Posts Tagged ‘damage


What is this?

In Portland, this Spring, we have had heavy rains and warmer temps. The roses, in our garden, look quite stressed. Some rose buds have the “balling” signs (thick, gluey outer coating stopping the rose from opening). This bud had the moss like growths popping out from the base of the frustrated petals. I have never seen this before. Warmer, drier weather has arrived for a bit, so I hope this remedies what ails them.


battered & broken…

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Cascades-old snag-Oregon-SwittersB


Heed the warnings……


A few years ago, I wrote about Moles & Malignant Melanoma in response to the abuse of my skin from too much sun and tanning beds in the old days. I have consistently cut back on intense sun exposure. I rarely lay in the sun and take the expected precautions with sunscreen, clothing and head gear. Yet, recently I had unusual skin activity on my forehead, nose and neck. The spot on the neck was most troublesome in appearance and irritation. Today, I visited the dermatologist and in short order, after a full body once over, the can of liquid nitrogen was produced and without much fanfare he commenced to freeze (‘burn’!) two spots on my forehead (previously frozen), two spots on my nose and one on my clavicle (this one was/is troublesome). My face and adjacent area suitably on fire, the doctor proceeded to warn me, yet again, to take better care of my self. 

‘beware the Ides of March.’ Shakespeare, 1599 (Julius Caesar)

Vanity, foolishness, just plain carelessness are my standards of skin care. The doctor joked, as he froze the spots, that he hoped I didn’t have any photo shoots/family portraits coming up in the next few weeks (the spots take 2-4 weeks to heal). The pre-cancerous cells are usually/eventually replaced with newer, healthier cells. I must, you must, do better in the great outdoors!

The doctor remarked that my problems were not just from some recent activities, but rather from a lifetime of recreating in the sun. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.



“The soul’s dark cottage, battered and decayed,

Lets in new light through chinks that time has made.

Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,

As they draw near to their eternal home.”

Edmund Waller, 1672

battered roses, SwittersB

battered roses, SwittersB


under siege….

aphids, roses, pest, gardening, photo, SwittersB

Little Bastarditos!!!


Columbus Day Storm, 1962…Portland, Oregon

I recall no warning. In those days, we were not glued to techno notifications. My Mom was making dinner, my Dad was at work. The boys in the neighborhood were outside playing football after school. I remember where I was in the back yard. The sky took on an odd yellow, green, purple color. The winds picked up. As we threw the football, the pressure change is etched in my mind. Almost instantly, it seemed, a powerful wind unlike any other I have experienced in life, literally seemed to suck shingles off roofs and hold them in the air. Mothers came out of back doors and yelled for their children to come indoors.

Jacobs Ladder

Unearthly rays emanating from the point opposite the setting sun half hour before storm of Oct. 12, 1962 hit. Weather Bureau explains these as “Crepuscular rays, caused by sun shining through breaks in clouds, illuminating dust particles in air.” Similar phenomenon is sometimes called “Jacob’s Ladder,” because it seems to come down from heaven. Picture was taken by Mrs. Charles W. Myers from her room on top floor of Park Plaza, 1929 S.W. Park Ave. 4:40 P.M.

There was a sense of urgency. Perhaps something was being mentioned on radios playing in the house. I don’t know. Dads came home. Suddenly we were in the basement. To this day, I can’t imagine how my parents knew beyond their prior rural lives in Wisconsin or West Virginia. And for the next 15 hours we hunkered in the basement, beneath the stairs, in the dark as a roar went on and on. I recall my Dad venturing up the stairs, only briefly, and retreating beneath the stairs. The three of us, sat leaning back against the wall and listened to what had to be the world ending. I was 14 (yes I am that old!) and I still remember wondering what the neighborhood would look like when the dark went away. 


This was a familiar find in the morning, in our neighborhood. Not only were all the trees blown over, almost every one lost their chimney. I recall the sound of our chimney toppling over and hitting the driveway above us.

I know tornadoes and hurricanes and typhoons ravage regions often. But, in the Pacific NW, this is still the storm all other storms are measured by in this region and it still reigns supreme 52 years later! The winds gusts, sustained winds at times, hit 117 mph that night in Portland, as much as 179 mph on the Oregon Coast (Cape Blanco). Every tree along our street was laying this way and that in the morning. Dozens of Birch and Maple trees crisscrossed the street, wires down, and most amazing to me then, the sun shined bright. Men took saws and axes to try and clear the street. No one had a chain saw. None of those trees were ever replaced to this day.

Columbus Day 1 docudharma

In the end, 46 people died. By today’s monetary standards, the storm damage runs to $3-4 billion dollars in damage. Enough trees to build 1,ooo,ooo million homes were destroyed from the Pacific ocean shore as far as Montana…15 billion board feet of timber. Nothing has since equaled it in this region, let alone much of the country. 


Destiny…ignoring the signs

I  had control of the reflections…I was oblivious to the winds coming my way…the reflections became fractured, broken, confusing…calamity ensued…now what?

Actually, I propped an old mirror up against a fence, outside. Unusually strong East winds hit the area. I had seen the forecast and high wind advisory. The winds came right up against that slatted fence and smash, down went the large mirror. Bad luck, I’d say by the morning light! Now I have a mess to clean up. Typical!

cracked mirror-wind-photography-Switters


Things You Don’t Notice

Two dogs and two cats use this spot to view the world. They especially use it watching for the return of ‘family’ members. ‘When will they be home…I’m hungry’. Cat’s swiping claws and the dog’s sniffing noses have played havoc upon the screen. 



Double Barreled Tree Danger

photography-beaver-ivy-damage-nature-tree-swittersbThe Beaver & English Ivy

The Portland Metro area has pods of English Ivy, a very invasive vine that eventually smothers the host tree. Many volunteers attack the vine in the forests such as in the above image. This habitat area is managed by volunteers, who come in to remove the vine. Unfortunately for this young, Alder tree the Beaver has other ideas for its future.

“Like other exotic species, Ivy has predominantly been spread to areas by human action. H. helix is labeled as an invasive species in many parts of the United States, and its sale or import is banned in the state of Oregon.” (more)


Nature: Levels of Change

The ebb and flow of rivers is always a visible reminder to a fisherman walking the river banks or drifting the currents. Etched into the banks are indications of water levels, swift currents and the aftermath of what must have been frightening power. Snapped trees, giant boulders displaced, brush piles of debris high in the tree limbs all suggest river levels many feet higher than the current levels.

Levels of Change TM SwittersB

The lower Sandy River (Oregon) after flood stage levels & snapped trees. Soon the trunks of the damaged trees will be undercut, dislodged and wash down river to be snagged up or eventually be pushed out into the mighty Columbia River.

Speaking of flood, I thought this quote by Walt Whitman about his flood of thoughts while writing was intriguing:

“The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.”

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July 2020

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