My conference wrapped up today. Tomorrow, they would have had to drag me onto a plane back to St. Louis, except that I miss my family so much. I’ll leave willingly, but with some sadness.
I’ve also fallen hopelessly in love with Oregon. Lots of bicycle commuters. Lots of free spirits, including all of the friendly skateboarders and kids with body piercings and tattoos. Lots of thoughtful people. I could easily imagine living in Portland. At 4pm today, at the end of the conference, I grabbed my little camera and hit the “Max” (light rail) to Washington Park (only 6 miles away from downtown Portland, Oregon). This time, I decided to focus on capturing park images using the “macro” feature of the camera. Therefore, this one last time, I will impose on readers with yet more photos that I took today, all of them in the late afternoon and early evening.
I had to bracket some of my shots with the macro feature, because focus can be a bit touchy. When a photo “hits,” though, it can be spectacular [as before, I'm using a cheap-but-incredible consumer grade camera, the Canon SD1100SI, lightly editing these photos with Picasa3, which is available free online. In short, nothing tricky is going on here--these images are showing you very much what I saw with my own eyes]. Here, for instance, is a berried plant that is losing its leaves, but not quite].
I know next to nothing about plants. but the plant below reminded me of something I read about ten years ago, that phyllotaxis (the spiral arrangement of the leaves on the stem of a plant) can be described by reference to Fibonacci numbers. I also found the subdued coloration of this plant especially beautiful.
Using the “macro” feature of a camera can reveal things you don’t notice in person. For instance, I didn’t notice (in person) that the tips of these green leave were actually blue.
And I didn’t notice the rainbow reflective pattern on the wings of this mosquito, who was trying to stab through my pants leg in order to get a meal out of my thigh.
As the sun set, though, I returned to regular shooting mode. I found this scene especially compelling (you can enlarge any of these photos by clicking on them).
The setting sun ignited the sky just before dark, drawing my attention to this line of trees.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be on a plane, excited to be traveling back home to see my wife and children. Tonight, though, I’m sorry that they couldn’t be walking in Washington Park with me, to see these sights with their own eyes.
I realize that I am rather intense and distractable, as a rule. Taking these silent walks in Oregon has been therapeutic. Having a camera with me has tempted me to look more carefully at many of the things that there has been to see. It’s not like there aren’t beautiful sights in St. Louis. The problem is that, back home, I’m too embedded in my routine to take the time to notice. That’s got to stop. Walking in silence is powerful healing medicine for the soul.
I must admit that many of these scenes from Oregon are more spectacular than most things I could see in St. Louis. There’s something especially awe-inspiring about all of these old growth 200+ feet tall Douglas Fir trees. They are majestic and towering; they cry out to be noticed as huge living things. Kind of like the blue whales of the forest.
As I walked through the Oregon forests, it didn’t escape me that these giant living things were my cousins, biologically speaking. They are survivors in this world, just like me. My silent walks in the park were so very effective at reminding me that these trees are alive, not just sources of wood products, not just pretty things. Darwin’s revamping of the inter-relationships among all living things is one of the most extraordinary and yes, subversive, things ever maintained. Trees as our cousins? How ridiculous! But how true. And those tiny organisms are my cousins too (e.g., Cousin Mosquito).
For many people, Darwin’s words are troubling or even despicable. For me tonight, I take solace in the writings of Charles Darwin. I can’t think of anything more dramatic than the fact that I share this planet with my 200+ foot tall cousins.
About the Author (Author Profile)Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.
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