Sunday, January 3, 2016

Healing After Sealing The Gap

Recently I spent some time perusing Bayocean photos that Lorraine Eckhardt had collected over the last few decades from fellow Tillamook County residents. Lorraine honors each source, most of whom are deceased (being a lively octogenarian herself), by noting their name on the front of each print. She also transferred inscriptions that were on the back to the front of her copies. Though I'd seen many of the photos previously, I learned more about many of them because of Eckhardt's process. Some of them I'd not seen, like a group taken by Virgil Magarell.

The photo on the right was taken by Magarell after the US Army Corps of Engineers sealed the 1952 breach with a dike in 1956. He was standing at the top of a remnant dune. The trees in the foreground were killed by saltwater soaking their roots. He was looking northeast, across the part of Bayocean that was raised by 10' -15' with sand dredged from Tillamook Bay and then planted with rows of vegetation to prevent erosion when the ocean breached again. In the far distance is Garibaldi. 

I was struck by the eerie quality of the photo. I imagine Magarell felt something similar to what I did while hiking across the blowdown area on the north side of Mount St. Helens in 1992. The land was clearly healing, but there was still much to remind me of the great cataclysm that had occurred a few years earlier - and to suggest it could happen again. 

1 comment:

  1. As I read this I too had that eerie feeling of looking out across this place where this busy little town had been. It's kind of like it's buried deep below, as we say good bye to an old friend. Thank you for this blog Jerry your doing a great job!

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