This peaceful scene was photographed in the same place as Creator's Signature I, just a few minutes later and looking westward toward the setting sun. It's very rare when doing 4x5 photography to get two different images a few minutes apart. As nightfall approached the light was very even and in this beautiful location on the Columbia River the whole landscape was awash in dreamlike tones of blue and magenta. It felt magical to be there watching the sunset. Once in a while fish fry would break the water's tranquil mirror, feeding on a small hatch of bugs in the air.
If one is patient the river can be seen in light of almost any color. I've seen it in blue, golden yellow, orange, red, magenta, and combinations of them all. The time of year makes a great difference as the river runs from east to west and the sun's position ranges from south of the river in winter, to directly along it in the spring and fall, and north of it in the summer. Along with variations in climate and weather, it makes for a marvelous rainbow of lighting and a paradise for artists capturing outdoor vistas.
This location isn't very far from a proposed casino that would seriously degrade the area's beauty and open it to increased impact from a volume of visitors predicted to exceed that of Multnomah Falls, the second largest tourist attraction in Oregon. I am hopeful that residents will put respect for our heritage ahead of greed and keep the casino from being built. Sometime in 2011 a decision will be made. Throughout history, many projects in the Gorge were viewed by the people of the day as positive, grand accomplishments. It was only much later that we began to see the drawbacks and regret some as mistaken decisions made in haste.
The pace of modern change has a profound impact on the fragile beauty of the scenery, flowers, and other creatures in the Columbia Gorge. What can be done to better care for these priceless creations that cannot speak for themselves? Can we as residents look at development through the eyes of people a century from now who will see our decisions through history's broader lens? If so, we might rethink our plans and choose a different course that honors and respects the life that was here before us. Were that done from the beginning we might still have Celilo Falls, Petroglyph Canyon, and abundant salmon runs.
One definition of a steward is a person who sees changes through the eyes of future generations. A project's beneficiaries are often blinded by the temptation of converting priceless public resources into shortsighted financial gain. I hope to see the day when both stewards and beneficiaries must agree for development to proceed.