We didn’t hear about the shooting until the next day, when I saw the front page of the Oregonian in the newspaper box outside of Denny’s in Roseburg. “Violence shatters Crater Lake calm,” the headline read.

We had just come back from there – Crater Lake – about two hours east of Roseburg. The night before, after dark, we had wandered out, but not too far. Just to the edge of the parking lot. We looked up over the trees at the dark sky, lit by a million stars. The longer you looked, the more stars you could see. We didn’t stay out long because it was cold.

The next morning, we went for a walk early, but we took a left at the end of the road instead of walking toward the campground – the way I had wanted to go. On our walk we saw thousands of moths, about the size of your fist, on the light pole and the ground and covering the campground gas pump. “They’re Pandora’s moths,” the maintenance man told us. “Every morning we have to sweep them up.” Some were just dazed, and would rise from the pile and fly away. Most did not survive.

If we had gone to the right, we might have seen the camp site, still cordoned off with yellow police tape. Two nights ago, a park ranger had shot a man there, killed him. There had been a domestic dispute. Someone had called the ranger. Down at the amphitheater the campers gathered for the evening sing-along had heard yelling, but they were doing an audience participation number at the time and most thought the shouts of “I am God!” coming through the woods were part of the act.

The report in the Oregonian did not say if the man was on drugs, was mentally ill, or what started the argument in the first place. It said nothing about the woman who was with him. Was she his wife? Girlfriend? Was she okay? Where did she go? Much as I would have like to feel something for the dead man, or the park ranger who shot him, what struck me about it was how a scene that unfolds in daily and nightly in many homes, unnoticed or ignored, spilled over so messily into the public, crossing the imaginary boundaries of the campsite, shocking and frightening those nearby, ending violently. Like a scene from a Raymond Carver short story, only real.

Speaking of Carver, we drove through his birthplace of Clatskanie, Oregon, a nondescript town up on the Columbia river northwest of Portland. Although we saw no sign along the main highway indicating any link between Clatskanie and the greatest American short story writer in the latter half of the 20th century, apparently there is a memorial plaque and a park.