Springtime frolic - By Mizeta Moon

She had no luck at the casino but her room was nice and the sounds of waves crashing on the shore led to a good sleep. As she checked out in the morning, she decided to change her original plan to tour the southern coast and go east instead. She dropped down to Newport for a quick breakfast, noting that the harbor was wide and filled with colorful fishing boats gently bobbing, then filled the tank, bought some snacks for the road, and turned onto Highway 20 where in intersects US 101. Trees were blooming as she wound her way through the mountains, and water from melting snow made the creeks and rivers run swollen and fast. Moss hung everywhere and lichen-covered rocks stood quietly in the shadows. She paused in Philomath to shop at the thrift store and bought a great handbag for only five dollars, then rolled into the grassy fields between Corvallis and Albany. The lushness of the Willamette Valley was magnificent as clouds painted multi-colored patterns in the sky,

The fields around Sweet Home were filled with hay bales, cows, and rows of young starts that would be harvested throughout the year. She stopped on the road shoulder to take a picture of a weathered barn where a rusty tractor acted as a roost for a murder of crows, then started climbing into the Cascades. As she neared the crest of the pass leading through the stupendous snow-capped peaks, she marveled at the transition from the sedentary upheaval in the west to remnants of volcanic activity and completely different rocks. By the time she got to Sisters she needed to pee, did so, and almost topped off the tank but decided gas would be cheaper in Bend.

Whenever she was in Bend, she always had a beer at the Deschutes brewery, so lunch seemed in order before striking out for the high desert. As the day progressed, she passed by huge rock formations, piles of hardened lava spewed from the bowels of the earth, waving grasses and brush where quail, grouse, and pheasant roosted. All the while, several different breeds of raptors scoured the sky in search of prey on the ground. She wished she were like them, soaring on warm breezes and viewing miles and miles of sprawling beauty. By the time she reached Ontario, her back was tired but she was still elated by being able to transition through so many different environs in a single day.

She checked into a small motel, ate dinner, then gathered what she would need for a night of star gazing. A warm coat, a blanket, and a thermos of herbal tea. After parking near a small hill, she climbed to the top, spread her blanket, then lie looking at wonders of the universe not visible near bright city lights. She was rewarded by a meteor shower bursting into flames as they passed through the atmosphere after eons of travel through the vacuum of space. Like fireflies, they glowed for a moment, then fell to earth. The moon looked huge and the planets were so present she felt like she could reach up and touch them. Somewhere in the distance a coyote howled and an owl hooted in a gnarled nearby juniper tree. She almost fell asleep due to the peacefulness of the moment but the creeping night chill reminded her that would be foolish. Reluctantly, she rose, walked back to her car, then drove back to the room. As she pulled the covers around her, she thought that maybe a tour through the Columbia River Gorge in the morning would be a great way to end her frolic. Going back to work wouldn’t seem so tedious with memories of nature’s bounty still swimming in her head.     

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