Thursday, December 29, 2011

Searching for an Unroaded Clackamas - November 2011

46 Road

It seems pretty simple, really.  It's all about getting there.  From the first tangled cow path to our insane multi-lane death strips, the whole purpose is the destination.
However, I'm here to argue that this is perhaps short sighted.
Yes, we live in an incredible age.  Time zones can be transcended with a blast of a jet engine.  No greater exchange of people, goods, or information has existed, ever.  That's a pretty big statement, and few could argue it's truth.
With our dazzling technology and rapid speed - both as progress and the rate of our travels, we are whipped through life as if on a carnival ride.  Of course this doesn't give us much time to smell the flowers - assuming they survive the trample of a billion bootsoles.  
The march of human progress hasn't been kind to our wild areas.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine even a wild thought as every view becomes evermore pixelated.  Entire habitats and ways of life are gone, beyond the scope of memory, passing like a Daguerreotype cloud.  How many have watched their favorite childhood haunts of patchwork woodlots get converted to a paved eyesore?  Gone, gone.
But as my friend Terrance is fond to remark, "1000 years of City, 1000 years of forest".  

Every seed contains a forest, every forest contains seed.

As those that have read my stories know, I am a sucker for hidden history.  Indeed, it is the only way an embodied being can transcend his own age.  Not That Long Ago, the American continent was wilderness, sea to shining sea.  The priceless fraction that remains is our last chance to swim with the infinite.

It may seem that I am a sucker for the old trails alone.  While this is true, it's not exclusively so, for they are vehicles that combine the past-present-future into a thin ribbon of dirt and duff.

Standing in the rain, watching the silent fogs crash, smelling an Indian pipe.

Don and Randy

Oh, an unroaded Cascades must have been something to behold.  Imagine the mysteries contained in thousands of miles of ancient ridges and rivers, most blocked from view by grand forests, thick with creatures both tangible and otherwise.  But like everything alive, it is not static.  The beat goes on as we continuously lose and gain equal amounts.  All of these billions of teeming souls must have an origin.

Lewis and Clark started the whole catastrophe, and the Oregon Trail sure didn't help matters.  But once nature started messing around with sentient chimps, the cat was out of the bag.  Would she swallow her own pipe-bomb?  But no black force could ever come from the womb of the Divine Mother; all is somehow sacred, all is served most holy in it's own time.  

Somehow on the banks of a mighty river and hid in the shade just beyond an asphalt strip lies remnants of another age, an age of fire and obsidian, where all are just sacred parts of a greater whole. 

Do the trails themselves have consciousness, or are they merely puppets animated by our intent?

 once a bridge, now just a dream of a bridge

 contours of another time, yet locked in this one

 forgotten swamp under winter skies

 100 years ago?  1000?  All the same.

 this way, once

onto a different kind of crossing

In "The Absence of the Sacred", Jerry Mander argues for an eternal continuation of Native ways, as they are time tested modes of sustained existence.  Granted, not every man is holy, nor is every spice of civilization.  As it is, no mortal mind can comprehend.  It is enough to offer every act to a higher power.  Let these old bridges rot, for that is their design.  But let this life be not in vain, for what are the odds of our very existence?  We a pieces of a very grand design indeed.

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