Goose Lake

Goose Lake | Othello, WA | November 2019

Probably best not to question climate science. Hotter temps and sinking islands mean something’s afoot. But the Channeled Scablands west of Othello always put my puny existence in perspective. My ego shrivels amid the Scablands’ grander schemes. For instance: Here comes a storm forged from ocean currents a thousand miles away. And an Arctic wind whips nearby glacial silt into tiny tornadoes. And geese navigate to this lake from Mexico using Earth’s magnetic field. How could this landscape — scoured by elemental forces of fire and floods — be affected by my solo visit? Sure, multiply me by 7.5 billion and you’ve got trouble. But here today, alone, I barely leave a smudge on this great wide world.

[In photo: Ringed by rock, Upper Goose Lake is a favorite destination of waterfowl and fishermen in the Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark, aka the Channeled Scablands. The channels and buttes were created 15,000 years ago by cataclysmic floods.]