I love the wind in the desert. It's strong outside on the Alvord now, and it makes my Fields Motel room cozy and a secure place to be with a great book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I bought for the trip and have wanted to read for years. I waited for the right time as the plot with its dynamics on love, infidelity, highly-developed characters with rich observations on life all suit me now. This gem by Milan Kundera: "Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress."
My personal composition "according to the laws of beauty" today was a poignant farewell to the amazing couple from Los Angeles, Louise and Lloyd. I shook his hand strongly to help him fight his tears of departure from Frenchglen, as I found a Harney County soul friend whose first visit here changed his life as mine was forever altered three years ago. The Mountain loved them, I knew; they had that blessed look that only a few of us carry with us after the Steens has stirred us with its magical embrace: You are my angel; return to me. And so I went back up there today and found new wonders in fog, thick fast-moving clouds, a fresh chill warmed by occasional rays of sun. I saw a perfect mountain bluebird. I took in each memory as it came and gained strength, and I also gained strength from J's passionate kisses goodbye. I told him he didn't know what they meant to me. A lot, but not enough and I hope my needy response didn't indicate otherwise to him.
Tonight I drove the 25 miles one way to Denio Junction for dinner. I saw a rainbow over the desert, turned the car around to come back for my camera, then turned it around again because I knew I'd lost the photo op. So what, it's no biggie to miss one picture? Nope, I am sorry because it was a magnificent sight. I played a few slots, lost about $4 all told and drove back over the state border. Man, each way tugs at me and each side has formed me. 1)"Welcome to Nevada - the Silver State" 2)"Welcome to Harney County" (actually I think it just says "Entering Harney County," less yee-haw and more factual).
I don't know if this makes sense, but coming into Nevada from Oregon I don't feel I come with a wealth of qualities to offer, except, of course, a deep environmentalism. But entering Oregon after touching base with Nevada I feel I offer up all of me, including my sad inner-child, my worldliness, my sin, my confessions, the lost me, the silent one, the sister of the desert, the laughing rowdy dancer, my anger justified, my desire unquenchable, my love inscrutable, my soul refreshed in solitude, the unbearable lightness of being borne and celebrated.
Photos by Lydia:
- windmill between Fields, OR and Denio, NV
- ancient petroglyph writing on rock near Malheur Wildlife Refuge, Frenchglen
- Fields, Oregon (population 86) store/cafe/gas (tiny motel not shown)
- young black angus at play
- Historic Frenchglen Hotel (population in Frenchglen approx. 12)
- Steens Mountain summit 9773', Wildhorse Lake, Nevada's Pueblo Mountains in background
- Road between Fields, OR and Denio, NV
- Entering Nevada and Denio
- View from Frenchglen of gentle-sloping west rim of Steens Mountain, with Keiger Gorge notch visible