Monday, December 31, 2012


Sitting in my Subaru, sunroof open with a brisk 30 degree temperature washing in from outside--body bundled up in a ski coat and a scarf. Despite my hiking boots and wool socks, my toes felt tender and cold.

In front of me is a rock barricade serving as a reminder to visitors that beyond its wall the earth drops 100 feet into a canyon, home of Lake Billy Chinook. The lake sits protected in between the steep canyon walls and measures about 300 feet at her deepest point. This lake is my element. It is here that I learned how to slalom ski, spend countless summer days on our boat with family and friends, and drive her often enough to know her every bend and turn. I've never felt a more present calm excitement with anything else than I have with this lake.

Right now the lake is collecting the surrounding run-off snow, growing colder and colder as it waits for the Spring season. In May when we de-winterize the boat it is always hard to jump back into her waters, but she knows we can't resist. Throughout the years we've learned how cold her bite can be as your body submerges and she wraps her wicked cold arms around you. As a skier, you can't straighten your ropes and get your ski on fast enough! But by late August, her waters welcome you like a warm drawn bath.

Being that it is December, it clearly is too cold to play in her right now (hell, it's damn near too cold to play around her), so I witness her beauty from afar on a rest area bluff near our home. Directly in front of me is Mt. Jefferson; Prominent and tall against the blue skies. A small ring of clouds surrounds the base of the mountain, I've decided that it looks like a small white tulle tu-tu. As I study the mountain and it's cloud tu-tu, I feel the sun warm the left side of my face, channeling it's rays in from the southwest. I've come here to write, and to allow myself to just get lost mentally.

Thanks to the snow covered ground though, I can't seem to stay concentrated enough to write for more than 30 minutes without jumping out of my heated car to go play in the snow. I am the only one around for at least a mile, maybe more. I dance around and write words in the snow, snapping photos left and right, knowing in my heart that my photos will never capture the essence and the joy that I am feeling. I also feel my cold toes though, hibernating in my wool socks. I am usually one to ride my boundaries and push through the cold, but I know that I have to cram these toes into ski boots come Sunday, so I need to listen to them when they say "Yo--I am cold--Stop prancing around and warm me up."

I texted Adrienne a picture of me alongside the lake and with just the text: "me and my lake"
Her response: "You look beautiful in your element."

I feel it that connection when I am out in my desert world, whether it be absorbed by sun or snow. I feel grounded within my element.

My phone vibrates as Adrienne sends me a photo of her dancing in a yogi-esque pose against the red rocks of Moab. I suddenly feel that she understands the exact elation that I feel now. Two Willamette Valley nerds who can't seem to escape the allure of the desert. There is definitely something about that desert sunshine despite the outside temperature.

The desert has a way of calling people home to their inner Self and spirit.

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