“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” – Andrew Boyd
The drive from Portland to Hood River was one of the most beautiful drives we’ve ever driven. Views. Rainforest. Moss. Salmon. We stopped frequently for short climbs up to waterfalls. And did I mention salmon? We saw salmon. Oh, the salmon. I feel such a kinship with fish. And salmon in particular can bring me to tears.
Salmon swim upstream in their effort to return home to spawn. In doing so, they expend all the energy they have and die. A beautiful, heartbreaking, biological quirk. And then US HUMANS, WE BUILD DAMS!!!! Dams made of concrete that the salmon then batter themselves against in their effort to return home to provide a safe place to give birth. Whole populations of salmon have been killed by our dams. It brings little (but some) comfort that we humans have made efforts to make things a little easier for them with fish passages and fish ladders. Still, to see the salmon struggling — the stream was so low they had to hit their bodies against the rocks and try to bounce in the right direction — was very moving.
We also visited Oneonta George. To get to the waterfall (which I have only seen in pictures), one must follow a trail that involves forging Oneonta Creek.
We were not dressed appropriately to submerge our bodies in the cold water, but we hope to return one summer when it is warmer.
We then headed to Mt. Hood, parked our car at the Mirror Lake trailhead, and took the easy walk (elevation only 700 feet) to the lake.
On less foggy days, one can presumably see Mt. Hood and its reflection in the lake.
This is the entrance from the parking lot to the trailhead. The parking lot is a strip off highway US 26.
And then we made it!
In theory, Mt. Hood is out there, towering 11,000 feet above sea level, obscured by condensed water vapor.
We found a big log half submerged in the lake, balanced ourselves atop its smooth, old surface, ate our sandwiches, and waited for the fog to clear.
The fog seemed to thicken. After lunch, we looped around the lake hoping the fog would clear, but nope! So I focused on the plants around us.
Oh, these colors! Nature, you bless us so with your beauty!
After exploring the Mt. Hood area, we made our way to Hood River for our friend’s wedding.
The day before the wedding, friends and family joined the bride and groom on a hike to a swimming hole.
And then… wedding time!
Side note: I am going to get in the habit of sharing more photographs of people on facebook. My reasoning is this: we don’t know how long each person has here on earth, and photographs bring joy more often than not. I have a love/hate relationship with facebook. The face identification thing freaks me out and so you might see me tag your arm instead of your face… just a small act of resistance.
If I can contribute to someone’s joy and happiness (which might be as simple as a great aunt seeing a photo of her niece smiling) then I fulfill my purpose. I want to fulfill my purpose every single f*cking day. And so here I will just share a few of my favorites from the night. I especially love taking photos of the starry night sky. It brings me so much peace and comfort to remember our place in the galaxy.1