I’ve been thinking a lot about death out in southern Washington. We’re biking down a busy highway with lots of semis and big trucks blowing by. Your own death is literally a few feet away.
I’m thinking about death because the side of the road is full of bones. They’re picked clean and bleached white by the sun. We saw a bear near Caracole’s waystation yesterday. We could only tell because of the pelt, and the overwhelming smell. Ale says the highway is like a graveyard for animals.
I’m thinking about death because my sweet cat, Calpurnia, hasn’t been doing well. She’s 20 years old, so it’s not a surprise. My friends called yesterday to tell me she hasn’t been eating. I bought a flight home for Friday from Portland, but they don’t think she’ll make it that long. I’m trying to feel okay about it.
We make it to the waystation on the other side of the Columbia as the sun is going down over the mountains. It’s a really beautiful ride, but I don’t want to do it in the dark. Death feels closer in the dark.
We arrived at Pocket Falls at dusk. The sound of a braking freight train sustained as we planted some seeds. I used an audio technique called ‘convolution’ to multiply the audio signal of the train and waterfall with itself, bringing out their dominant frequencies. The resulting sound is a ghostly rendering of this waystation’s soundscape.
Today was tough: we biked at the rate of a snail through 35 mph headwinds and climbed a steep hill to get to Hood River. The Columbia River was filled with white waves where the wind hit the water. The scenery was magnificent — and we’re excited to ride through a mostly non-motorized bike path along the Columbia tomorrow. Also, Ursa spotted a monarch today. Que bueno. Hasta mañana, monarcas!