Friday, December 8, 2006

the Last Miners of Opal Creek

I think I'm getting the hang of this.

This image is another in a series of 10 I will be posting in the next few days, taken late this summer and fall at Opal Creek.

Opal Creek (for those of you outside Oregon) is a clear mountain stream that winds and cascades its way though an heavily forested, exquisite valley comprising more than 30,000 acres of low elevation, temperate old growth douglas fir, hemlock and cedar. A very, very special place. A place I am intensely proud to have had a hand in saving.

A place where the water is as pure as any on earth. Waterfalls and solitude. The place where my daughter was born and raised the first year of her oh-so-wonderful life. That place has a lot to do with who she is today and with who she will become. I find it interesting that she was one of three baby girls born in the Little North Fork of the Santiam River canyon that year. The mothers of all three girls were intricately interwoven members of the Opal Creek community.

I like being able to say that my daughter was born next to the river, under the full moon, nursed her first day by a host of wonderful, beautiful godmothers and raised in a hidden, forested valley by a band of cranky old miners.

In fact, those miners were the Last Miners of Opal Creek. It was on their watch that the momentum to save Oregon's Uncut Gem turned the corner and ended any future threat from logging. And their positions were made possible by the work of the miners before them. There is a proud community of men and women, an historical association of good folks, who all were given the gift of living there, working and loving there. Many babies were conceived and raised there.

The mountain's spirit can be... well... a bit on the old-man coyote side of humorous.

My daughter was there this year on her 15th birthday.

May she visit it still when she is my age... and may I spend many more birthdays there with her...

... sigh...

More later.

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