Dry side, wet side:
Washington’s two faces.
Lush, spare, dim, bright.
In two hours you can change sides, be
The wet side:
Seattle techies huddle over their devices,
abundant rain permanently greens the land
and skies are often moody.
The dry side:
cattle and crops settle
into a spacious landscape of pale-hued,
Last weekend we sped up through Snoqualmie Pass to the dry side,
alert with anticipation:
new places, open spaces.
The Columbia River:
big hunk of water
set down among towering basalt cliffs.
at sixty miles an hour.
A dam on the Columbia River created it. Setting disagreements with damming practices aside,
Even the details of odd patterns in the rocks fascinate us:
Only an hour off the Pass, and
we’re already transformed.
Looking back north, the Vantage Bridge begins to fade.
The Columbia Plateau.
Sprinkled with thousands of lakes, the land
attracts water birds, the
birds attract birders,
and I am not exempt.
Great egrets, check. A pelican, too. But where are my wished for
American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt? Oh well.
The landscape is its own reward.
Late spring wildflowers
and wide open vistas:
A delicate beauty, the Sagebrush Mariposa lily
consorts with big sage among
Sun lover, it beams.
In harsh desert light
lilies almost hide.
Like so many wildflowers, it’s bloom is early this year.
Along Lower Crab Creek, just above the Saddle Mountains.
to the ground.
Lower Crab Creek spills into wetlands, painting the dry land with new colors.
Jubilant Spring growth is softened by somber, gray-green pillows of
fragrant big sage,
with side-notes of deep orange and gold grasses
already gone to seed.
Big sage sleeps.
Yellow dandelion-like flower yesterday,
fuzzed ball of feathered parachutes today.
Fresh breeze makes quick work of the seeds.
When the wind is too strong for photography, and the light is too harsh
(as it was last weekend in the desert),
take your pictures anyway.
Go with it.
Let the grasses blur and shimmer as they will,
press the shutter,
and breathe deeply.
Their furrowed slope eases down into sage and grass,
through ancient lands shaped by fire and flood.
Look hard –
see the lilies dotting the field;
they’re blooming in the middle of the old sage, too.
If you come back, it will still be good here.
This sparse place minds its business,
sucks down what rain it can,
bakes in the sunlight. It sings
the old, high-pitched,
of desert silence.