Mud City Press

MAYNARD SMITH AND THE INVISIBLE MAN

by Dan Armstrong

Some of the most beautiful and solemn country in the United States is in western Oregon. From the rugged coast's sheer cliffs and stark rock promontories east seventy miles to the interstate highway is a lush gently mountainous coniferous forest. In the summer, this coastal range is nothing less than stunning. The valleys are long and tight with sweeping green pastures, framed by stands of towering blue firs that climb into a sky as clear as arithmetic.

The Oregon winter, however, is exceedingly long and wet. When it isn't outright raining, the valleys steam with lacey mist and fog. Low clouds displace the thick periphery of forest in receding stages like false perspective in a Chinese watercolor. And what few houses there are wallow at the edges of the low land beneath hovering curls of chimney smoke. The sunless gray beauty is subtle, some might say severe, and the persistent rain from October to April takes a lot of getting used to, especially if you're a logger or a farmer and work outdoors...

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