volcanic silvershade

This silvery black and white is a mid-afternoon exposure but the September sidelight will save you, sometimes. Or maybe not. The midtones work nicely for me but perhaps the ashen muddle leaves you dreary? Nevertheless, this cluster of bony snags in the backcountry sent a royal shiver down my spine.  These snags are not uncommon on the northern edge of the blast zone. A function of terrain and draft? Oregon’s Mt. Hood is barely visible in the distance, a special treat this far south from Seattle. We tremble and awe at the apparition of Mt. Rainier from most of the windows in our house, to the southeast. From their bedrooms, Adam and Oliver Fern can see shy Glacier Peak on the northeast horizon, the only true wilderness volcano in the Cascades. Provided it’s wintertime and the leaves have dropped off the Philadelphius in the alley, from the disheveled back bedroom one will spy Mt. Baker gleaming in the north.

September 2010 - Helens (162)

It was day six of the boys at home, from school. The boys’ mother also now works daily from the house, sequestered in a little room at the back with the door closed, her frequent muffled murmurings with colleagues or clients on the telephone the weird backdrop to our improvised schoolhouse. Oliver Fern is allowed to pass notes under her door provided they contain philosophical rumination or sweet-nothings, no requests for conference.  When she comes out at lunch (or to use the powder room because even mothers put on their pants one leg at a time) it’s like a rock star visiting our little town and we go to pieces. After noontime today, she vanished for an important meeting via teleconference. The boys put down their books and we headed to the nearby foothills for a long, steep walk which was chosen for its lack of appeal to the public at large.

6 thoughts on “volcanic silvershade

  1. what a fantastic title, and it’s a killer photo. There’s something very cool about silvery wood. I’m really envious of your view, if you’re to be housebound, that is some kind of compensation. i’ve only been to Seattle once, when I was very young, for a wedding, but have a dim memory of visiting my aunt’s house in Federal Way, where you could see the mountains out their back windows.
    I am working from home, too, but don’t have to worry about having kids go stir crazy, a good scramble up a mountain sounds like a great idea. I’m fighting a respiratory thing, non-plague, but walking along the Milwaukee River at lunchtime.

    • Getting outside for a walk along a river sounds like a nice way to restore some balance to your immune system, good tidings and a little fresh air (even in the city) always help. I’ll have to look a little closer at the Milwaukee, I’ve just been reading a little about early logging in some of the upper Wisconsin woods and lot of those trees eventually found their way to the Mississippi. I hope you’ll start feeling better pretty soon, Robert. I’ll bet those were the Olympics you saw out your aunt’s windows, btw. We’re on the other side of a big hill and don’t see anything in that direction, shade and the cool of evening come early to our tucked-away neighborhood. I’ve always thought I’d trade our sunrises for sunsets over the Olympics!

      • when I went to see Taliesin East, I was surprised how big the Wisconsin River was, you could definitely float some log rafts down to the Mississippi, but I don’t know if they ever did any logging in the Driftless area.
        I heard from the old folks, that you could see Mount Rainier very clearly from my aunt’s house. She’s since relocated back to New York, first Brooklyn, and now Poughkeepsie. her husband is a Seattle native, and I figured he’d miss the NW, but it turns out he loves NYC.

      • It’s true since you mentioned it, there are plenty of hills in Federal Way that mount to the east whereas out of habit in my mind I tend to think of it and the other pleasant little suburbs and exurbs between Tacoma and Seattle on that side of the interstate highway (there are deep river valleys on the other side) as mostly falling away in lush evergreen neighborhoods, to the Sound. I’m not surprised your uncle loves NYC. It seems like a very common scenario around here. I wish I could have lived in NYC (or Philadelphia, a friend moved there recently and I love everything she has shown me from their new life) for a little while when I was younger but I couldn’t wait another moment at my soonest chance to go far west as possible.

    • Thanks Yuri. Hope everything is going fine at the bakery. And that your boys and the rest of your family are good.

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