Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Evocative remoteness summarizes the experience on The “Divide,” or the “Cat’s Back.” Located in a little visited corner of Wallowa County in NE Oregon, it provides some of the most beautiful country you will find anywhere in this nation. In 1885, sisters Daisy and Caroline Wasson came to live there on a homestead established by their parents. High, on an open ridge with spectacular views of the Wallowa and Seven Devils mountains, they spent ten years. Snowed in for six months of the years, they learned to sew from their mother, and do the multi varied tasks that made life bearable in the winter. In the summer, the place was magical. Daisy wrote about those who wondered how/why they could live in such “god forsaken” place: “I have a picture in my mind of Caroline, standing, listening. She has on a little white linen hat and she is holding her walking sticks, and leaning a little forward. I watch her, and then after a little bit ask what she is doing. ‘I hear music,’ she answers, ‘when I am real still and look at the mountains. I hear it.’
“If we don’t allow God to address the deep levels of our attachment to ourselves and to our programs of happiness, we will put into the world the negative elements of our self-centeredness, adding to the conflicts and the social disasters that come from over identifying with the biases and prejudices of our particular culture and upbring.” Fr Thomas Keating
Boy Scouts from La Grande Troop 514, led by Dr Koza and myself, enjoyed a most excellent June Friday/Saturday backpack trip to Strawberry Lake. The trailhead is out of Prairie City OR, about a two and a half hour drive from La Grande. The hike is a gentle mile and a half. The boys worked extremely well together, setting up tents, hiking up to Strawberry Falls, cooking dinner (backpackers thanksgiving from scratch) and breakfast (pancakes and sausage), retiring a flag, and playing a great game, “Terrain.” It was an exceptional time together.
I know it is often hard to feel or recognize, but God’s light is always there so we can bloom into the unique persons He has created!
Before leaving the Chalk Basin, Michael and I took one last hike. This hike took us cross county to an area above the lower Owyhee River knows as the chalk cliffs. On the float trips I have made on the lower Owyhee river, we have camped below these formations on the second night of rafting. I have always want to see this area from above. I finally fulfilled that desire.
PS I did successfully drive the Cherokee out to the road, although not as boldly as Michael 🙂
“Teach me, O Lord, to make room for you in all the events and activities of my days. Then I shall find rest. Then I shall be at peace with my self and with you.” Norman Shawchuck
Sunday began with the kind of sunrise that spoke peace and oneness and concluded with a sunset that invited deep sleep. In between, Michael and I made a major hike through gullys and canyons amidst incredible ash and rock formations. The rain that had challenged us driving here left trickles of water in what are normally dry washes. The air was cool, the damp “dry” wash walk refreshing.
We reached the Owyhee river and ate lunch. I napped while Michael fished. Afterwards we discovered an exciting canyon with the most intriguing and colorful formations we had seen that day. Definitely like Moab, UT, but without the crowds.
Michael found a beautiful agate thunder egg. He hauled this thirty pound rock back to our campsite as my Father’s Day gift. What an outstanding son! Scott, the man we had extricated from the mud hole (see the first Chalk Basin post) came over before dinner. We enjoyed a wide ranging discussion about the presence of God in our lives, and the transformational nature of His deep love for us.