Words and photographs by Daniel Wakefield Pasley.
A long time ago I woke up in a strange bed in a strange room with a yellow legal pad resting on my chest. In elementary school-perfect lettering and overly-enunciated terms, as though the note was intended for a lost child or a someone with a learning disability, which in a sense (it turns out) it was, my immediate situation was broken down into a list of ten things I needed to know:
- You are in Gresham, Oregon at the Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center.
- You were snowboarding and you hit your head. You are in and out of consciousness. You are going to be okay.
- You are confused and you are having some difficulty remembering what happened and where you are. This is normal.
- You have a concussion.
- We know that your name is Daniel Wakefield Pasley, that you live at 2718 NW Thurman in Portland, Oregon and that your phone number is 503-754-7476. You have told us all these facts several times. We have confirmed that all of this information is accurate.
- It's okay to repeat yourself. It's normal in situations like this. You are going to be okay.
- We also know that you are engaged to Jamie Jetton. We have contacted her. She is on her way.
- Your left arm is in a traction-sling because you have also injured your wrist.
- Your friend Ian Marshall is here. He brought you here. You were snowboarding together when your accident occurred.
- There is a bedpan next to you on the night stand in case you feel nauseous and need to vomit again.
There was a concussion, continued memory loss, a dislocated wrist, an atrophied left arm, a week of that dry flaky skin rash deal you get from plaster casts, the story about how Ian Marshall had to hold my penis like physically (like with his actual hand) and direct the flow of my urine into a handicap-accessible toilet bowl for me as I was incapacitated and otherwise unable to perform on my own, and a bill for $28,013.96—which bill included a Ski Patrol Toboggan ride down the mountain (not sure which trails, probably Powder Keg to Mount Hood Express), an ambulance ride through a Safety Corridor and a couple of CAT Scans and some X-rays. In addition to all of that, I also got to keep the two pins from my eventually un-dislocated wrist. They were given to me by my doctor at the time of our last visit. He put them in a pinky finger-sized glass vial with a cork stopper and said, "Here you go Daniel, Good Luck out there and please take it easy okay? No more jumps hahahahaha."
Anyway, that glass vial was a lot like the glass vial I found lying on an abandoned vintage boogie board in the rocks proximal directly to the Matthews Creek Swimming Hole on a Tuesday in August in the year two thousand and thirteen. Only instead of two 1.5” long stainless steel pins inside it, this vial had a small, metallic, gangrenous-looking rock and some sand floating around in what was I could only assume creek water or Mountain Dew. I held it between my thumb and forefinger up to the sun and squinted and but still I couldn’t figure out what the story was with the vial and it's contents. I mean, it just looked like a rotten rock. In a vial. On an orange sun-faded vintage Morey Aussie—a style of boogie board widely believed to be an embarrassment in boogie boarding circles. In the rocks, next to a river. At a swimming hole in Northern California. And that’s when I heard some dude shout at me all,
Hey bud you better put that down.
First of all, Greg, Moi, David and I had just hiked down to this spot and besides the boogie board and vial it looked completely empty. Second of all, it (the beach) wasn't actually empty because across the river there were six or seven people sitting in folding chairs under a miniature sun umbrella, more or less like a three-dimensional version of those stickers on the back of Minivans, you know from left to right; dad, mom, twin older brothers, a teenage daughter and her "bad influence" friend, a baby with a big forehead, a small white curly-haired dog, a large cooler with wheels and a shovel. So I was all, Yeah totally, I’m sorry, I thought all this stuff was just left here like abandoned or whatever. And again the patriarch was all,
What kind of person would leave a choice sponge and a tube of gold on the rocks to get stolen or lost or whatever? That stuff has value! Anyway I’d appreciate it if you just left my gold where you found it.
Shortly after that I waded over to them to apologize and see about a portrait. They weren't upset about the gold—in fact they told me the river was full of it. On the other hand they were adamantly opposed to being photographed and which rule included their daughter and her friend even if they say it's okay because it isn’t okay even if they say it is okay, okay?
Later, at the other end of the swimming hole, around the corner from the WT River Tableau Family sticker-set people, their daughter and her friend volunteered that it was okay if I wanted to take pictures of them in their bathing suits and jean shorts. We were all just kinda accidentally or circumstantially hanging out and lounging in the same area together under the big cliff jump at the end of some whitewater where the creek spills over a bunch of big rocks. Moi and David were taking turns between sessioning the Goat Boat—I mean inflatable raft—and jumping off all the cliffs, even the big one. The daughter and her friend asked me if I was going to jump off the big cliff or if I was sacred. At that point David and Moi started-in asking me yeah was I scared or was I going to jump off the big cliff or what? Anyway at the time I was a the top of the big cliff looking down into the water and the whole scene you know, and so I told the daughter that I’d do it if she did it, thinking this girl was like thirteen or whatever and there was no way she was going to jump. I was wrong about that. She was out of the water and halfway to the top before I even finished my challenge. She jumped off the big cliff in a bikini and some DC skate shoes. I jumped off the big cliff in a pair of best-in-class Stand-up Paddle Board Shorts and white low-top vans. My stomach dropped like four times further than a rollercoaster ride. Now when it comes to cliff jumping, at least I'm equal to a thirteen year-old girl from the Mythical State of Jefferson. And my new nickname is Wet Vans Jesus on account of the way I looked going through the air and when I hit the water.