So mom finally passed about a month ago, (it's Sept, 2014 now) and the memorial is over, the family has gone home, and the local family has disappeared. That last isn't new. What we have now is an apartment full of someone's life. Their writings, letters, pictures, trinkets, and as a byproduct, their beliefs and aspirations. It seems horribly wrong to just throw it all away. This particular person lived an amazing and full life. She grew up in a time and place that most of us only hold in our dreams. It wasn't a good time. It was right after WWI, it was in poverty stricken Iran, and it was missionaries in the land of tribes. She called them the firebrand people. She was so disappointed when the first and second Bush administrations attacked these people.
She said then that, "These people live to fight. It is how they are. They've been that way for 10,000 years and they will never change. By going there we have embroiled ourselves in a never ending war. A war that cannot be won - only fought." She called this period in history, the "Pax Americana", after the Pax Romana, the "Peace of Rome", which is the time when Jesus lived.
When she was 13 years old, her parents were called back from Iran. It was 1936 and they were traveling through Germany, Berlin to be exact. The closing ceremonies of the Olympics were to occur on that particular day. Her father garnered entrance to the stadium at the last minute by bribing a guard. She was present when Hitler gave the first televised speech. Her ride across the Atlantic was accompanied by the threat of sinking by German U-Boats. Three days after arriving in New York the Germans attacked Poland.
That is a snippet from a life that was well lived by a woman of character, intelligence, and humility. She wasn't perfect. But she had a mind that had a memory beyond anyone I've ever met. She remembered poems she read once, when she was 12 years old. Truly it must have been tough to have been married to her because she was someone who would never forget. She had forgiveness though, and she loved her man right to her very last breath.
Many of us had heard that the Aurora Borealis, that light show of the northern gods, was going to be visible from Portland on the night of Friday, September 12, 2014. I even got a picture of it, but not the way I thought I would. Figuring that I'd quietly sneak out to the seclusion of the Vista House, a large round stone building that sits atop a lofty basalt arm that juts out from the wall of the Columbia Gorge along the northern state line of Oregon, it was an idea shared with thousands of other Portlandians. It was fun. There's nothing like a breezy (blowy) warm night in the harvest season.
Instead of sneaking to seclusion, I was burning gas on the road to Historic Highway 30 as I waited in line to make the turn east towards what turned out to be a lot of taillights. People sauntering down the highway with their strollers and love companions. It was warm and windy and certainly one of those many moments you get to enjoy in the Portland Metro area. However, I was looking for seclusion and all the headlights and flashlights were going to play havoc with my photography. So I moved east in hopes of finding a spot, took a number of images at Multnomah Falls, snapped a few stars, and headed back. I stopped briefly at the parking lot for Multnomah Falls that is out by the Highway and then headed home. It's there that I took the surprise photo.
When I awoke I reviewed the pictures and found one with an odd green smudge to the left of the moon. I had panned to the right a bit for my next shot and the smudge moved nearly out of view. That's when I realized that the show had been there, but the lights and bright half moon were just too much for it. The only way to view it was with a time laps of about 30 seconds!
Maybe next year. It was fun to get out with 10,000 other folks! We bee-hived the side of the gorge for nearly 4-hours! The great folks that live out there in Corbett must think we're nuts. They might be right.