shades of red

rusty saws, Eagle Point, Oregon

My weekend in southern Oregon was colored in shades of red and brown, involving an adult-sized, baby-pink casket (not pictured); a wall of rusty logging saws;

Butte Creek Mill, Eagle Point, Oregon

an old water-powered mill-cum-country store proffering small, expensive bags of beans, grains, and flours;

carriage wheel propped against the Butte Creek Mill wall

an old, unidentified stone building across the street from the mill with a herringbone-patterned, pockmarked wooden door; 

herringbone door, stone walls, Eagle Point, Oregon

and, permeating everything, a layer of brown haze draped visible along all horizons, turning the sunsets red and the mornings rosé.

Lake of the Woods in fire haze, Oregon, August 2012

When we stopped in the Cascades, 5,000 feet above sea level, between the morning funeral and afternoon burial, a whole county apart, we could not smell the pines for smoke. Large swaths of forest across the West are burning, while Midwest crops crisp in drought—ashes to ashes, dust to dust, desert to desert. It's fitting that my auburn-haired great-aunt took her leave not in a Hollywood scene of drizzle, the family shaded under large black umbrellas, but rather in a month aflame.

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