Saturday, October 18, 2008


He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
that was sharpish and bossy.
"Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs"-
he was very upset as he shouted and puffed-
"What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"

We were deep, deep in the South.

Now, I don't mean "South," like Dixie and bass fishing. No, I mean the South county. Clackamas County, which in some ways is very much like Dixie. Deep into the wily reaches, we roamed, away from the private lake and the interstate. Away from the Urban Growth Boundary. Away from civilization.

Sure, there were roads there, and stores and schools. However, the proliferation of churches and McCain signs was making me uneasy. Farmsteads were surrounded by barbed wire. Old tire-less cars sat rusting in front yards. Pickup trucks ranged over the roads.

More than once, I considered removing the Obama magnet from the back of my car. I mean, I was alone in the car with my friend JB and neither of us were wearing cowboy hats. Neither of us smelled of cow shit, and neither of us had married our own sisters.

Let's just say, we didn't blend in...

But, we were on a safari, and we followed our spirit of adventure. It was a beautiful blue October afternoon, and we were out to shoot photos of whatever we could find.

Unfortunately, in South Clackamas County, apparently, the only thing to be found was Christmas tree farms and cows. Neither of which offered a wealth of photographic opportunity.

We stopped and stomped around the clackamas river. JB picked up a nice shot of a blue heron.

I, on the other hand, didn't fare as well.

Then, we drove on. Searching, scanning, seeking something worthy of investigation.

Then, just past the tiny town of Liberal, Oregon, we found it. A field? A forest? Acres for sure. Many many many acres of trees. Oh, but not just any trees. No, these came straight out of a Dr. Seuss story book.

The Lorax, for instance, came immediately to mind.

It was unearthly. Unnatural. We skidded to stop, and careened up the tiny dirt access road. Sure it was probably trespassing, but then, were weren't exactly dressed like Topiary burglars.

Although, on second thought, how exactly would a topiary burglar be dressed??

It was mesmerizing. Not even Seuss himself could have described a stranger place. No two trees were the same. Each one, and there were thousands, had to have been hand trimmed, meticulously carved into unique shapes.

Was this perhaps the true home of the real-life Edward Scissor Hands?

We both bolted from the car, cameras in hand, and started to blaze away. The sun was getting low, and the shadows were deep. Still, there was enough there to shoot until nightfall.

Unfortunately, though, we didn't have all the time in the world, and I was getting thirsty...

And so, we moved on, found some food and a couple of G&Ts, and pondered the meaning of the trees.

I never actually spotted the Lorax, but if he exists, I know now where to find him...


  1. Lucky Red8:43 AM

    Go back at Christmas time and see if they are decorated and little Whos are singing "welcome welcome Zah-who-dor-ray..." nice shots -freakishly good photos...

  2. This went a different direction than I expected. As a younger man I would go on similar adventures, but not looking for trees nor truffles, but the prized Clackamas County Panaeolus subbalteatus.

    And wherever we found those… the Lorax was always near by.

  3. Yes, we found one of those too. Purple? Kinda shiny?

  4. Yummy! Did you pre-book your suite at OHSU?

  5. you know how I know you are gay...

  6. ...because you've seen his penis?

  7. I am surprised to see in rural Oregon many Obama signs. At the Obama GOTV training at my house last Sunday, an elderly man pulled up, wearing a big cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a belt buckle the size of a knuckle sandwich. I thought he was stopping to complain about all the cars parked on the road. He came to say hello and pick up a walk packet. He did not have time to stay for the meeting, but he was nice and he never thought he'd every be supporting a candidate named Barack Hussein Obama. But he was a thoughful man and decided it was best for his grandkids to support Obama.


Be compelling.

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