This seems like a highly appropriate, cheerful, and punny photo with which to end the year: a mosaic of wildlife around a Cascade spring to create a setting for a water fountain, in the lower entryway of Timberline Lodge. It doesn't hurt that everything here is made of geological materials. There's the raw andesite/dacite blocks in the walls, fired clay in the tiles of the floor and mosaic, glass in the enamel of the mosaic tiles, with various metallic salts for pigment, and copper and zinc alloyed to make the brass of the drinking fountain fixture itself. (It's possible this is bronze; I've never really been confident in telling the two apart. If that is the case, it's an alloy of copper and tin.) And, of course, once tonight's festivities have concluded, what's the next major annual event we're all looking forward to? Why, spring, of course!
Update, 1:30 PM, 12/31/14: The animals, clockwise from upper left, are deer, bear, wild turkey, dragonfly, salmon, and skunk. The plants, in same order, are maybe huckleberry, but not sure, rhododendron, Douglas fir (probably), trillium, and skunk cabbage.
This reclining cougar panel can be found over one of the doors in Timberline Lodge. There's a similar panel of coyotes that I photographed a couple times, but they're too blurry to include in the Geo series. I love the craftwork up here; it's rough-hewn, but so evocative of this landscape. Speaking of which, how is this geology? Only two or three centuries ago, wild lands such as this were a source of fear, or at least unease, avoided by anyone who could, aside from the most intrepid explorers. It's only been in the last couple centuries that western civilization has come to romanticize and seek out alpine areas, deep forests, or "barren" deserts. When this lodge was started in the 1930s, that shift was well underway, and people were excited to get away from the hubbub of city living, and up into the clear mountain air. Later, in the 1950s and 60s, when alpine skiing became popular in the US, this lodge became one of the first skiing meccas in Oregon.
In short, if it wasn't for the geology here, this lodge would never have existed.
This is the chimney over the great hearth in the main guest lounge of Timberline lodge, the upper continuation from this photo. Most of the materials used in the construction of the lodge were, at the very least, shaped on site, and many, including most of the timber and stone were harvested nearby. In particular, I'm admiring the wrought iron wind vane above the chimney opening. You can see that, on this afternoon, the wind was coming from the southeast.
Keep in mind the purpose of the CCC and WPA projects was not to create wonderful historical artifacts such as Timberline, though it did have that outcome. The purpose was to provide meaningful employment for a generation of people, men, mostly, to help support themselves and their families during the Great Depression, but perhaps more importantly, marketable skills that the workers could use to stay employed in the future when the economy improved.
Oh, wait... I've already used that title. Yes, but this is the outdoor view of the chimney from the dining room. This is the same native andesite/dacite as we saw inside, but there are two reasons it appears darker: first, the light is brigher, so by comparison, the stone is darker. Second, notice how it gets darker toward the top? That's almost certainly soot stains from the smoke. I'm pretty sure the fire is kept burning continuously through the winter. So for this one, at least, I'm not going to have to rationalize why I get to call this photo geologically-related.