A Tribute to Block Mountain
~In memory of Don Stirewalt (Ragnarr), field camper 2009. Passed in 2014~
|Photo by Sammy|
Photo by Marli Miller
The rattlesnakes, bull snakes, and fake-snakes,
the rabbits, deer, and bighorn.
The fossils of gastropods, lingula, and fish scales,
and the animated nighthawks, strikes, and Coopers hawks.
The spiny cactus, scratchy shrubs, and pokey grass.
|Lichen through a hand lens|
Follow the yellow-brick road.
|The Basal Conglomerate, Kootenai|
the cicadas, crickets, and grasshoppers.
The spiders, flies, and wasps,
the lichen of orange, green, and gray.
Butterflies of yellow, white, and orange,
moths of black, blue, and yellow.
Meet you at the peanut for lunch.
|Sand Hill Cranes|
The musical Phosphoria, the incompetent Dinwoody, and amazing cobbles of Kootenai.
Large folds, medium folds, and small folds.
Deformed ooids, deformed cherts... deformed everything.
The parasitic, esss and zeee folds,
the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.
|Marie Antoinette in the field|
The mahogony, juniper, and willow,
the dinosaur bits and gastroliths.
There is a Rats nest, a ridge known as double din, and a sculpture of (headless) Marie Antoinette.
Hanging in Zieglar Gulch, Sandy Hallow, or Coal Draw.
Sky-mapping from 5645, Dr. Browns lounge chair, or the Tg hill.
I like the way it dips right thr.
|Matthew, student-teacher, explains.|
White university vans, Tahoes, and Suburbans,
there are student, and teachers, and student-teachers.
There are student-animal trails, outcrops nearly polished from years of measure, and lost gear.
A time to learn from the rocks, apply your knowledge, and get to know yourself.
Leg day everyday.
|Rachel Stands Stoically: Field Geologist|
We wear boots, backpacks, and carry plenty of water.
We are don't follow trails, but go in search of data off the beaten path.
We accurately measure, map, and note.
Think. Map. Hike.
All. Day. Long.
Who else has walked here?
There is much to see, but much is still mystery.
Our planet is dynamic, though these rocks are static.
You must see with you mind (imagination) to hear the stories of the past etched in crystal.
Block Mountain, I honor you. I thank you. I love you.
|Honoring Block Mountain|
|Ragnarr in geologic mapping mode.|
Photo by Marli Miller.
|Ragnarr (Don) in armor for his last battle (Society for Creative Anachronism) in his last months of battling cancer.|
Back in 2009, I visited Block Mountain as a University of Oregon Geology Field Camp student. As I discussed in this recent post, I have been coming back to work with Field Campers ever since (pretty close...). At the time of that post, I didnt think I would be coming back. But as fate would have it, my colleague Marli Miller injured her leg and asked for assistance with the students in the field. So I got to come back for year 10!!
Ten years, my gosh. Both neat and sad.
Makes me think about what I have been doing for 10 years...
Anyway, it was that somewhat depressing thought that inspired me to just look around and appreciate this amazing place and opportunity. After crying for a bit, I began to just listen to the birds and buzz of insects. Looking at all my plant friends, and rock friends... and this tribute spilled out into my notebook.
There is nothing else like this. Hiking around, looking at rocks all day, while mapping the geospatial relations. A dream. It is meditative.
"Thinkin' about rocks
Thinkin' about rocks,
Thinkin' about rocks,
pretty much all day"