trees are not for information?

1 April 2008

Rolled back home through the sunrise this morning from an excursion up the coast and into PDX. Roberto has been visiting for the last week, and we started a sightseeing trip over the weekend that culminated with dropping him at the airport early this morning. Great times, great places, great people. During the days on either side of the trip, I finished reading both Ambient Findability by Morville and Coyote Warrior by Vandevelder. Both broadened my horizons in their respective areas, and while I disagree with Morville’s dismissal of oral cultures, I’ll have to discuss that another time. One of his epigrams (from Ted Nelson, paraphrased below) is pretty arresting,. It is also exactly one of the theses of Vandevelder’s description of the attempted dissolution of the Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota. 
 
“EVERYTHING IS DEEPLY INTERTWINGLED. In an important sense there are no “subjects” at all; there is only all knowledge, since the cross-connections among the myriad topics of this world simply cannot be divided up neatly. Hierarchical and sequential structures, especially popular since Gutenberg, are usually forced and artificial. Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged—people keep pretending they can make things hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t.”
 
Out to the coast on Saturday we drove down to Newport, hopped out and walked on the beach in the sun, then hopped back in the car, turned north and started schooning along. Astoundingly good lunch at Maxwell’s in Lincoln City, beautiful scenery at Cape Kiwanda, and then we really got into it. Cape Lookout State Park is now high on our list of places to hit this summer, and at an overlook there we started a nice run of birding. I got some nifty pictures of a Stellar Jay there, and about five minutes ago as I started writing another of the mohawked blue and grey fellows loudly annexed our porch in the name of all birdkind. 
 
The weather forecast had been moderately dire for the weekend, and indeed on Friday in Corvallis we had continual squalls of mixed rain and sleet, with a couple of inches of snow in the hills. On Saturday, the squalls continued, but we reached Nye Beach in Newport just after one passed, and returned to the car rosy-cheeked and sandy just as the sun fled and the rain started again. That pattern continued nicely as we went along–drive while it was raining, then reach a great spot just in time to loaf in the sun for a few minutes. 
 
The sun lasted the entire leg after we made the fateful decision to drive all the way around Cape Meares rather than take the easy way out before Netarts. I think we were riding high after seeing an osprey in the bay, or perhaps I just managed to distract my fellow travelers for a moment from their hunger for cheese. We got there soon enough, but not before the engaging drive along Tillamook Bay. Two wading herons, a flock of possible swallows scooping insects just above the marsh water, and a kingfisher perched on a phone line punctuated the bumpy road a little more. 
 
By the time we got to Tolovana Beach, we were running short on daylight, and with the Coast Range still to cross with unknown amounts of snow still accumulating. Still, we saw a rather impressive Pantheon made out of sand (made by hotel guests?) and got a view of the Tillamook Rock light as the sun started to sidle towards the ocean. As it turned out, the drive along US 26 was relatively uneventful. The road was clear of snow, if not dry, thanks to the sun. Several groups of elk were polite enough to keep their distance from the road, perhaps due to their haste to eat a little more before the spring shoots got frozen under, as it was still snowing lightly in some of the passes.
 
The Portland leg of the trip will have to wait for another post, but suffice it to say that thanks to the hospitality of friends and the density of bookstores and coffee shops, it was a good day Sunday, too. We dropped Roberto off, and headed off lickety-split down I-5. No birds on that leg, not this time. 
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One Response to “trees are not for information?”


  1. […] forgot to say that types of knowing can vary greatly, and we usually only consider a pretty restricted set of inputs. Increasing the likelihood that we can use more than just sight […]


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