Monday, July 5, 2010

Oregon - Part 1

The aroma of corn tortillas fresh off the griddle filled the air around the warm rocks that rose jaggedly above the Crooked River. No brown-skinned woman was bending over a fire anywhere in the vicinity, but my grandchildren were wading in the shallows, above which billows of lacy white flowers swayed in the wind that puffed through the canyon. I put my nose in the flower clouds and sniffed; the delicious smell was coming from them, pictured here with wild roses.

It was just one of many richly faceted scenes from the last week, which B. and I spent with several of our children and grandchildren in ever-changing groupings as individuals came and went as they were able. Oldest daughter whom I will nickname Pearl, and her husband and four frisky kids (who often are also lambs) flew from the East and rented a house big enough for a passel of kin, in central Oregon.

During the week at any given moment you might have found two or three, or nine or eleven, GJ relations lying on couches or in beds reading, or learning from Grandpa how to play cribbage, flipping pancakes for the whole hungry tribe, or bicycling around the neighborhood that was vast and strangely accessible for being strange. The older children could ride to the store for a gallon of milk and take the opportunity to pick up a bag of candy, too.

This is a high and dry country, so our vacation house sat at around 4500 feet elevation. The spectacular Smith Rock was not far away, where I enjoyed the flowers like this blue flax, and white yarrow, while several of our boy-and-menfolk hiked a figure 8 up and around the rocks and got views of a string of long-spent volcanic peaks, usually with lots of snow still frosting at least the tops, up and down the Cascade Range.

I'm pretty certain that the aromatic flowers were of Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum, in the carrot family, of which the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture says, "Several deaths of livestock and humans are attributed each year to this species."

To be continued. 


Pom Pom said...

Oh, Oregon. She is so lovely.
I love hearing about your family gatherings, GJ!

Janet said...

Lovely pics. Sounds like a wonderful time... My father has always been a big cribbage player, so I'm glad to hear of a new generation of players in the making.

magsmcc said...

You know, Gretchen Joanna, I marvel at your blog! And every time I sit here and savour your words my courage fails to tell you that I'm just a fledgling reader of Kierkegaard but an avid one nonetheless and as I read on to discover the truth it is a little like reading on through your ownwisdom and beauty!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

This sounds like such a lovely vacation! I'm so happy to hear you're having this time with your family. Enjoy!


Rose said...

Oh, what pretty pictures! Now I'm going to have to keep an eye out for the tortilla flowers so I can smell for myself.

GretchenJoanna said...

magsmcc, I never progressed beyond the fledgling stage myself, so if that book I see pictured on your sidebar is good for us beginners, I might just order one.