believe that water is water and rocks are rocks, you have not been to
County is a county, a portion of a county really, at the base of the
Cascade Mountain range in Washington state.
It got its
name from the volcanic waters that emerge from the ground –
sometime hot, sometimes, and some places, cold.
volcanic rock too.
think of rock as “rocks”; individual pieces large or
small, perhaps round or somewhat smooth.
emerge from over a cliff, hanging like massive octagonal spaghetti
strands, ancient and ragged.
with solid bubbles.
to be bubbles everywhere in Bubbledon County. In the water, in the
rock, in the air.
the people that linger there.
in a while, people sell the bottled water that comes from there as a
magic, life-extending elixir.
there is some huckster vibe to the promises on label on the bottle,
there is an indefinable “kick” to the water.
the kind of place where nothing is as it is everywhere else.
only a few places like this on the whole planet, and they linger in
mystery and suspicion, and like Bubbledon County, usually off the
grid of tourist or official acknowledgement.
to know someone, or stumble into it.
if you get there, it’s unlikely anyone will believe you.
If you get
there in the winter, you just might find, among the accumulated snow,
a glen, warm and lush in the dead of winter.
volcanic waters feed the corners of the forest so that they flourish,
like a tropical rainforest – northwest style.
can get massive - with infused minerals in the water and a non-stop
growing season. And the wood, saturated with iron and other volcanic
metals and nanoparticles are far stronger and denser than wood as
most of us know it.
and thick to cut or transport, they essentially grow forever.
water and rocks, the trees are in isolation in canyons and coves cut
off, not only from human contact, but most cycles and rhythms of
nature as well.
places like this emerge in legend around the world and across history
from Shangri-la to Lindisfarne and a few other places where the
forces of – and maybe even beyond – nature converge and
create a nesting of primal forces where the rules of earth don’t
need to stay there. Just knowing those places exist is enough.
no roads or signs, not even established trails.
been in the area, you may have walked past it.
And if you
did notice the place, it is almost certain that no one would believe
you could find the place again.
somehow I think there are other corners of this still-mysterious
world with places just as odd and indescribable.
you imagine that the world is all paved streets and aisles of
familiar grocery stores, some friend, or unexpected note from a
stranger leads you to a treasure, not, of course, a treasure you
could take with you or put a price on, but a real treasure; an
encounter with a reality you never would have imagined had its
existence in this world you thought you knew.
with its own rules and its own history, a world full of creatures who
care (or know) little of human beings and for whom money and power
and talk are just noise and clutter.
places of dreams – not good or bad dreams – but places we
could never imagine in our waking lives.
dream, explore and tell your stories. It matters little if they are
stories will open the way to a life more full and fantastic than any
that can be told by anyone else.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Mort's story list and biography
Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher