. . . or does this starfish have the cutest bum?
Thursday, May 20, 2021
This is for those of us whose hearts were broken on the morning of September 3, 2017 when we received word that our beloved Columbia River Gorge was on fire, and the wind was unlikely to let up anytime soon in the basalt-sided, river-filled canyon separating Washington from Oregon. The fire, we learned, was set by a 15 year-old with fireworks, making it feel all the more tragic. Known as the Eagle Creek fire, it burned just under 50,000 acres in the 3 months it took to extinguish it, at a cost of $19 million. So much loss.
The Columbia River Gorge was the place our family traveled on those long-ago-forgotten Sunday drives. Avoiding Interstate 84, we would cruise along the Model-T-size road on the old highway in the 57 Chevy, wishing my aunt would drive so we didn't have to endure my uncle's nauseating acceleration/deceleration driving style. The Columbia River Gorge was where Portlanders cruised to blow off steam, or a sure trip with visiting friends and relatives. My Mom acted as if the Gorge highway was put there primarily for her pleasure, back in the days before Rooster Rock became a clothing optional beach.
I couldn't bear to see the fire's devastation, so I stayed away . . . until a couple of weeks ago. A friend and I hiked from Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena Falls. As if by magic, the forest is alive, the flowers are blooming, and the landscape is ironically made more vibrant by the contrast of charred bark and living color.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
As it turns out, the first flicker nest site was a decoy. It is left abandoned, minus the comings and goings of curious starlings looking for real estate. Further up the tree, however, flickers found another cozy nest site they are spending their days pounding and scraping clean. This morning squirrel investigated. Flicker objected, then escaped to a nearby maple tree.