with those across the country, even the world, to say that fear and hate will not win.  Not on our watch.

 

The people have spoken…

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Created by Patriot  http://fantasyartdesign.com/free-wallpapers/digital-art.php?u_i=1352&i_i=1335

My heart is broken…living in a country that is so keenly divided.  I don’t know how politicians do it – strive so hard so long for what they believe, lose, and then pick themselves up to strive another day.

Yes, I know there were many angry votes cast on each side.  So I must say…there are a lot of people hurting out there. I’m one of them.  But I do believe the people have spoken and there will be a peaceful transference of power – something for which I am thankful.

I fear our present climate has set our clock back decades where a minority feel emboldened to bully or harm people of color, people in the LGBT communities, people who worship different religions, or women who wish to travel from their home to their businesses without being verbally harassed.

We cannot let this stand.

It will take me a while to process everything that has happened in the elections and the part I will play in our next chapter.  Hopefully, I will find the strength to choose hope over bitterness, pick myself up, and strive for “a more perfect union.”

 

10 Things I Learned from The Princess Bride — Lemon Shark

This month’s Guest Blog Post is by Lemon Shark.  Check out her blog: sarahbrentyn.wordpress.com and enjoy posts like the following.  I must admit I am a fan of the movie as well and the post made me realize it has been a long time since I’ve watched it.  Enjoy!  (Thank you, Sarah)

1. Love is the greatest gift of all. If your love is true (like really true), many people will help you for no other reason than true love is so very rare. Also, because their own selfish desires led them to use you in their schemes. But, still. Oh, and apparently death cannot […]

via 10 Things I Learned from The Princess Bride — Lemon Shark

Light My Fire

Robert will be at the State Fair this week! Rebecca did such a beautiful job of capturing his work place. Here’s her wonderful blog post. Enjoy

Eclectic Images

studio 6 I belong to a co-op gallery in Silverton, Oregon called Lunaria Gallery.  Each of the 25 artists are beyond talented and I feel so lucky each time I get to visit one of their studios. Since I’m a fine art photographer (and a pet photographer), I use outdoor light.  I own lots of lenses and several tripods but no big lights and ergo – no studio.  So I’m always fascinated by all the cool things artists use to create their work.

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The other day I went to Robert’s studio to photograph a glass mobile he is working on for a show the two of us will have at the gallery in April (more about that in my next post).  Robert spent thirty years as a welder and he uses that talent with flames to create whimsical glass pieces like mermaids and turtles as well as commissioned glass buttons and beautiful…

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Bring in the pros…

Ever knew something had to be done, but kept putting the job on the bottom of the list until it was out of hand?

*crickets*  Really?  Nobody?  Just me?

I recently called in R&R Tree Service in the Salem area because every bush, tree, and plant around our house was out of control.  We don’t really like to cut down whole trees, but one was starting to push up the shop’s foundation.  And that’s bad.

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A team arrived in the morning and got right to work.  Made this tree disappear.

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The photinia (a bush that grows like a tree) was cut down to size.

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Yews, Rodies, and other bushes were trimmed and they finished off by making our front trees look under control.

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They worked the whole day with one break for lunch. They did great clean up!  If we ever need help again, we’ll contact them.  R&R Tree Service

Sometimes we just need to bring in the pros.  I’m glad we hit upon such a great company.

That’s me….checking something off my list.