Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
an amber sun bathed the gorge in a blanket of light. the warmth felt like arriving home. i don't think i've ever felt such a sense of belonging in a place i had never been before. perhaps i felt entitled after a long journey. but, it was a powerful scene: with the light caressing every nubby fold of the trees, cascading over rocks, down waterfalls, and finally landing upon shimmering water of the columbia river. the setting was doubled in the river's reflection. driving in on i-84's home stretch with the setting sun was like existing inside a watercolor painting that included mirrors and light. it's rare to feel so overpowered by beauty.
my feelings of sheer elation where a product of two combining factors: approaching a long journey's end plus the majesty of oregon's scenery. yet what i felt was a mere drop compared to the well of relief and joy those raggid pioneers must have experienced upon reaching this very destination. i can only imagine their solace. i saw the terrain they traveled, trust me - it's brutal.
i don't think i ever made it to this point in that damn game - my party having been offed long before. undergoing a watered down version of the real thing was way better than any computer game. we didn't have to trade for supplies, fight off snakes, angry natives, or measles. however, seeing the whole of the country in 4 days puts things in perspective. after traveling the modern oregon trail i can say one thing resolutely: oregon, i'm home.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
living in a place, leaving it, then coming back after a couple years conjures some interesting feelings in a person. its like being in an all-consuming state of nostalgia; comforted by everything unchanged you are frolicking in a happy time warp. but then you see all that has been altered. suddenly the place feels surreal and strange. its as if aliens, or giant invisible people came and rearranged your world a little bit while you where sleeping. then it hits you: life carries on as usual without your presence. a fact that uncomfortably challenges our ego-centric view of the world: "oh, you mean all this exists without me here to watch?"
this might seem obvious to some, but while exploring one of my old haunts: jackson hole, wyoming, i was finally able to put my finger on why it feels so weird to return to places we once lived.
they didn't consult with me when they decided to shut down one of the best italian restaurants west of the mississippi, nor when they closed down the health food store with the best granola and salad bar in the world. obviously they needed 503 shops that sell crap to tourists instead of 501. anyway, jackson hole, its good to be back. glad things haven't changed too much, after all, you'll always have those tetons.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
the scope of geographical diversity our great nation is beholden to is something that makes me tingle when i really start thinking about it. rolling hills, mountains, coasts, deserts - we've got it all. things are entertaining, even inspiring, and then... you hit nebraska. like a forgotten middle child, home-schooled its whole life, looking for a friend, it won't leave your side now that it has you in it's realm. poor thing. so you sit with it for a while, but eventually succumb to sleepiness. you can't keep pretending to be interested with it's stories anymore... this is where i peacefully existed until suddenly i awoke to an ominous thud. my eyes open just in time to see the facial expression of a bird that has hit the windshield. in what seemed like slow motion, the carcass slid off only to second the thud as it ricocheted off our roof storage compartment. great. as if i didn't feel bad enough about my impact on nature and the environment. good thing we "offset" our road trip's carbon emissions by purchasing carbon neutral credits: the equivalent to a catholic's ability to by indulgences for inevitable sins. (we payed for our eco-sins via the carbon fund)
suddenly feeling wide awake and sufficiently icky, i return my gaze to the unchanging landscape and realize middle america is like a land before time: its dinosaurs are giant billboards that read: "porn kills - jesus saves! " "support our troops! " this gets one thinking: if porn kills, then what are the hell are the troops doing? i get annoyed. really nebraska, who asked you? but at least we aren't driving through missouri this time. those billboards of giant aborted alien-esqu fetuses really get to me.
Monday, May 18, 2009
its not quite 11 am on the 2nd day of travel as we glide across a bridge connecting two sides of a nation. looking down, the mississippi river appears calm and tranquil in its blue. the friendly green of plants hug its bank.
my mind flickers to an image of a blocky, pixelated conestoga capsizing. its contents spilling out. sad defeating music chirps. the names of fellow 4th grade classmates appear on a rock. clearly the fiord options was incorrect. especially after shooting down that bison. this game is over.
to say that those traveling the real oregon trail struggled is, at the very least, an understatement. yet we just zoomed right over this massive river, effortlessly leaving chicago and the east behind. this modern journey on the oregon trail will thankfully be less eventful than the game appeared. we will not need to restock ammunition in order to pursue shoot out with a squirrel. there is an abundance of subways. jared's gleaming face reluctantly awaits at every exit.
instead of dysentery or typhoid our biggest challenge is consciousness. for this, we ration several gallons of coffee, a staple of adderall, and a bushel of books on tape. i am now wondering what my pioneer ancestors would have thought about the ability to cross the nation in a matter of 3 and a half days. the idea as foreign and ridiculous as jetting your own spacecraft to one of jupiter's galilean moons for a weekend getaway. i hear the space golf and anti-gravitational facials are great there.
in the here and now our path intertwines with the historic trail. cruise control on, staring out the window, i settle down to view america: the middle part...
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
View Larger Map
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
i like succulents. they were all over the place in santa barbara. seeing this polaroid and sketch from sb is inspiring me to plant a little succulent garden. this might work well since you don't have to water them with regularity- its called drought proof, or neglectful owner proof. my kind of plant.
emily cobb succulent sketch, colored pencil on paper 12x9"