Saturday, April 25, 2018
At The Glide Wildflowers Show 2018
I see already I have the wrong date on the video, but there’s no going back now. Only the geekiest of historians will ever notice that Saturday at the end of April in 2018 fell on April 25.
Time for the Jensens Spring Getaway
We stayed at one of our favorite retreats, Steamboat Inn. Early in the morning, a little after six, we sat drinking coffee in front of the gas fire, looking out at the pale, green light slowly filling up the river canyon not far below our cabin deck. We had only been here in November at Thanksgiving,
so rediscovering the river valley along Highway 138 and before that, the North Bank Road, was a revelation in Spring 2018.
Most noticeable was Oregon’s characteristic green – the open oak savannas are emerald as in Emerald Valley green – sweeping up the rolling hills to oak groves and lava outcroppings, and then down on the other side to the North Umpqua River.
The meadows are spread thick with golden yellow buttercups, and the ditches and fence lines run white with the endemic white camas.
As we entered the luminous green of the canyon, the white flames of the dogwood trees lit up the riparian forest on both sides. Dogwood trees are in bloom over our deck, and my photographs from yesterday evening remind me as I have not been reminded in years, of how
every blossom on every branch arranges itself like an Asian calligraphic masterwork, black stems like painted character marks against that glowing green background.
We traveled in alternating storm and light. The rain would pommel us into obliteration if it could, the windshield wipers working furiously against the bathtub of water being up-ended over the Subaru Forester.
Then a hill would light up like a green candle where the sun started to emerge over the last hunched shoulder of a raincloud;
the cell would move on down the valley, leaving us driving through a landscape of sparkles and rainbows, the green almost impossible to believe, the yellow sweeps like the flashing heads of yellow-headed blackbirds.
At the Narrows, we found purple larkspur all over the hillside above the big curving bend of the fast flowing river where it rushes into that vast, still punchbowl, circles in jade then runs west again toward Glide.
The Glide Wildflowers Show itself was much like the one here in Eugene at Mount Pisgah the last weekend in May every year, but without all the food booths, information and product kiosks. At Glide, they use the community center to lay out rows of tables with plants organized by family. Many of the flowers are in colored glass or antique vases, others are planted in plates, trays, or in little arranged settings.
Ken Corloni, a botany instructor at Umpqua Community College, was there with a squadron of students in a flying wedge behind him as he identified unique characteristics and told bio-stories about the plants. My husband, Peter, hung out with them, soaking it all up and filling pages of his journal with factoids, which he immediately turned into poems.
Meanwhile, I had my Lensbaby Velvet 56 on my Olympus OMDEM-5 micro 4/3rds camera, photographing as many flowers as I could. I abandoned the tripod right away as too cumbersome and hand held the camera, but I had had a big arm work out the day before, and my hands and arms went into shake easily. However, I persisted, trying to keep all of
my teacher Kathleen Clemon‘s good advice in mind:
- don’t visually cut off the tips of petals;
- no color blobs;
- selectively focus on the nearest element…
but really, the advice drifted in and out of my mind, and I’d have to catch myself.
The primary focus of my attention is always first composition and second, focus, especially with the hand focused LensBabies. The day before, I had my 300 mm on and was startled by auto focus; it had been so long since I had used it. It seemed like cheating!
The wonders of the weekend went on and on. I have no final words unless it is once I again I feel
I walk in wonder feeling nothing but gratitude for living my life in the Pacific Northwest bioregion.