Monday, April 24, 2017

A Day Off the Farm

On Friday, the day before Earth Day, a Peace Pole was being dedicated in McMinnville. I had an eye appointment in that town. A horse drawn equipment auction was happening at the fairgrounds there. And friend and Linfield art instructor, Totem Shriver, was holding his annual Art Burn on the Linfield campus. And so off we went, after lunch, for a day away from the farm.

Having left my camera in the car, I did not take photos of the Peace Pole. However photos can be seen on the website of the Peace Pole Project.
There are, according to The Peace Pole website, tens of thousands of these poles around the world, sponsored by many different organizations.

Each pole says May Peace Prevail on Earth in different languages on each of its four or six sides.
The pole in McMinnville's Civic Center has English, Chinook Wawa (the trade language of Northwest Native American tribes), Spanish and Hebrew. There will be five more Peace Poles planted in McMinnville ultimately. I was reminded of the song lyrics... "May we have peace on earth... And may it begin with me."

It was a short ceremony, so we had time to spare before my eye appointment. We drove to Airport Park, near my eye doctor's office. Johnny had not been there before. It is a very birdy park... with lots of small airplanes taking off and landing nearby, to Johnny's delight on this rare warm and sunny day.

I asked Johnny to pose inside the concrete mushroom in the wooded park.

Also in the park are many concrete benches. Concrete is a great way to make benches and picnic tables last in our wet climate. They grow green with moss, but don't rot. I foresee some future projects on our farm...

A small creek runs through the park. Two bridges cross it.

We wandered long enough to make me almost late for my appointment. While I had my eyes tested and dilated, Johnny wandered around the Air Museum across the highway. After I came out of the clinic, we still had time before supper at our favorite restaurant... Thai Country, so I  suggested we go back to Airport Park. I could see little because of my dilated eyes but I could listen to the chorus of bird songs. Afterwards, we drove around behind the airport and stopped to take a photo of Mt. Hood in glorious sunshine.

After supper, we again had time before our next adventure, Totem's Art Burn, so I asked to go to the fairgrounds and see if the Horse Drawn Equipment auction was still going on. It was and I was able to walk around and admire the many carriages. It brought back happy memories of the times I had gone to the Small Farmer's Journal auction many years ago... first with Jerry and Jean Easterling when I was writing for the SFJ and when Jerry was the auctioneer... way back in the first years of the auction. Some years later it was moved to Sisters. Dad and I drove over there several times. He had worked with horses as a kid and had a story for every piece of horse drawn equipment that we saw there. One trip we came home with a horse drawn wagon that Dad restored for me... but I only pulled it with my horses one time. It is now a flower bed, planted with spring bulbs.

 Ah, but those beautiful carriages at the fairgrounds!

This one was a wedding coach. I suggested we hire it for our 50th wedding anniversary party. Johnny just laughed.

Several covered and uncovered wagons were in the line up.  I liked the sign on the back of this one. CAUTION!! POWERED BY OATS. DON'T STEP IN THE EXHAUST!

But best of all were the sleighs. Oh what fun it would be to ride in a one-horse open sleigh! However, we seldom get enough snow...

Then we were off to our final event of the evening, the Art Burn in a field near the Linfield campus. This is the 9th year that Totem's class has held this burn. We had not attended for several years and were surprised at the turn-out. In the early years, it was pretty much his class and a bunch of his 1970s era, alternative lifestyle friends (like us). There were some of us oldsters in the crowd this year, but mostly it was Linfield students... lots of them.

Spectators are encouraged to write something they would like to have go up in smoke and put it inside the structure. I have never been sure if this should be something you want to get rid of forever or something you want to have seared into all eternity. This year the structure was painted and decorated more than any has ever been before. It was impressive.

This year's structure, Totem explained to the crowd before the ceremony began, was built by his class in January and had been sitting out in the rain ever since. Lighting it could take some doing. Totem and friends and class come up with different intriguing methods of lighting it each year. My favorite was the flaming arrow. Or arrows. It took about six of them to finally hit the right spot. This year an adjacent tower was built with a pyramid suspended by a string from its top. A piece of yarn hung below the pyramid. When lit, the yarn would burn up to the pyramid which would, in turn, light the string it was hanging from, setting it free to swing by a wire that was attached to the main structure onto the wad of newspapers at the base of the structure, lighting them, and thence the structure. Thanks to the vagaries of wind, it needed a little help from Totem in the toppling.

Lighting tower to the left with a wire and string attaching it to the structure to make sue it falls the right way. The crowd here is gathered to listen to Totem give an explanation.

And here's Totem!

Taiko drummers added a dramatic background to the occasion while Linfield's fire dancers performed around the structure.

The yarn is lit!

I took lots of videos but did not get any stills of the structure going up in flames, so have taken some frame shots to add to this blog.

The lighting tower has been pushed over to light the art structure

You can hear the Taiko drummers and the crowd in the videos I put on youtube:

In the one below I held the camera sideways by mistake for the first part so you have to lie on your side to see it upright. (This is the one where the tower topples as you can see in the photo above that I took off a screen shot... and rotated it 90 degrees.) After awhile I realized what I was doing and put the camera upright, so you can then sit up to watch it. Technology is not my strong point.

Wonderful weather, interesting sights, and good friends to connect with... it was a good day.

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