Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall in the Valley

This is the Somass River, which flows through Port Alberni, roughly following the direction of Beaver Creek Road, where I live. The photo above was taken at Stamp Falls, one of my favorite places to go when the wilderness calls to me. It is a favorite haunt of my grizzled old wolf-dog's as well. Stamp Falls is where the annual salmon migration takes place, the fish gathering in a pool below the falls to rest before their difficult leap up the rocky falls, or through the manmade fish ladder to the right. They make their journey all through September, while the leaves are turning, with some lagabouts still leaping through October.

These are colors beginning to transform this town. Along all the rivers, beside the lake, out all the highways and byways, slowly the oranges and dull oranges and browns - and some vivid reds and yellows - are smattering the landscapes with vibrant fall colors.

This river winds alongside the highway to Tofino, up and over the summit to the wild shores of Clayoquot Sound. Each fall, I gather myself up for a trip through those mountains, knowing the colorful display that awaits me all through the mountain pass. One day in October, it will be time to make this journey, before the winter rains hit and the pass becomes too treacherous for me to travel.

In October, pumpkin faces often line the roadways, sitting grinning off to the side atop rock ledges, or nestled at the foot of cliffs or trees. It is so cute to see them staring in the windshield as I pass, no trace of the humans who left them there for our delight. After Hallowe'en their numbers increase exponentially, so there are hundreds of them lining all the roadways heading out of town.

The mornings have been foggy, since the afternoons have been so warm. But by 11 a.m. the fog will have lifted off and another crisp warm autumn afternoon will be ours to enjoy. We get a lot of fog in Port, given our bowl-shaped valley, and there is a gray that settles in in October, not to lift until April. This morning's fog is temporary, but is a precursor to the longer gray pall which will soon settle upon us. Today we must enjoy the respite; these days are few and precious.

Last night I watched perhaps some of the finest acting I have ever seen: Vanessa Redgrave in the old movie Playing For Time, about a group of musicians playing for the Nazi officers in a concentration camp, literally playing to stay alive as everyone died around them. Vanessa gave it everything she had. She showed on her face the crisis of conscience her character went through in this situation. The events of the concentration camp were very realistically portrayed and it was a rivetting movie in every way. Wow.

Now I have Abigail Washburn and the Four Sparrow Quartet on the stereo - Appalachian picking music, fascinating and energizing - and am about to start some laundry and clean this house. It feels good to be feeling strong enough for this after a week of crisis and shock. Day by day, one does what must be done, and moves through the various crises, sorrows and joys of living.

Life does, indeed, go on.


  1. I like getting more of a sense of who you are day by day, not the poet only. Joy to read about your Northwestern Fall. I remember Playing for Time well, a truly superb and compelling film. I'm glad you are feeling returning strength after a traumatic week.

  2. Beautiful fall! In words and pictures! Glad your spirit is a bit refreshed.

  3. Colors of the fall! Lovely, lovely feel


    pass to 1 to 10 friends..
    Happy Weekend!

  5. I love the stunning colors of autumn!


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