Yesterday Isabella and I explored a different walking trail. We drove just west of Bend up Century Drive, turned off on the road to Benham Falls and ended up at Slough Camp. From Slough Camp’s parking lot we headed on foot towards Benham Falls, about 2.5 miles. I hadn’t been up in this area for ages. It brought back a fun/funny memory. In The 60’s when I was attending COCC my folks sent me $70. a month for rent, food, gas, etc. One memorable month I out-spent the month by two weeks and had only a dime to last until next payday. No problem, well not really. For food I, every day, fished the Deschutes and lived on the catch of the day – trout. I ate fried trout, baked trout, boiled trout, and fried trout again. The dime I had bought me two lemons from the market on Franklin St. just two blocks from my apartment. Bend was so compact and easy back then. Anyway, Slough Camp was one of my fishing spots and it felt good to be back, although I’m happy to hike and not fish.
Isabella found a place where she could get to the river for a drink without tromping through brush and river grasses. She took off over a little embankment that looked almost straight down to me. I questioned her ability to get herself out of that hole, but she did it, eventually. I let her rest a bit, me too, before we carried on. It was such a beautiful, quiet Fall day, and I’m grateful for every minute of it.
Another beautiful Fall day in Central Oregon. Isabella and I headed out to do a little exploring, nothing dangerous or even very adventurous, but I though we’d try some new trails. After all the years I’ve lived in Bend, I have not spent much time roaming around Phil’s Trail Head, so I don’t really know the lay of the land. In fact, a few years ago, I did get quite lost, twice in one year.
Here’s my excuse, for getting lost that is. We left one bright sunny morning from the parking lot and headed west on Kent’s trail. After walking several miles I noticed was getting a little tired and decided to head back to the car. Not wanting to see the same scenery twice in one day, I headed south, I thought, with good intentions of catching Phil’s trail which was, logically, “right over there.” Ha! Not only was it not “right over there,” but the clouds rolled in and, directionally speaking, and I was sunk. Galumphing over pine needles, cones and various other beautiful objects that make up the forest floor, I wasn’t even able to decide what was up hill (Skinner’s or maybe Eugene) or down hill (Bend or maybe LaPine).
Somewhere in a science or physiology class I had learned that humans have a small deposit of lead or another metal material that sits just above the bridge of the nose in the lower part of the forehead. It was believed that that piece of metal worked as a internal compass assisting us in the general navigation of life. Well, guess what? I didn’t get one of those. Knowing there had to be a trail somewhere fairly close, I carried on. At least an hour later, alas the hallucinations began. Just ahead, I came upon signs of life. There it was, the Galveston/14th street turn circle with the Big Red Chicken sitting right in front of me. Something wasn’t right though. Things were all distorted. The chicken before me had shrunk. Must be Galveston’s baby, the Little Red Chicken. At closer range it was still a Little Red Chicken. I touched it. “What are you doing out here, Little Chicken,” I ask it? Are you real?
About then a bicyclist came around yon corner. Thank God. He was real and a normal man size. He stopped, as did the others behind him. Pulling myself together mustering the most sane voice I could come up with I ask if “they” knew where the parking lot was. Pointing down the trail, the same direction their bikes were headed, one guy said, “That way.” “I knew that,” I smiled. “Um, how far?” About an hour on foot. They must have checked out my leg length, or lack there, of when they came up with my ETA.
That was one long day. Oh, did I mention the part where I’d left my water in the car? How smart is that? Several months later, when I was smarter, I repeated the same scenario. I’ll spare myself the details. I hadn’t really thought of those “lost years” until yesterday, in full sun, including shadows and all the directional cues necessary to activate my internal compass, after walking longer than I thought my return trip to the car would take, and on a well used trail, a sinking feeling re-emerged. Really? No, I am not lost. Just keep going. I did. That was good advise, as soon I came to a surprise, to me, art installation pictured below. I know a biscillion Bend-its and tourist have passed this place a biscillion times…and know it’s less than a mile to the PTH parking lot. Please don’t make fun of me. OK? So I’m old-er. I do this kind of stuff.
As for art, I’m proud of the place I live in and the many opportunities that are available to display art throughout our town…and forests. The “Little Red Chicken” was a fantastic surprise, right out there in the woods all by its little red self. And the tinkling of the cog wheels moving in the breeze, well, I found that installation a simple and telling display of the hearts of the folks who maintain Phil’s trials and the bike clubs who are a strong presence…ie, the Skyliner’s Road update. May “ART” prevail. Some say it will save the world.
There are special days in each year that carve memories, not all real great but most aregreat and worth celebrating. My favorites are Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Solstices, Equinoxes, and on and on. But, every year the real winner in my book is that awaited day that usually comes sometime in the Fall, after the rains have come, the temperature drops, we’re socked in for a couple of days – and then the clouds lift. Bam! There on the horizon the most stunning gift of nature looms. Brilliant, white with snow, and beautiful beyond thought are the four mountains that seem to keep watch over the foothills and towns below.
To all you who responded to my Hole in the Floor post, I want you to know your comments and support are very helpful, and you are all appreciated. I am not alone, as I’ve recently heard, 3/4 of Bend’s homes have some snow/ice dam damage. There are many in the same situation that I’m in.
Most of you asked about my next move. I did put money down on a small house in Bend’s east side that I was pretty excited about – was being the operative word in this case. I’m not sure now. There’s one training certificate related to my pending loan that needs a signature – which has been refused. The only thing I can do is keep the faith and know things will all work out for everyone’s very best.
What was, isn’t any more:
Several evenings ago the sky was red with flashing lights from emergency vehicles. The home two houses up from me was on fire and flames rising high into the sky. The damages to the home are sizable but repairable. Then “bam,” the house next to the burned house had a major explosion resulting in, apparent, substantial damage. What happened to Skyline Dr. and its back-road quietude? I feel deeply for the neighbors and their losses. This week has made up for many years of relatively uneventful living in the mountains.
Even though as I write it’s cold, snowing, and blowing like crazy, I’m imagining warmth and some comfort ahead. My love to all.
This is my birthday month, and I have been gifted with so much beauty. Exactly what I ask for, snow. It’s so deep and cold I really haven’t ventured out much – no skiing, no walking. I’m playing “elderly” and mostly looking out of the windows – especially at night. Its full moon and the reflection of moonlight that comes off the snow is stunning. Last night I awakened around 1:00am and thought my neighbors were shinning their headlights in my window. Good to see it was simply the natural grace of the night.
All over Bend roofs are collapsing. Early this morning Kenwood School’s gymnasium roof came down, Hooker Creek, and FedX too, so all schools are closed for inspections. Now the kids have had an entire week off because of the best weather ever.
This year Christmas decorating took back stage to the cleaning/showing routine I’ve fallen in to. Our house remains UNsold, although it showed last week for the 31st time. No greens or reds or Christmas colors can be found inside, but that which nature is offering OUTSIDE cannot be outdone. Yesterday as the sun was setting I discovered just outside my window a beautiful flocked tree with tiny lights nestled amongst its branches.
This morning as the sun came up over the ridge, there is was more flocking and my tree gleamed brilliant with new light.