When sunlight goes wild on a late afternoon heading east through Oregon’s John Day Valley, the horizon blackens in the held fury of the storm ahead. In the slant of golden light is the awakening of present beauty, sharpened by the looming clouds above and the promise of impending rain.
Each color ravishes your senses. The yellow of leafless willow trees billowing skyward sails into your eyes. The scarlet of red osier dogwoods flings cherries into your startled open mouth. The white of crisscrossing telephone wires stitches your skin and the green of junipers gins your taste buds.
Early April in eastern Oregon is the time of flowing sap, buds like clasped prayer hands, of biscuit roots pressing first leaves upwards from thawing soil, of greening bunchgrass, of calves trotting after mama cows in valley pastures by flooding rivers, and of pronghorn, mule deer and elk feasting on all that is green and growing after a long winter.
It’s the time of winnowing snipe playing tail feather music in air scented in sagebrush, of meadowlarks belting out break-your-heart arias from fence posts, and courting kingfishers ensnaring your soul with every staccato call played upon wilderness-fed waters.
Wild sunlight accentuates the spring like a lover’s long lingering kiss. Wrapped in a wild embrace of colors, your whole body cries out–stay! Instead, you keep forging east toward the forbidding clouds anticipating the downpour that quenches desire.
That’s when another facet of wild sunlight dazzles its jeweled self. The air fills with raindrops. The sunlight reflects and refracts and reveals its wildest self in the rainbow on the other side of Prairie City.
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