Posted by: jsmcfadden | July 9, 2011

June trip North

Right after John was finished with the school year and report cards for his students, we headed to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

There are good reasons to drive a vacation instead of fly away far above the ground; here are a couple of them:

Those are the crags as you near Shasta Lake; these rock formations are in the Siskiyou Mountains which are ruggedly beautiful most any time of year; the crags can be difficult to spot while moving fast in a car. But when you do spot them, they completely take over your window and fill up your sky. 

This, of course, is Mt Shasta, but with way more snow than I recall seeing on her. And one of the few times her head isn’t covered in a veil of clouds, too.

We were in Oregon to see Brian, whose birthday had just occurred. We all went to see Henry IV at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the first time he had seen a play there.  After a couple of days in Southern Oregon, enjoying the putting course at the Running Y, we all drove up to Brian & Marie’s house in Portland for a dinner out and then the next morning John and I set out for Birch Bay, almost as far north in Washington as a person can go. Only a few more steps lands you in British Columbia!

On the border is a remarkable thing, unless you think all international relations are like Canada’s with the United States. Between the two nations’ customs checkpoints, where many nations might have barbed wire or heavily guarded crossings, is a park.

The Peace Arch is there, set up in 1914 to celebrate 100 years of peace between the British Commonwealth and the United States of America. There are posts in the ground on the side of the roadways which indicate the *real* border but somewhere under this arch you can stand in both countries at once. The wind is coming from the sea, to the left in this shot. Such a beautiful day, too, with the breeze unfurling both flags so we got post card shots! Up a slope on the right out of frame is the sculpture garden.

On the inside of the arch is this, which I found so moving  — how could you not, considering how few borders in our world are this open, safe and welcoming?

There’s a little garden  with a lovely huge bed of calla lilies near a broad tree just to the west of the arch — I’ll show you later — that was planted through the donations of high school students.

There are sculptures in many places. This one is made from brass tanks, put together by artist Ron Simmer, according to the title plaque near it.  It’s HUGE, by the way. I hope the building in the background helps by giving you the context needed.

 Up the hill from the arch is a kind of sculpture garden along the perimeter of a grassy field.  

On the way up, just at a turn in the pathway,  is this startling thing, in its own little wooded glen.

It’s made of recycled auto parts! Plus a real antler. I superimposed the title plaque so you could see for yourself.

John could identify several of the auto parts; I couldn’t but was still impressed by the artist’s creativity and vision.  

And here’s a close-up of its head. Isn’t it remarkable?

I was amazed to see how graceful and beautiful a form that the artist was able to create from these junk yard parts.

And then to attach the antler of a real deer. It’s amazing to think of the creativity inside the artist’s imagination!

 There’s a strange feel to this sculpture, isn’t there, like a contradiction and yet it isn’t all opposed, because the artist’s imagination has joined the two so beautifully.

More from the Peace Arch (which I keep typing Peach Arce, which is also fun to say!) garden later.



    Makes me want to spend another sunny afternoon there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: