by Verna Cole Mitchell
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Stately Douglas firs tower over us,
Wide limbs sweeping gracefully,
To line our way and lead us
From Washington to Oregon.
A lovely rainbow arching before us
Blots away the memory
Of raindrops, which both greeted us
And bade us good by in Seattle.
Speeding clouds rush by us on their northward race.
Large piles of oyster shells lie down beside their beds.
Long trucks loaded with logs slow hurrying traffic
To the pace of a creeping turtle.
We pass beautiful bays surrounded by firs,
Wide rivers with fishermen hauling in lines,
Sloughs of mud with an occasional rivulet,
And an olive ocean frantically waving white caps.
Riverside houses sit tall on stilts at Seaside,
Where there is a citizenry of small craft.
The sun pushes through the clouds to gild the water
And glints through aspen trees to dapple the road.
Fickle clouds and sun rays at Cannon Beach
Flirt shamelessly with Haystack and Needle Rock.
Winding our way through the mountains,
We see hillside cattle grazing.
One lone horse, draped in a woolen coat,
Stands forlornly in a field of mud.
A covey of showers swarms over us,
Persistently pelting our windshield.
Huge rocks with a population of trees
Recline in the ocean at Garibaldi.
Slicker-clad fishermen huddle in rocking boats
Along the shoreline’s choppy waters.
On the Cape’s Scenic Drive
We watch some chubby clouds
Play hide-and-seek with the sun,
While breathtaking sights await us
Of ocean, sun, and estuary,
Framed by green foliage of trees.
In midday the sky ahead is night-dark
As we enter Suslaw National Forest.
From lofty branches of tall trees,
Fog rises like steam over a boiling kettle.
It hovers over us as we go downhill
To be met once more by the capricious sun.
Driftwood Beach has an ocean view
From atop a tall sand bluff,
And at Devils’ Churn beyond Yachats,
The waters twist and roil with demonic rage.
Traveling east along the Umpqua River,
We enter Crater Lake National Park.
The temperature keeps dropping
As we climb higher and higher.
Snow changes from a trace to a dusting
To snow banks piled by the sides of the road,
And we are suddenly hidden in a snowstorm.
Dense fog on the mountain disappoints
Till, like a shade that slowly rises at a window,
Crater Lake is made fully visible,
Wonderfully bluer than blue.
A huge puzzle piece of azure sky,
Bordered by fluffy white kitten clouds,
And one of an enormous gray elephant
Are mirrored in ripples upon the face of the lake.
Fields at Lava Lands are lumps of molten black,
Embroidered with purple flowers and yellow shrubs.
Inside butte-surrounded passes,
We imagine war-painted Indians,
Brandishing bows and arrows,
Ready to converge upon us momentarily.
In the Columbia River Gorge, rock cliffs,
Whose job it is to guard Willamette Valley,
Slide lazily down to the river.
An occasional splash of hardwood trees
With brightly colored leaves
Punctuates copses of evergreen trees.
At Fort Stevens outside Astoria,
A sturdy platform built over huge rocks
Is constantly under attack
From crashing ocean waves.
We speculate on exotic destinations
For ships that are ocean bound.
Showers and spray and gales of wind
Send us scurrying to seek shelter.
When we cross the Columbia River
To return to Washington,
We reflect on the inspiration to be found
In God’s designs in nature.
With the fog-veiled sun resembling a pale moon,
Our Oregon Trails’ long days are changed to night,
To be brought to daylight again
Within our memories.
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Beautiful words match a beautiful location. Stunning.
Very well done, and very discriptive. Though meself, living on the coast, I would have added tons more on the rain. You must have came in the summer month..
This was magnificent! After reading this, I'd like to get my poem back that I just entered into the challenge. I also want to go re-read your encouraging comments to me over the weeks. You are TRULY a very talented writer. You are so skilled at creating fresh word pictures. I've never been to Oregon, but now I feel a bit like I have. Imagine how treasured this would be to an elderly person from Oregon who can never return! The only critique I would make is a small one: 'goodbye' is one word. There, you have it! Sorry, but I am too humbled to give any more.
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