Mt. Hood from Chinidere Mountain · Mt. Hood National Forest · Oregon · USA
Mt. Hood looms above a saddle in the lightly snow-flecked Waucoma Ridge, gleaming like partially-mined ore in this plain-Jane shot from atop Chinidere Mountain. Nothing too special here, but I hadn't realized that a full two decades had elapsed since the last time I'd enjoyed this view...in fact I couldn't even remember any aspects at all of the woodsy trail that winds past crystal-blue Wahtum Lake on its way to Chinidere, save for the final stretch up the loose talus slope that constitutes its summit.
I'm not sure how such a striking visual manages to escape the gnarl of a hundred billion neurons. A lot's happened in between, I suppose, but I seem to struggle more than the average Joe with finding life memories in my mental Rolodex anyways. I don't think it's anything too pathological...it just takes a little bit more to wake up the hamster and get him running on the wheel again. I even have this odd thing with facial memory: I could meet someone new and within a few hours have only the vaguest recollection of how they looked, but when I wake up in the morning their countenance will be clear as day again. With other things...like memories of camping at the beach...field trips in grade school...jumping the dirt hills near home on my Huffy...trying to figure out just how I made it to adulthood in one piece bumbling my way through an often awkward childhood as I did...it takes some small but very particular mote of dust to seed the crystallization of a memory. And but for the most emotive recollections, it often feels like I'm viewing some small vignette within my life as if it were a scene from some quaintly dated television sitcom.
I'm thankful, then, that I now have photography as a means of compensating for my suspect powers of retention. Will it be another 20 years before I see this view again? Who knows...but if it is, at least from here on out I'll have some documented visuals and stories in between to someday reassure me of my own fleeting existence.