Rough Hewn


To get back to roots. Back to the woods and the mountains, great roaring streams—not roaring, really more like crashing, falling, cascading—yes, the Cascades were calling and we answered. It was time to get back. I pulled down the boxes, great green boxes, (a deep and glossy forest green—probably lead based and toxic) sturdy with long piano hinges that allow the sides to swing down, revealing drawers and cubbies waiting to be stocked with the accouterments of adventure. I imagine my grandpa slowly and carefully making the cuts, nailing the pieces, attaching those perfectly greased piano hinges—applying the Varathane to the inside—a clear coat that has by now become a deep caramel so soft and glassy I want to touch it constantly. I can’t imagine how long they took to make.

We readied the gear, stocked the boxes and packed the car to the gills The whole process went well. By well, I mean fast. The house was a mess leading up to this quick and easy packing job due to the fact that we’d staged everything the week prior.


We fired it up the next morning, a bright, hot morning as they often are in July, pulled out of the driveway around ten, and grabbed a coffee—it was sub par. But coffee is coffee I suppose and I shouldn’t complain because it still wakes me up and gets my heart pounding making it so much easier to apply the gas and speed down the highway, five or ten (maybe more) miles per hour faster than posted without even noticing and pass everybody in sight.

The Cascades were meant for driving. There is no doubt in my mind that our creator molded and sculpted these beautiful mountains for driving—with jagged peaks and tree lined slopes, high meadows, low river valleys, hills with curves perfectly suited to long, serpentine highways snaking up and down and over and through—carved out by the D.O.T. and the hands of W.P.A. men. All that's left of those men—men with great dirty hands, probably cracked hands they once lifted to their faces to wipe the sweat from their brow, leaving ruddy streaks in their wake; men wearing old beat up hard hats with miners' lamps, probably great big boots also and button down shirts with blue jeans (maybe denim bibs, now that I think of it). All that's left are stones with little metal plaques or wooden signs painted brown with carved letters painted white or sometimes yellow. We speed past them not even thinking about them, though we admire the finely stacked rough hewn stone walls that still remain and it's a damn shame when you think about it.  


But we don't often, because we're too busy driving—taking those curves at a caffeinated 69 miles per hour (45 recommended) and charging up the road to the top of the pass, flying over the crest and coasting down the other side. We're in a hurry to get where we're going and who can blame us, really? I suppose that’s the whole point of a road, anyhow. And I’m certainly happy that someone took the time to slow down and dream it into reality.