(I got this amazing photo here)
My Dear Hubby is an amazingly intuitive man. He has a keen sense of knowing when I'm reaching the end of my rope and am in need of some 'me' time. Or at least some 'down' time. Where no one can reach me. No one can interrupt me. I'm left alone to enjoy a day in peace and quiet. Sometimes those days are ones where I'm left at home alone...but those are so rare I hardly even know what that feels like any more. So when he suggested we take a drive up into the Mt. Hood National Forest and go for a campfire/picnic yesterday, I was all for it.
We left at 6 am and traveled up the Columbia River Gorge highway, heading east to The Dalles. We watched the sun come up as we drove along. Hardly another vehicle on the highway. Once we got east of Hood River the Columbia was as smooth as glass...the play of Nature's lights did tricks on the mind and the eyes. You couldn't tell where the shoreline began and everything shimmered in subtle shades of mauve and lavender. I saw a couple of pelicans, sea birds I've never spotted before so far upriver - about 160 miles from the ocean - floating peacefully in a sheltered cove. As we reached The Dalles and headed south into north central Oregon, the rolling hills of fruit orchards, the contrast of green grass and bleached-out stubble from winter grass and grain crops, the dips and swoops of the highway as it meandered thru the landscape, began to ease the stress in my shoulders. I could feel myself begin to relax. I knew I'd been stressed and tired...but until that moment I hadn't realized how much.
We turned off on to a gravel road. One of probably thousands I've traveled on thru the woods and desert with Dear Hubby the past 36 years. We saw deer run across the road. We saw a Canada goose perched on a rock outcropping...probably protecting a nest. Hawks glided lazily above. We eventually found the spot we'd had a similar campfire/picnic at several years ago and set up our day camp. We got a big, warm campfire started. I sat down to read and keep the fire burning, and Dear Hubby took off with his longbow for a 'walkabout'.
It was a little cool at first but as the sun began to creep steadily higher and shone down on me thru the pine and fir branches, I took off my coat and soaked in the warm rays. I got lost in my book, listened to a woodpecker high in a tree overhead tap-tapping for his breakfast. And before I knew it, Dear Hubby was back. We started a big pot of coffee on the Coleman stove. We roasted hotdogs on the fire. We had a lovely feast.
Another walkabout. A book finished, another started. Time to pack up and go home. Another beautiful drive down the Columbia, back to Portland and reality.
As we sat in the living room last nite Dear Hubby told me, "I've taken a lot of trips and done a lot of things with different friends thru the years but I've never enjoyed any of them as much as I enjoy spending a day like today with you."
The first day of Spring.
Love still blooms.