Tuesday, October 23, 2012

mind the gap

This month was the 50th anniversary of Oregon's largest wind storm.  What we called the Big Blow.

My brother and I were 11 and 13.  With trees falling and electrical lines snapping, my mother and the two of us wandered around the neighborhood to see what hath wind wrought.

Stephanie, the neighbor girl who lived across the street, reminded me of our crazy Cotton family outing when I stayed in place last year for hurricane Jova. 

Almost exactly a year ago.  (reporting for duty)

You may recall our area did not suffer much wind damage from Jova, but there was plenty of flooding.

What appeared to be a well-constructed bypass highway had recently opened on the outskirts of town.  I say "appeared to be" because in two places, where the road bridged local dirt paths, the bridges had been knocked from their footings  causing them to drop several inches.  

The flood water rushing down the dirt paths was that strong.

Last week on my ATV adventure with Ray we drove by the construction site.  I didn't have time to take any photographs.  So, I wandered out there yesterday to take a look.

The two bridges have been demolished and the road crews have started anew.  The fact that it has taken a year to get the bridges in place is a good indication that the road was not a priority, it presented a difficult engineering problem, or both. 

The farmers around here need roads to get their goods to market.  And the politicians are sensitive not to upset them.

After looking at the amount of rebar and concrete going into each bridge, I suspect there is a massive hole somewhere in Mexico where a large building is supposed to be.

Look at how densely packed the rebar is.  And how much concrete has already been poured into the footings.  I suspect each bridge could withstand a full force tsunami.

I had forgotten how much there is to see on that stretch of road.  It runs through miles of mango orchards.  And there is plenty of wildlife to see.  Unfortunately, much of it as road kill. 

I took the most detailed photograph of a gray fox I have ever captured.  But I will save some of your sensitivity by not posting it.

Dead mammals are easy to shoot.  Butterflies not so much.

I have never had much luck with butterflies.  They move quickly.  By the time I can get focused, the subject is gone. 

And today was not an ideal day.  The breeze was a relief from the heat.  But it pushed both butterflies and flowers in unpredictable loops.

Of all my shots, only two are even recognizable as butterfly shots.  And both are blurry and noisy.  Unfortunately, I do not know the identify of either butterfly.

But here they are.  Number one.

And number two.

The nice thing about having the road closed to other than local traffic is that it is easy to stop by the road and admire the narrow alluvial plains that support the farmers in this area.

And also lets me enjoy nature -- even when I am not on an ATV.


NW said...

Ahhh, a breath of fresh air after yesterday's dive in to the political dumpster. Thank you for the pics, i wish you had added the fox though.

Steve Cotton said...

I was thinking of using it as a banner for a new blog.  Dedd Foxx.  But I could probably write the cease and desist letter myself.

NW said...

would make a better coffee table book than one about coffee tables.

Mcotton said...

Beautiful Butterflies.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks.  I need a better camera to do them justice.  After all, unlike you, I do not have quail in my garden each morning as do you.

Steve Cotton said...

Road Kill.  Haute Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest.

NW said...

I have a picture of a neighbors cat that would be perrrrrrrfect for a layout. The unfortunate little fellow was under the garbage truck.

Steve Cotton said...

 From dust to -- dustbin.

norm said...

I'll bite on the rebar: The causeway is sand, shifty stuff, water pushes sand like it is trained to do so. They are building a dam of sorts to keep  the water away from the sand. The oversize footers are below the water flow line. It looks like there is no bedrock to plant the "dam" on so they are going with ballast. Plan B always costs more. 

Steve Cotton said...

 We will undoubtedly find out in next year's rain.  Or maybe we will have an earthquake to give it a tremor test.