I’ve never gotten so fortunate with birds in Oregon before. Quite a few actually stopped long enough for photo ops this time, and some even did interesting things for the camera. Some are even in focus. This one isn’t so much, but it’s the most intriguing of the lot. It landed in a tree some distance from me at Clear Lake, waited for me to get in just one shot, and then flew off. I’m glad it held still for a moment – it’s got some fantastic coloration, perfect for an area covered in basalt flows and flaming red vine maples.
I have to say, I’m quite excited over this one. I’d just been through a solid string of ducks and other water birds, and while they’re beautiful, they’re not quite so intriguing as this beauty. Nor as colorful.
It’s like this bird intended to dress geologically. I can almost see it strutting round on a black basalt flow, reciting some beat poem about a red fire liquid becoming cold black rock, and probably some metaphor or analogy or something thrown in to make it truly artistic. Perhaps a squirrel in dark glasses would play a very small soprano sax beside it. And I think I’ve done far too much research over the past four days if this is how my mind is trending…
I’ve had volcanoes on the brain a lot lately. Take this tree I’ve driven past, and looked at, and thought, “Wow, that looks like it’s illustrating the lateral eruption at Mount St. Helens!”
Of course, by the time I’d got round to photographing it, the eruption was spreading, and when I passed it the other day, it was fully involved. Fall will do that to a tree. But I swear to you, the first time I saw it, it looked just like that lateral blast. Except, a tree’s conception of it.
And here is a tree illustrating a more conventional vertical eruption column:
By the time I see them again, they will be doing their impression of one of those diagrams showing the inner plumbing of a volcano, with all of the vents and the throat and all that sort o’ thing. It may help to see them that way, rather than as trees with their leaves off for the winter. Autumn usually depresses the shit out of me. Everything’s dying, it’s damp, it’s cold, summer’s a long ways away. Then I get used to not having everything virulently green, I begin to enjoy the absence of the sun, I settle in for a long winter’s writing with a cat cold enough to cuddle, and all is bliss until the days start getting longer and I feel pestered by the evil yellow hurty thing. Spring is somewhat traumatic round here. Everything gets aggressively green and the sun never seems to go down. But it’s getting easier. Every year, I get a little more used to the way seasons change, and I begin to enjoy the transitions, just as I learned to enjoy the volcanoes, which around here have a distressing tendency to blow up.
But the results, my friends, are spectacular. You wait. I have so much to show you. Plus UFDs!