CLIFF CREGO | Camas Lilies (Camassia quamash), South Wallowas

CAMAS Lilies (Camassia quamash), South Wallowas,
one of the most beautiful wildflowers of the Northwest
[ click photo for next . . . ]

Quamash, a pit-cooked bulb similar in taste to a
sweet potato, was offered by the Nez Perce to a nearly
starved Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the men of
the Corps of Discovery in 1805 after a snowy September
crossing of the Bitterroots. It probably saved them,
and yet few of the present inhabitants of the same
country 200 years later know either the plants, the
story, the food, or the even incredible beauty--just
the color is in a singular, signature way, unique--
of this remarkable species.

On the road in the American Northwest.

Flowers are to the background green

of meadow and forest what a well-made poem

is to the constant chatter of sounds which

surrounds us. How strikingly beautiful they

are, these centers where essences converge.


The electronic door snaps open. First
retreating, one foot reluctantly crossing
over into the uncertain cleanliness of
shadowless spaces, the other soothed
into surrender by the soft rounded sounds
of a mechanical movement of air.

The little room is empty.

Was the music on before I entered?
If no one is listening, does it exist?

Suddenly, a smile slides open, registering
identity. I murmur something quickly as the
smile folds back into the blankness of
the white wall.

Sitting. Waiting. So striking how we first
sweep the life out of a space and then try
to fill it with half-hearted gestures, primal
recollections, our way of secretly sharing
with each other how wrong all this is.

Calendar photos of distant places,
magazines overflowing with healthy,
happy faces, and plants, ah yes,
the obligatory plant in the corner.
Real or plastic? The question
of our time . . .

The next step of evolution?

The natural imitation
of artificial life, a camouflage
to protect from the loneliness
of neglect.

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(Amsterdam, Holland
from ON PATHS)

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Please visit my LIVING WATER
print gallery
. Above is a set recent images.
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I might just mention here, following the ethical principle,
First, do no harm, I never use cars or snowmachines. I
do everything on foot, bike or ski. I think this in a
deep and direct way affects my work, and how I see
the world. So all the photos above were approached
on foot, including all the in between spaces, sometimes
involving journeys of weeks or months.

I would not want to work any other way.

NEW: To view / purchase high quality prints & matted frames
at the
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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1999 - 2012
(created: VII.25.2009)