When Charlie and I first discussed plans for our honeymoon, I said I would love to go white water rafting on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. This discussion took place two years before our wedding and demonstrates that a woman overcome with hormones will say almost anything. The one time that I had gone white water rafting with Charlie and the kids, the photo taken in the biggest plunge doesn’t show me. That is because I had flung myself onto the bottom of the raft.
So I proposed that we spend a week in a small cottage on the McKenzie River in Central Oregon. That way we at least were next to, if not on, a river. We rented a small unit next to the river and spent a week exploring and reading, him doing more of the first and me doing more of the second. At one point we drove through the McKenzie Pass into central Oregon. By the middle of June, the Pass was opened for the first time of the year, having been closed for snow until then. The week was lovely, full of rest, recreation, good food and gorgeous surroundings.
This week fire destroyed both sides of the McKenzie River, taking out several small towns, restaurants and places to stay and camp along its banks. It will never recover. I feel a physical ache when I think about Oregon and the destruction that drought, wind, fire and climate change have produced. Ignore the debate still senselessly going on in my country about reality. One has only to look at the two photos to understand things have changed. Reality trumps unscientific blather every time.