Low Water Greets Inner Tubers On Rogue River

Last year was an unusually dry one for Southern Oregon, so it is no surprise that the Rogue River is quite low.  This means rocks are poking their heads up at inappropriate places and tree branches are plainly visible.  But the current is not as strong, so if you end up on a rocky bar, you can simply walk to deeper water.  However, a lack of rain, combined with a very warm May, has allowed more moss to grow, so be careful of your footing!  I would recommend sports shoes or boots, not sandals, and, of course, a sturdy flotation device.  The waves are smaller in many rapids, and dodging is more of a requirement, especially in rapids like Rattlesnake or the series of rapids below Casey State Park.  But, on the whole, the river is more forgiving than previous years, and resembles more the pre-Lost Creek Dam years when there was no river control.

For kids, there are more sand bars, beaches, and places where there is no current.  You can simply lie on your back and float.  This is a great time to introduce kids to the fun of being in the river with a minimum of danger.

Whatever age you are, please visit the Rogue River this year and have a great time!

And I Wish…

And I wish when I die,

I could strip to my soul,

and dive once more

into the ol’ swimmin’ hole.

(Reworking of lines by James Whitcomb Riley.)sc00019e90

A Native American Voice: George Fence Speaks, Part 2.

“You will find that if people want to ask a question, that waiting is a very important part of that asking.  What we are taught from an early age is that if we remain silent and observe, that sooner or later we will have this demonstrated to us.  So, there is a cautionary aspect to learning;  not to ask questions about specifics before we achieve the capacity to really understand and to practice what we have learned…

The importance of your relationship to place is the foundation upon which the individual cultures represented by the 400+ different tribes exist.  Native communities are represented by limited geographical regions and areas, although, they might extend to other areas for tribes that are more nomadic in nature.  However, even within the tribes that have migratory histories, there is still an incredible relevance to site, to feature and to landscape.  Relationships to place embody, virtually, volumes of books of learning.  And interestingly, the more you know and compare what you know against a symbol, the greater the amount of explanation of a symbol that comes to the individual.  Local examples are the Rogue River, salmon, Pilot Rock, Table Rocks, or Mt. Pitt, otherwise known as Mt. McLaughlin.  These physical places embody a tremendous amount of historical knowledge, of everything from mathematics to medicine to social discourse, to relationship and social involvement.  It takes a lifetime to learn the many volumes of information that are packed into these symbols…

The whole egalitarian perspective on economics not only assisted in the distribution of wealth or commodities, but it also played an important and figurative role in the social structure of our communities.  Those who were best possessed with the talents and capacities to accumulate were provided with the greatest opportunity to aid and assist and to provide service to others.  And thus they acquired the mantle of leadership and responsibility and were seen as providers and protectors for those around them.  So that merit was bestowed based on the actual process of support and assistance.  This egalitarian perspective on economies valued each and every contribution, and recognized that each was important in its own specific way, that without them, there would be a lack of balance in the communities.  So, rather than bestowing specific or greater honor to the person who brought back salmon than the person who brought back obsidian, the whole point was a sort of social or cultural leveling belief that all life forms were important to the balance and the harmony of the dance that this world engages in.  We are constantly reinforcing the idea and attitude that no matter how a person or other life form is represented, it has value and importance, and that even the most lowly can be counted upon to make the greatest contributions.

Some Family History And A Little Wisdom.

I have a family tradition that each year I go through our scrapbooks to renew memories and make sure pictures haven’t fallen out.  I love to look at the photos, because they take me to places that were special.  I enjoy seeing photos of the Rogue River as it changed over the years and study faces that no longer exist.  Such an experience makes me aware of the transience and unfathomable mystery of life.  Playing in the snow in the Angeles Crest, following the stories of record readers, remembering when a simple table could provide hours of entertainment, trying to create a miniature golf course by digging up the lawn in our backyard, Grandpa David pulling out yet another Hershey bar from his “secret” closet,  all these memories flow into an ever changing and ever beckoning past….

Murray Weiss:  Around 1940, we purchased a 12 acre ranch above San Fernando.  It came with two horses that I used to ride.  There were also groves of lemon and orange trees, and a barn for the horses.  The water came down from a spring in pipes.  I would drive up there at least two or three times a week and give the horses bales of hay and feed them.  But, after awhile, the horses figured out how to get out of the gate and would wander around San Fernando.  I would often get a call from the Dog Pound in the middle of my medical practice:  “We have one of your horses.  Please come and pick it up.”   And, it was really kind of a mess.  I would attach the horse to the back of my car, and drive slowly up the streets and put it back.( In 1966 the ranch burned to the ground in the Pacoima Canyon Fire.)

Geraldine(Jerry) Hilton:  My mother(Grandma Lena) dominated.  Any time we asked Dad if we could go some place, he would say no.  My mother would say: “Let the kinder go.”  When it came to gifts, my mother was very generous.  She’d say:  “Give it to them.”  My mother loved to buy stuff wholesale and she would always have a stock of silver-plated platters and trays in case she needed to give a gift for somebody.  She had a whole warehouse in the closet.  As long as it was wholesale, she would buy it.

Twyla Weiss:  When the earthquake of the early 30s happened, I was playing hide and seek, and I was “it”, and I had my face against a house that completely collapsed.  I became absolutely panic-stricken, and I would not go back into our brick apartment house.  I stayed in our big seven-passenger Buick all night long, and I remember my sister, Cecile, stayed with me.

My mother was a warm person, but had a volatile temper.  She would slap you, get angry, and the next minute not remember it at all.  My mother was not a homemaker, even though she loved to cook and bake, but was a very bright, astute woman, who had little formal education.  She was always trying to learn to drive a car and get a license.  She often smashed the car, and one of our admonitions was:  “Oh, be careful!  Watch out at the corner!  Mom may be coming down the street!

Boris(Buddy) Yorkshire:  Grandpa Yorkshire did the driving in the house.  He had a glass eye in one eye and was almost blind with a cataract in the other.  How he drove, I don’t really know, but he did.  The day he had his cataract removed, he said up till then he never realized what things look like.  He really wasn’t even sure what his children looked like!

I can’t understand why we fight wars.  I haven’t quite figured that out, except that there are good salesmen there at the top that want to own a little bit more of the world.  I think being tolerant is probably the most important thing you can be.  Be tolerant of the other guy, and try to understand his feeling, too.

Grandma Lillian as a teenager.

Grandma Lillian as a teenager.

Grandma Lena and Grandpa David.

Grandma Lena and Grandpa David.

Grandpa Johnny and I at my Bar Mitzvah.

Grandpa Johnny and I at my Bar Mitzvah.

My Dad enjoying himself at Casey's Auto Camp in the 1930s.

My Dad enjoying himself at Casey’s Auto Camp in the 1930s.

My Dad today at 90, engrossed in American History.

My Dad today at 90, engrossed in American History.

Mom at 88, reading a biography of Elsa Maxwell.

Mom at 88, reading a biography of Elsa Maxwell.

Just A Chinese Proverb For Mineral Collectors

I couldn’t resist the following Chinese proverb courtesy of The Mineralogical Record:

The river that does not have stone will not be clear.

The garden that does not have stone will not be beautiful.

The room that does not have stone will not be elegant.

And the person who does not have stone will not be eminent.IMG_5172

Inner Tubing Season 2012 Comes To A Close

Yes, the inner tubing season of 2012 is coming to a close.  The water level and temperature of the Rogue River have dropped and mornings are decidedly cooler. Leaves are falling and autumn is approaching.  It has been a splendid season with spectacular days.    The only drawbacks have been the smoke due to fires, and an abundance of trees, which the county has tried to remove.  But the steady warm weather has made for wonderful tubing, which is fast becoming a memory.  I hope all tubers on the river had as much fun as I did.  Here’s to another great season!

The Adventure Of Bitterman Falls On The Rogue River

Bitterman Falls is a solid Class3-(3+ in high water, flows above 5,000 cfs.) rapid, which precedes the well-known Gold Nugget Falls.  It is an adventure!

“The calm before the storm.”

Bitterman Falls is an exciting ride.

The far right is not the way to go.

The far left is not much better.