Ten years ago some of you heard me say that I wish to live only until August, 2017, to see a total eclipse of the sun. Most of you said, “What eclipse?” Now the entire country is gripped in captivity to a current fashion called “Eclipse Mania.” I might have had to find another reason to live until August 21 if it were not for Michael Angerman and his longstanding invitation to his home near the Line of Totality. So it has come to this. Rain or shine, I shall be in Corvallis, Oregon, and a day early to avoid the onslaught of raucous eclipseites that Corvallis expects.
Nine hundred miles is a long way to drive for a two-minute moon-shadow that will darken the day, if it is not already darkened by clouds. So I will combine a projected end of life with and extension—a return to the north woods around Oakridge, Oregon, near Corvallis, to retrace treks of that 2011 winter shown in the remainder of this blog. I hope you will join me here and leave comments or responses to the email.
What follows in this blog post are memories of that winter adventure with hope that you will, as I, try to visualize summer transformations.
“Round and round and up and down we go again,” if you’re not too dizzy. If you’re ready for another string of emails and blog posts that attempt to suck you into another vortex of Shanronness and Chubby Checker.
You don’t have to buy the philosophy of going to a damp, whiskey-drenched, ex-logging town, but you can, I hope, enjoy the trip. Many of you have said to me things like, “The challenge of immensity and extremes bring out your best,” or “What will you do when all the world settles down?” I will spin tales about the good old days.
Above Oakridge, Highway 58 goes where the snow is eight feet deep. We headed up there—me, my little pickup, and my spirit. No one, to my knowledge, brought antique wooden Nordic skis from Norway and worked them in fresh snow far from the ticket-paying crowd—none but me. I brag about my skis because if you see me ski, there’s not much style to brag about.
We sang old timber songs back at Berkeley—forestry undergrads, filled with logging romance, believing we were stronger and smarter than those literature ninnies dabbling in “fuzzy studies.” We could handle cold, and would stand out there as though we had lived and worked and logged in wet so long that we were no longer capable of distinguishing it from dry. I’m a sissy today by comparison. And more of a sissy tomorrow.