The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Pacific Northwest

To Waken an Old Lady
By William Carlos Williams

Old age is
a flight of small
cheeping birds
bare trees
above a snow glaze.
Gaining and failing
they are buffeted
by a dark wind --
But what?
On harsh weedstalks
the flock has rested --
the snow
is covered with broken
seed husks
and the wind tempered
with a shrill
piping of plenty.


On Wednesday morning we progressed through Northern California into Oregon, watching a landscape of roadside cows and sunflowers with pink bushes in the highway meridian slowly give way to pine and spruce forest. By the time we could see Mt. Shasta towering over the road, the trees were taller than they grow in my part of the Mid-Atlantic. We drove along upper Route 5 through gorgeous, mountainous lake country, stopping to take photos of Black Butte (a dark volcanic cliff covered with small rocks that tumble regularly down the steep sides) and Mt. Shasta (snow-covered and gleaming against a painfully blue sky) at a rest stop in Weed, California -- possibly my favorite city name ever.

From there, after a thrilling *ahem* lunch at Taco Bell, we drove to Rogue Gorge, where volcanic activity over thousands of years carved caves and passages which now enclose a hidden river. We hiked from the 90-degree parking lot to the much cooler embankment where the river emerges churning from a cave, creating rainbows with the spray. From this lovely vista we went on to Crater Lake, housed in the collapsed cone of another volcano, with water that seems unnaturally blue, and astonishing promontories and rock formations ringing it. As we drove up to the rim to look down at Wizard Island and the Phantom Ship -- both creations of underground lava flows that pushed up rocks in the lake -- we saw snow on the ground sheltered by the trees from the July heat. So of course we had to get out and have a snowball fight.

After making several stops around the rim of Crater Lake to see the cliffs, the water, the chipmunks and the birds (including a turkey vulture), we drove alongside a churning river through deep woods for a long stretch until we got to Roseburg. Here we checked into one of the nicer roadside motels, took the kids swimming, cooked noodles in the microwave and downloaded nearly 100 pictures of scenery from the digital camera.

Phantom Ship, Crater Lake

My sons, 10 and 7, concocted this 'Mad Libs' out of a page in Off The Wall Mad Libs (underlined words filled in by them, spelling not corrected). It's practically fan fiction. *g* (Addendum: the ten year old would like me to point out that all spelling errors are the fault of the seven year old, and that he did not say "poopily" or anything like it. *ggg*)

Mad Libs: Elizabeth The First

Elizabeth, the Tudor Poop (noun) of England, was probably the gradest (superlative adjective) ruler the British ever had. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn. Later, Anne had her butt (noun) chopped off by Henry.

Elizabeth was born in 1533 and became queen when she was 2000 (number). She was a small (adjective) Protestant and persecuted the stinky (adjective) Catholics poopyly (adverb). In 1588, the American (nationality) Armada attacked England. But the British fleet, commanded by Shawn Bean (celebrity) and Vigo Mortnson (another celebrity), defeated them.

Elizabeth ruled for 45 years, and during her reign England prospered and produced Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, and Mommy (name of person). Elizabeth never married, which is why she is sometimes called the Stuppid (adjective) Queen.
Tags: trip west 03

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