Singin' the Blues
Oregon · USA
Blue hour descends on Mount Hood, with the summit freeing itself from the stubborn clouds streaming in from the west just in time to catch the last light of day. A hundred or so yards to my right, separated by an impenetrable thicket of red alders and other marsh vegetation, Justin Poe and Terence Lee were watching the same drama unfold from the boggy shores of a sister pool to this one, where nearly a year and a half earlier Justin and I bore witness to the miracle of “Misty Mountain Cold” and "Hoodwinked," respectively.
The ‘moment’ this time around might not have been nearly as miraculous (see descriptions in both those other photos), but the tenacity of the clouds clinging to the peak was worrying me plenty, so I was grateful for their eventual mercy. After the sun finally set, I heard a yell from across the way: “Tulaaaah!” It was Terence.
“Let's go! It's over, man!”
“K! I'm gonna wait a little longer for alpenglow and then I’ll come out toward you guys!”
I gave it perhaps another five minutes or so before it became apparent that alpenglow would ultimately be eluding us this evening, and I carefully gameplanned the moves needed to pack up and leave, perched as I was atop a narrow rotting log and surrounded on both sides by rather putrid, stagnant bog water. At that moment, Terence bleated out another impassioned plea.
“Tulaaaah! Come on!!”
“Be there in a just a few!”
Safely off the log, I made my way out from the brush and found the trail again in the fading light, singing something that could’ve been some old school R&B or a sappy classic 80s song, I can’t quite remember. As I made my way up the trail I got a text from Ashley at work that she was at lunch, so I decided to give her a quick call before meeting back up with the boys. A phone call doesn't come remotely close to having her right there alongside me, of course, but I suppose it's the next best thing given the circumstances. I actually arrived at the rendezvous spot ahead of the boys, so Ash graciously kept me company on the phone until they caught up, Justin first emerging murkily from the thick brush, followed by Terence in his trademark flip-flops (yes, flip-flops).
Ash and I said our goodbyes, and I turned my attention to the guys. “How was it?” I innocently asked, fully expecting them to recount an exhilaration similar to the one I was privileged to enjoy at the other pond.
“Eh, not that good...” Justin said, to my modest surprise.
“DUDU,” said Terence, never one to mince words.
I know Terence well enough to know what that usually means, but mind you also that these are two guys who could take a photo of a plate of dog food and get it on the cover of culinary magazines as a chocolate souffle. So while Terence often offers a glass-half-empty initial impression of his efforts, I figured they had to have come away with something better than what they were suggesting. But then again, ever-upbeat Justin’s initial lukewarm response seemed to validate Terence’s gloominess. After all, it was Justin who was most looking forward to coming here on this particular evening.
“Really?” I said, in genuine astonishment.
Really, they both said.
It turns out that a rather unsightly film of floating pond scum had settled in what would have been their sweet spot for reflecting the mountain, and moving farther to the west to find a clear spot in the water’s surface meant introducing some obtrusive trees into the scene, unfortunately. I showed them what I'd gotten from the other pond on my camera’s LCD screen, and they insisted I was the only one who came away with something decent that evening. But color me utterly unconvinced: I know these two well enough never to trust them when it comes to this kind of stuff, having been driven to delete all my own shots on far too many occasions after seeing their published images from mutual outings. I'm fairly pleased with how this photo turned out, but I know that when it does come, their one-upmanship will strike swiftly, mercilessly, and without warning.
And when it does, I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune yet again. Sighhhh...