My friend Donna Higgins from Halfway, Oregon, just sent me an email of welcome to my new home in La Grande, Oregon. We’re at last living within 100 miles of each other. Her words resonated of “time change, season change,” and ending with “namaste.”
I fold my hands together, bow my head and repeat the Hindu word of namaste that translates, “I bow to the divine in you.” I feel the divine in this day of time change, of springing forward in a new life as March wild weather romps throughout my beloved northeast Oregon, the home I left in the late 1980s, yet never left in my heart.
Yes, I’m still the roving gypsy naturalist in my Alcyon camper. Yes, I will always love Missoula and my friends there, but I’ve come home. Today, as the great gray clouds lowered, showered rain, and then lifted to expose the brilliance of sun upon snow-covered Wallowa mountains, I saw my first kingfisher flying and calling its rollicky melody above the fast-flowing Grande Ronde River.
Walking on well-trodden elk trails with my friend Jean Mckern among the ponderosas, larches, and firs below Mt Emily, we noted the fuzzy green arnica leaves unfolding like praying hands on the forest floor. We knelt to touch the budding yellow bell wildflowers.
Yesterday, I ran headfirst into the bracing winds along Foothills Road by Ladd Marsh where northern harriers glided above flooded meadows and ponds graced by pintails, mallards, and a pair of sandhill cranes too.
The nature here is as grand as the name of the town, and already in this first week, I feel refreshed, renewed, and as ready as the arnica flower to open my arms wide to the creative possibilities among the wonderful people I know and am meeting every day. Here, in the ecosystem where I wrote my master’s thesis on Hells Canyon, where I joined others to campaign to save wilderness, and where I find great joy in the mountains and rivers, I’m leaping forward on this day of time change.