along the Deschutes (part 2)

The road heading West was long, unassuming and empty. After a few miles of travel, I pull the car off to the side, strap on my pack, and walk into the wilderness.
I’ve no idea where the trail leads.
A couple of miles in, I hear the faint sound of rushing water, which I hope to be the mighty Deschutes river. I need the life force of this valley to be by my side on my walkabout.
The waters here go from narrow, rushing rapids at the bottom of a deep canyon gorge to a flooding, wide open plain.
I watch birds nest in the flooded plains, hold my imaginary son’s hand on the canyon’s edge.
At mile five or six I measure the amount of drinking water I have left, trying to gauge how far to continue before I must turn back.
My mind starts to play tricks on me out here in the open landscape.
I strap on protection from the unseen dangers that may be lurking around the next bend in the trail.

I find a perch high above the raging water below and get a bite to eat, calming the rampant paranoia that was overwhelming the conscious mind.

A paddle boarder slowly comes into view from behind a tree.

A dog with his owner are playing fetch with a stick.

A man on a mountain bike rides past me in ambiguity.

I watch the rushing water in slow motion, looking for salmon running upstream, or perhaps the glimpse of a greater truth in the water droplets as they dance in mid-air.

I see nothing, which perhaps is everything. I listen to that truth.

Can you hear it too?

The Deschutes river goes from a raving mad rush to a stillness that reflects everything. I come to the edge and look down, deep into the clear and picturesque landscape that is being reflected before me.

I realize that this here, this moment, is all I was wanting, searching for, hoping to find.

I feel a smile of contentment form across my tired and weary face….

and follow the Road home again.

 

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?