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The noise of the neighboring freeway is the first thing to enter my awareness. Impressions: traffic, big trucks, non-stop, early, dark, brrrr.  We’d stopped here the previous night after dark. It was easier to take this hotel just off the highway than to look for something off the beaten track as we might have done had it been earlier in the day.

The morning is cold, and a deep fog fills this valley.  I leave the hotel room with Kona-the-dawg and find big stretches of empty parking spaces behind a big empty shopping center.  We walk a bit, looking for a good poop place, and find more pavement instead of the wide open fields Kona likes to run in.  We seem to have stopped in Cement City.  Car windows are frozen over and our breath forms clouds in the crisp air.  Kona walks close at heal, low-key this morning, as if he knows we’ve left the open wild spaces and his runs will again be curtailed, leashed, close.


Kona in the light of sunrise - La Pine, Oregon

We’ve been traveling these past couple of weeks, loving the open spaces of high desert country, connecting with good people, soaking up the sun in the last warm days before winter settles in.  Now we’ve crossed west over the mountains, and head north.

“Where are you going?” asked the hotel clerk at check-in.  “South to someplace warm?”  His question is hopeful: he would like a warmer climate, he tells me when I ask him about living here.   No, I tell him, watching him shake his head with disappointment. We are heading north, to cold, wet Washington State.  We will spend the winter there, a sort of reverse snow birding. Wet and waterlogged maybe, but warmed by welcoming family.

We have been given a gift.  A gift of time, a gift of space. Technically homeless, we have been offered a home for the winter.  We will rediscover family, work here a while, write a bit.  An opportunity for healing, for growth, for renewal.  Life is shifting; it is a transitional time.  We are in a waiting pattern.   Anything can happen.  Possibilities are endless, and endless possibilities can lead to unexpected opportunities.

The fog begins to thin itself out. Sun reaches through the thick clouds, revealing a cold blue sky.  We are back on the road, moving toward our winter place.  Light changes as we drive, patterns shift, form, and re-form.

I am momentarily filled with wonder, and grateful for whatever will reveal itself on this new day, in this new life.

mt bachelor - a view from central Oregon
Mt Bachelor from Central Oregon – reflecting the morning light