Bubbledon County

Mort Morford

© Copyright 2021 by Mort Morford

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash
                                                 Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

If you believe that water is water and rocks are rocks, you have not been to Bubbledon County.

Bubbledon 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.

There’s volcanic rock too.

You might think of rock as “rocks”; individual pieces large or small, perhaps round or somewhat smooth.

Not in Bubbledon County.

Rock can emerge from over a cliff, hanging like massive octagonal spaghetti strands, ancient and ragged.

And yes, with solid bubbles.

There seem to be bubbles everywhere in Bubbledon County. In the water, in the rock, in the air.

Even in the people that linger there.

Every once in a while, people sell the bottled water that comes from there as a magic, life-extending elixir.

Even if there is some huckster vibe to the promises on label on the bottle, there is an indefinable “kick” to the water.

It’s the kind of place where nothing is as it is everywhere else.

There are 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.

You have to know someone, or stumble into it.

But even 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.

Those warm volcanic waters feed the corners of the forest so that they flourish, like a tropical rainforest – northwest style.

The trees 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.

Too heavy and thick to cut or transport, they essentially grow forever.

Like the 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.

Rumors of 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 apply.

You don’t need to stay there. Just knowing those places exist is enough.

There’s no roads or signs, not even established trails.

If you’ve 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.
Even if you could find the place again.

Which is not likely.

But somehow I think there are other corners of this still-mysterious world with places just as odd and indescribable.

Just when 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.

A reality 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.

These are places of dreams – not good or bad dreams – but places we could never imagine in our waking lives.

Sleep, dream, explore and tell your stories. It matters little if they are not believed.

Your stories will open the way to a life more full and fantastic than any that can be told by anyone else.

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