Butte Creek Mill
December of 2015, I was beginning to wrap up Christmas and getting ready for the New Year, when my friend Stewart sent me a link to an article stating that the Butte Creek Mill had burned down on Christmas day.
Stuart and I shared a love of photography and had made a trip out to Eagle Point in Oregon, to see what images we could conjure up. The inner workings of the mill; the low light conditions, the rustic tools, the weathered wood, the massive beams, all presented a photographer with opportunity.
The news of the Mill burning made me sad and sad for a couple of reasons; sad that I never be able to share the magic of this pace with another; sad that I had put off my visit in the fall, thinking the Mill would still be there. At that moment, I was reminded of the impermanent nature of things and if something was important that I best make time for it and to make time for it now.
My first visit out to Butte Creek Mill had been in 2013, with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) FAIR program, under the direction of mentor and friend – Sharifa Johka. Sharifa had kept us guessing all the way out there, as to our destination. It was not until we pulled into the gravel parking lot that the destination was revealed. At first, I was not sure why we had made the journey out there?
However, as I got out of the car and made my way onto the wooden platform that led to the doorway and peered inside, it became evident. It was like stepping back in time, the history was all around us. There was something about this place that went beyond words. My reasoning mind quieted down and the imagination kicked in, as I took everything in. The purpose of the trip was to put us in touch with our communities and to learn of its history, and people. The experience worked and it brought us as FAIR participants closer together. The journey each of us had made from our homes to OSF in Ashland, did not seems quite as far. In that moment the busy schedules each of us shared at OSF stood still, as we became present to our surroundings.
All-in-all I made four trips out to Butte Creek Mill and these are the images I would like to share.