I was a bit worried, all those years ago, about the horses.
I was 12, and my friend had convinced me to join her on the youth trail ride held every June by the Baker County Mounted Posse.
She’d been around horses, and I had not. Yes — even growing up in
rural Eastern Oregon I hadn’t really sat astride a horse, except for a
certain bareback experience I won’t relate here. Let’s just say my
cousin still laughs about that wild ride through her field.
Baker City officials are kicking around the idea of what constitutes the character of the city’s neighborhoods.
And by character they don’t mean whether the streets are smooth or
the sewer pipes flow unimpeded or the fire trucks can get through the
alleys, which are the sorts of things I expect cities to fret about.
It must have been quite the gale that blustered through the forests near Elk Creek.
I wish I had seen it happen, as I am fascinated by all manner of meteorological spectacles.
Although probably it’s better for me, and in particular for my skull, that both of us missed this particular show. A windstorm in the woods is an event best viewed from the summit of a rocky peak or the middle of a meadow, but these sorts of treeless safe zones aren’t abundant around Elk Creek.
I first saw evidence of the prodigious gusts a few weeks ago. I was hiking the road that climbs from the Elk Creek ford to Old Auburn Reservoir (which these days rarely qualifies as much more than a snowmelt puddle).
How peculiar this past week has been, bringing such a prolonged patter of rain to the roofs of Baker City.
This is at least a pleasant sound. The soothing rhythm reminds me,
when I listen during that peacefully hazy period which precedes sleep,
of the trilling of a small stream heard through an open window.
Effective June 1, the Baker City Herald will change our publication
dates from five days to three days a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays. Our doors will continue to be open for business five days a
week, and we will continue to be a daily news organization, publishing
news to the Web every day at www.bakercityherald.com. But we won’t be
printing a newspaper on Tuesday or Thursday.
Reducing our publication frequency will not reduce our local news content.
It bothers me that Americans, acting on behalf of my country and
therefore on behalf of me, poured water in some people’s faces to try
to convince those people that they were drowning.
It bothers me, but I’m not sure it was a mistake.
My ambivalence stems largely from my inability to indulge in the
fantasy that waterboarding, or any of the other unpleasant
“interrogation techniques” my country has subjected certain people to
over the past several years, happened simply because George W. Bush and
Dick Cheney are dullards and bullies.
Tom McCall almost certainly would rank as the most beloved of Oregon’s 36 governors were a poll taken today.
But I harbor a special affinity for Oswald West.
He is not so well known as the flamboyant and ever-quotable McCall,
who in his most famous pronouncement encouraged people to visit Oregon
but admonished them to not even consider moving here.
I would like to hear a wolf howl from a dark glen in the deep woods rather than from the stereo speakers in my living room.
But I haven’t thought much about how many lambs or beef calves ought to be sacrificed to make this happen.
Nor have I considered who should suffer so that I might enjoy a brief, shivery thrill while sitting beside a campfire.
Listened to Bill O’Reilly give Europe a good verbal whipping two
nights in a row this week. I was at the same time entertained and
dismayed by his treatment of the continent.
I watch at least part of O’Reilly’s program most evenings. In the
main I enjoy the show, even when, as happens perhaps a third of the
time, I disagree with the host.
O’Reilly lambastes liberals often but he is no kept apologist for
the Republican Party. Media pundits sometimes describe O’Reilly as
though he were an ideological clone of Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck, but
I think such comparisons result from shoddy research rather than
piercing political insight.
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