**Edit: I feel like most of this post is what I was thinking about this event pre-Sandy. With our developing understanding of just how devastating this storm was, and continues to be, I feel like the tone and focus doesn't quite work. After a day of contemplating not going at all, feeling abashed about the race's demand on vital City resources, and reading a number of articles and reports from NY, I've decided to go still.
I’m doing a series over at my other blog on a day’s river kayak trip. You may want to cruise over and check out the photos. When the story’s done I’ll post the photo highlights back here.
Here’s the first photo to give you a taste of what’s in store!
Ocean mirrors the sky, it is a way to find flight whether we have wings or not. We watch, we walk out, we ride a swell and find ourselves brushing cloud.
Climbing Beacon Rock is not nearly as impressive as the story of the man who hacked out the trail many years ago. Another impressive thing is the voracity of the summit chipmunks who stand on your boot and give you miniature high fives in the hopes of winning a wee bite. The northwest jays are in on the racket too, squawking and preening and swooping. I once would have decried this borderline domestication but now I relax into a pleasant cohabitation.
Highway sign state lines are ebullient but meaningless demarcations, the metal remnant of old power struggles invisible in the real world. But there are the subtler signs of a shifting state: the feel of the air, the color of petals and wings, the resident trees. I love coming down from Oregon into California coast, Redwood amongst the Fir, salt in the wind, elk in the grass, and a feeling of being home.
These photos are from an early spring run at Lacamas Lake, just over the border in Washington. Tranquil waters but for the ducks tear assing around – seems there was only one female and two males. I’d never seen a duck fight before, quite a show.
I think that most folks who happen by here also amble on over to my other blog, Heaps of Nimbus. But just in case you’ve never been out that way, I wanted to post a few photos that have appeared over yonder.
Still high from the visit to the near shore, I hope you’ll indulge me posting just a few more photos of sand and sea. There are so many ways to find home, being the lusciously composite and complex beings were are, aren’t there? Your strength of bone may call you to rock of desert or mountain, your roots may seek forest floor, your windy spirit may crave the wide open spaces. Mostly my salty blood yearns for ocean, to walk to the edge of sight and float out a ways in that surrender and embrace.
Rock stands as bastion before battering tides but changes, bit by bit, into something more, something that gives root to green growth and gull. Its stillness is illusion, as is its silence: it constantly sings in scales great and minute. It holds heat of suns and gives mineral taste, it offers the long beach of soft rest and beyond time finds its way back under waves.
Easter/Eostar/Passover on the Oregon Coast, what better way to celebrate deliverance abundance rebirth?
Despite advice to the contrary, I love going and chasing these things.
Every drop that falls is a moment of green. Every drop will bear light, break rock, sink into ground and reach back into air.
This gorge is a great bastion of living water, always moving, even the stillness of mountains an illusion. All of it honoring life in green.
In Portland you’re in a band or five, and/or you’re dating someone who is, and/or you’re ordering drinks from someone who is, and on any given night you’re at most 27 feet from a band or five practicing, performing, and/or drinking.
Here are a couple photos I snapped of my good friends performing at the Firkin Tavern, who have at least 33 bands between them, but on this night were representing Frontloaders and The Betwixties (not pictured: Dramady, because I was too shy to ask if I could shoot them too). I wish I had a sonic adapter for my lens so I could reveal the aural magnitude of their music, but hopefully your eyes can soak in the rock.
This will be the second and last post about cats for now, lest I seem like a crazy old cat man before I’m officially either of the first two.
We left off with Ryan and Jackie taking in Bhikku the stray, who suddenly gained a lot of weight, which ended up being two brothers she birthed in the closet. They kept them both so we get to have this little pride of mother and her sons, Sal and Lew.
When I lived with Ryan and Jackie after first arriving in Portland, Sal was my roommate. He’s a big fella, but not as big as these pictures make him seem. He flops for love, which he did even before he lost a leg in the war. As noted elsewhere, he is truly the fastest three-legged cat I’ve ever known. People really freak out about fat cats but when you look at a family sharing the same household, all getting outside a lot, all hunters, and Sal is the hunky one, I think that Sal is just expressing his true Sal-ness as it was meant to be.
Lew has traditionally had trouble expressing his emotions, as Ryan originally explained, but he’s doing better. He has a penchant for high fives, a kink in the tip of his tale, and a handsome ascot.
My dear friends Ryan and Jackie, whilst living in Ohio, adopted a tortoise shell stray they named Bhikku. They didn’t realize it was an adopt one, get 3 deal. She had a litter in their closet, and they kept the brothers Sal and Lew. The family all lives in Portland now on Cat Mountain. (The story of Jackie’s cat Barry Sagittarius will have to wait for another time.)
This is Bhikku on a sunny afternoon in February as I paid the pride a visit. Little mother is full of affection and temper and strangeness.
A pigeon whispered go east, so I went east up the hill and up and looked at all the wide reach and snapped happily away, all the clouds and sunbeams and winding roads and river. But my gaze fell down and I fell in love with the entire little world at work on the ground. So much stone and so much time meant whole civilizations of little green beings tucked happily into cracks of light. For a little while I forgot about the wide view and got down on my knees to marvel at something I wouldn’t normally even see, miniature grasses and trees thriving in their own great place. I watched the last light fall and felt unreasonably glad.
Bare branches give a greater view of sky, of the vastness surrounding our small moments of light. Here there are small orbs hanging over the expanse, reminding us of the tenacity of flesh, an offering on supplicant limbs that hold out their gifts when all else has gone down into ground. How delicious for eyes to find the few petals, to admire the precious fruit catching the light at the end of the day.
What an extraordinary joy it is to take people’s pictures. I spent many long years in the wilds eschewing photos of folks, cropping them out of the shot when they were there at all, spending days adrift in clouds and mountains and waves as I chewed on twigs. I still love that work, but as friends and strangers have been taking the risk of stepping in front of my camera, I’ve been learning about so much: the mechanics of posing, flattering bends and beneficial angles; how to use the lighting from sun or stand; and the connection, giving space to allow people to emerge, coaxing them along, and jumping in to create alongside. In this set are a few of the couples and families I’ve shot with. I’m grateful to all who have allowed me to stumble along working with them, and I look forward to working with more.
I almost forgot! You can now view more Noel Tendick Photography on my portfolio site, where you will soon be able to purchase prints as well. You can even like my FB page, if you can believe that nonsense.
We were all hiking out to Elowah Falls, great cascade of postcardliness, and there was this: cracks of rock with moss and succulents and more, and it was Everything. The varying mineral composition of the rock and layering lava flows meant different strengths, met with water running and freezing exquisite fractures. Varying winds brought birds and seeds that found ground and grew toward changing angles of light, fed by atmosphere and their own yearnings. All of it still and shifting, an entire cosmos of creation colluding to exude small moments of color and air that are their own vast worlds.
I love trains, and I love how large their presence looms here. Sometime I’ll do a proper essay, for now a quick leap from standing on rails to a high overlook of the yard.
There are still some Canada Geese lingering by the river, but most have passed overhead in vast formation. There is still some gold in the trees, but most has fallen into great heaps of rust. The sun is still on its way south, the light clear and thin, and the cold sting has erased any lingering feel of heat. It’s winter and we ready for it like crows, still on wing but huddled close and calling against the coming cloud.
The Columbia River Gorge is 30 minutes and another world entire from my door. I’m so grateful for its infinity of exploration, and for great friends to go there with. Running, backpacking, day hiking, spelunking; with flask, memorial candle, camera that may or may not work that day; in wind, rain, mist, trails of ice: it’s all out there.
I spent the first week of November traveling between worlds, this one to others, in a number of ways. The easiest to explain is flying from the grey and fire of Portland to the gentling sun of Santa Barbara. After a week of workshop in the desert foothills, the wealth of the locals paling next to that of those scrub hills, I spent my last night in California right by the ocean. In both locales I ran, swam, explored inward and outward, and took a few photos along the way. Autumn is vastly different down there, but it is known nonetheless.