This day is a journey, this very moment an adventure.
It had been about a year that JoAnne and I had dreamt of yellow fields. The type of fields that have countless little faces smiling toward the sun…
Back then, though, we had just missed the sunflower season. Next year, we said.
After my recent road trip through the south west, I found myself longing for the road again. With nothing to do and nothing planned for the weekend, I reached out to my good friend and sorority sister, JoAnne from J. S. Lee Studios. We had no idea whether we had missed the sunflowers yet again, but we took our chances and hopped on the road on an early Saturday morning.
It was such a warm summer in our Evergreen State. It felt like I never left the deserts of Utah/Arizona. And this day was just as hot. We stopped for our first roadside stop near the small town of Vantage.
Would you believe I grew up in the town that sits just 15 miles down the highway, and I had never once hiked to the Wild Horse Monument? My family and I must have driven past this place hundreds of times!
And I must have been asleep before finally waking up.
We immediately felt the heat emanating from the sand. Overlooking the Columbia River, I began to think just how different all of eastern and central Washington would be without this river. All but dead, dry earth.
We kept driving. Why was the day so hazy, we wondered?
On our way to Palouse Falls, I told JoAnne about Instagram’s favorite bus, #ThatNWBus. I low key laugh at these hash tags sometimes, because they are so witty.
I had no idea what the bus’s coordinates were or whether we’d be able to spot it from the road, but we kept our eyes peeled. How could we miss it? :)
This lonely little beauty. So cute and bright, yet worn. How many people had he met? Why had he been stranded here?
Hello little sir, nice to meet you. We’ve come to play with you if just for a few minutes…
Live without dead time, he told us.
We kept driving. The sky is getting hazier, we said to one another.
Why we decided to hike Palouse Falls on one of the driest, hottest days of the summer, I cannot say. But it was hot. It was so very hot.
When we reached the first water hole, it was as if we had reached the most beautiful desert oasis that would soon disappear into a cloud of dry sand. Like cartoons…Poof! It was all a mirage.
“Let’s go in,” I said to JoAnne. “What about our clothes?” she asked.
I don’t know whether it was the heat that had gotten to her head, or the fact that she knew I wouldn’t let her say NO, but it didn’t take much convincing before we both threw ourselves into the water hole.
Sitting under this cascading oasis under the blazing sun was the most euphoric feeling. EVER. God bless our Earth that provides…
We both agreed this would be the end of our Palouse Falls hike. We would come back when the days became cooler.
We kept driving. Is that fire on the side of the road?
We had found the source of the haze. You see, our state was experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons yet. And fires were spreading from mountaintops to countrysides. It was overwhelming to watch it unfold along the road.
But we kept driving. The sun would soon set.
I think we were both looking for a sea of yellow flowers. And after driving past Spokane and soon Deer Park, we began to think the flowers may have already been harvested. Bummer.
One last turn, we said. Maybe on the other side of the road, we said.
Maybe it was the haze that made them turn their little faces opposite side of the sun. Maybe they were getting ready to sleep as the sun set into the horizon…But there they were.
We squealed like nobody cared. And our hearts fluttered into tiny golden petals as we frolicked right alongside these beauties…
Though the ride was long and hot, there was just not enough road to keep us chatting about nothing and life. Some realizations are funny when they dawn on you.
Like the fact that sharing something so simple as a long car ride forces people to have meaningful conversations beyond the “Hey, how’s life? …Good, and You? …Same ol’, just work.” –the ask-and-response that so many of us are programmed to repeat in the midst of small talk. In a sense, sharing long car rides forces us to remember how to be human. How to connect and reconnect…
Maybe that just means we should hop on the road with friends more often, wouldn’t you agree? :)
Love & Magic,
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Stay curious, wild hearts!