One Week on the River


I sit out here on my deck. I am looking at my Chaco tanned feet, feeling the wind as it whirls around me in my underwear. I have a drink, the last of the couple I poured, and can neither see or hear another human being. 

Cache Creek, Oregon

I took a brief hike today. This was the first time I got off this property since I landed one week ago. I have been tired and excited and scared and hot and sweaty. Last night I went into the bedroom sometime after 7:00 pm. I put on my jammies and lay on the bed, telling myself I did not have to fall asleep, but just rest. I have been dragging, tired from the physicality and the heat and not eating right. I lay there and, sure enough, I feel asleep. I have not been sleeping well, due to the heat and the isolation and the light and the unfamiliar surroundings. There is light until late, just after 10:00, and it picks up again around 0400. I am extremely sensitive to the light. So, I lay on the bed and told myself to rest. Gladly, I slept. My body and my mind needed to rest. Just rest. 

I woke sometime in the middle of the night and went pee. Then, I reached to my upper arm as I felt something, and something was there. I freaked, threw it off me and lost my shit a bit. It was something, but I never found it. I got the flashlight and looked around, then got the blanket off the floor. I have a thing with unknown things in my bed. I hate unmade beds and things on the floor and bugs and… well, you get the idea. At this point I am even in a house and not the tent. Shit, bugs are everywhere. 

I got my flashlight and walked around the house. I was anxious due to the thing that was on me and never found. I shined the light outside, and saw not one thing. The sky was overcast, so no stars to look at. I had been in bed about eight hours. It was still dark and I knew I needed to continue my rest. I knew I was not done. I started an audiobook to help. It did and I was not up until 0600 in the morning. Damn, that was nearly 12 hours in bed. But, I felt better. I felt more rested and my muscles had calmed down and I was not dragging. I have been pushing myself, working hard because I want to, and doing things I should do. I have been working in the heat and working all day long. I needed to rest. 

Thankfully, the morning was cool and overcast. Hike!! I had not left this property since I arrived, as I take my responsibilities very seriously and had not really had time to mess around. I put on a tank, sports bra, pants and hiking boots. I got my trekking poles and set out. I went up this runway, which was way overgrown. Literally, a landing strip for small planes. That is how they rolled back in the day. I then started over the hills, with no trail or real destination. I had an 0830 check in time that I did not want to miss. I decided to walk until then. I found an old barn of some sort, which I later learned was a domestic sheep shearing shed. I then saw a little group of deer with a couple nice looking bucks, and turned around when I found what looked like a turkey kill. Shit, I forgot to pack a gun. I got spooked and turned back. No big cat was going to get me unarmed. 

I returned to the house in time for my 0830 check-in call, changed into more public friendly clothes, and started the rest of my day. The maintenance crew came and installed a new walkway, the tour boats started to arrive. I got an invitation to tag along for a couple hours. This tour did not go far, just about 90 minutes up and 60 minutes back. FUCK YES I wanted to come along! I felt guilty leaving, but closed up the house and heard the words of the staff that encouraged me to take advantage if offered. The ride was fun and a rush and beautiful and educational and awesome in all ways. These tourist-types just sat there and I was hanging off the boat the entire time! It was like dirt bike riding but on the water. 

When I got back there was another tour crowd, so I fell back into work mode and talked and guided them around. The maintenance crew had left and now it was my job to paint the walkway. Fine, that is what I am here for, right? OH, but wait, there are presents in the house!!!  The other tour company took heed to my request and brought my fresh fruit!! Not just any fruit, but mango and cherry and apples and grapes. They went all out and I am giddy with excitement at the offering. In fact, I ate quite a bit in honor or their arrival. I will thank them properly next run.

I spent the next few hours preparing for my painting project, visiting with tourists and eating. I skipped lunch to ride the river, and I am glad of the choice. I had a ball and loved it. It was me and a young girl who were hanging off the boat, putting our hands in the water, and sticking our heads in the wind. I mean, why not? Feel this water, feel the wind, smell the air and totally live in this moment. You may never get it again. If the Pilgrim is to walk away from that which s/he doe not love, then s/he is to run screaming and jumping into that which s/he does love! I was all in and it was amazing. 

Hillside from the boat trip.

Here I now sit out on the deck of this remote place. I am feeling the wind and hearing the river and seeing the clouds and the sky and I am smelling the air and tasting the cherries there were delivered to me earlier today. I have painted the walkway and watered the grass and cleaned the floors. I have hiked the grassland and felt the water on my hands as I rode the rapids. I have seen deer and sheep and turkey and quail and chukars and snakes. I have eaten apricots and blackberries. I have slapped off spiders and earwigs and moths and God knows what other bug that has landed on me.

I am amazed and humbled and lonely and sated all at the same time. I am in awe of this place and these hills and this river. I am washing my clothes in the sink and working my ass off when the tour boats arrive. I want to give them a nice place, a good place, a unique place, a one-of-a-kind place when they land. I am as alone as alone can be, and yet, I am inundated with people on a daily basis. I am out of touch with the outside world and uncaring at the same time. 

If you ever get the chance to be somewhere that is totally nowhere, for FUCK SAKE take it! Do it once. Even if it scares you, or thrills you, or you are not sure. Do it one time in your life to see, to challenge yourself, or to tap that deepest part of who you think you are. Just once be where there is no one else. Be where you are totally and unequivocally alone. Your voice is the only voice amidst the sounds of the water and the wind and trees. You see only the sky and the clouds and the hills and and whatever it is that surrounds you. Be with the bugs and the wildlife and the howls and the screams of the night. Remind yourself what and who and why you are. Be completely and totally alone. Just once. 

View from my deck.


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