December 11, 2011

On an Icy Day in Oregon

 Crossing the Cascade range today on state route 58 in Oregon, we were heading west, from the high desert regions south of Bend, over to the balmier I-5 corridor near the coast.

At the highest point of 5000 feet, we ran into fog, though it felt almost more than fog. The mist is so heavy and damp here, it seems to want for more of a name than just fog. Maybe it has one. I don't know.
 Sunny skies from half a mile back down the mountain soon were completely obliterated by a heavy cloud of freezing mist that was doing it's best to encase everything in a frozen crust of ice.
 Further down the mountain, the fog had lifted, but the sunny skies were no more.
 We made our way down the mountain, meandering along, taking our time because we only had 200 miles to go today in order to deliver Monday morning.
About half way down the mountain I discovered that I had forgotten to keep an eye on Paris, who was lounging in the floor of the sleeper, delightedly accessing her bandaged leg and removing more stitches (another story in and of itself...these past weeks have been a test of my patience in so many ways.) The road was winding so I asked Malcolm to find somewhere to pull off so I could re bandage the leg, and we'd just go ahead and let the girls out while we were stopped since their last break had been a while.

The place he found to pull off the road.
 Leg bandaged, dogs relieved and back inside the warm truck, I told Malcolm I wanted to get out and take a few pictures.

These last days, no weeks really, have truly been a battle of wills within  myself, at the center of which has been a river of feelings, mostly centered around uselessness, unfulfilled, empty. Thus the lack of blog posts. I wake up in the morning thinking "I should blog today" and by the end of the day absolutely nothing has inspired me or felt noteworthy. The same can be said for pictures. I used to love taking pictures, but lately I see nothing worth the effort of getting the camera out and looking through the lens at.

But moss laden trees in the picture above seemed to insist that the effort be put forth for at least a few pictures.

I'm glad they put their roots down and insisted that I come out of the truck to do the job. One step forward, and a glimpse down the ravine, and a few more steps became absolutely necessary.
 The path was short, but steep and rocky, and everything was encrusted in a thin layer of ice. And as I stepped down onto the first slippery moss covered icy rock, I realized how long it's been since I did something like this. I've become afraid of falling and get nervous walking down even a grassy slope unless I have Malcolm's hand to hold. When did that happen and why?

Here I was stepping down onto cushions of icy wet leaves covering rocks I couldn't really see, feeling my feet on unsteady ground, feeling my nerves get edgy and my confidence wane and I didn't like it. I almost turned back, only one step in.
 But that's part of the problem. I'm tired of feeling like I'm not participating in life, seeing it slide by my window and not being apart of it, missing out on things. That's been a huge part of my self-inflicted misery of the past days, feeling sorry for myself because we miss out on so much. And I sit around blaming the truck and our career of choice. But realistically, I guess a great deal of the problem is not so much the truck, though it does complicate participation in many things. It's me. I have taken a truck load of things I want to do and can't really because of the position I'm currently in, and let it become a weight around my neck, holding me back. The reality is, yes I'm missing out on things, but while I sit around feeling sad for what I'm missing, I'm loosing opportunities that I only have because of what we're doing!
 I think I need to make myself get out of the truck more and climb down more icy paths more often. The reward is worth the momentary feelings of discomfort and uncertainty.
  And though I will still regret what I'm not able to do because we're on the road and not at home, I hate to think one day I'll be home instead of on the road and look back and regret not taking the opportunities I had that are no longer.
Each cautious step down that slippery path revealed one after another beckoning to take a closer look through the lens. I really should do this more often. I've missed my camera.

That 5 minutes that I was out of the truck, with my camera in my hand, with minimal road noise because the creek was drowning it out, and all by myself, creeping out onto water's edge boulders that were mossy and icy so that I could get a limb free picture of the creek...
 I felt peaceful. I should climb down those icy banks to the water's edge more often.
 I have had a dark weekend, caved up inside myself, brooding and thinking and not much of it has been positive. But out of the darkness, there are a few points of light starting to emerge.
 And one of those is a re-realization that I'm missing out on more than what I'm pouting about missing out on.
 I don't think the dark thoughts are over. I  know they aren't because I haven't finished meshing through them all yet. But those 5 minutes among the icy leaves and ferns, I realized how much I've missed blogging and my camera.
 And I really hope that I can find motivation and inspiration to participate in this activity that I love so much. It has been a creative and social outlet for me, and I need to not let it fall to the wayside.

When I felt I'd spent as much time as I should in the creek bottom, though not as much as I would have liked (I would have stayed there all day) I climbed back up the bank, and got back in the truck, and showed Malcolm one of the pictures I'd taken that I thought I'd like a lot once it was on the computer and large enough to really see. He pulled out onto the road, and I got settled and pulled up facebook on the computer to put up a picture to share. And since I was on, I scrolled down the page to see what other's had to say today. And someone had posted this:

Kind of makes me feel like looking over my shoulder to see if there was someone there reading my thoughts these past days. The thing is, I know there was Someone doing just that.


Michaele said...

This is a beautiful post Sarah. As long as your eyes are wide open, as they are, and willing to see and learn, you will do just that. Thanks for sharing this with us. We all are fighting slumps this winter, I can tell even in the cheeriest of bloggers.

TexWisGirl said...

a nice dose of honesty from you today. even in the most perfect life, there is always want and desire for more. the restlessness, the angst, it all pushes us forward to the next phase of our lives. it's just uncomfortable getting there...

Jake said...

I totally understand what your going through, I'm kinda in the same place. Hang in there. Great pictures!

Muffy's Marks said...

Some days are darker than others. Hang in there. I have missed your blog, and your photos. I felt like I was in that truck right along with you. I hope you find it in you to get out of the truck daily and start snapping. Your blog makes my day/week.

Dreaming said...

I am in awe that you were so able to identify your feelings and then use your impromptu stop and your exploration to visually put it all together metaphorically. Your post was beautiful.

Dreaming said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. No decorations in the cab of the truck? Awww, come on.... I can just imagine what you could do while Malcolm is driving...swags of garland, with twinkly lights (oh, but not very bright), a very small tree in the sleeper (under which Paris could attack the bandage for yet another time)... maybe even one of those obnoxious motion activated Santas that begin singing some awful carol. Just think of the fun you could have!!
I hope you have a bit of time over the holidays to enjoy home!

wendywoo said...

I missed you when you weren't writing...Your pictures are beautiful, but your words...there is a book in your blog. You write beautifully, if you were to write a book about what you do, include your dogs, horses, home life, (abbreviated though you may feel it is), I would be the first one to buy it! I think everyone who reads your blog feels the same way, that's why we're here! Maybe you just need to change your perspective on things...think about it!

Anonymous said...

I love your posts about your traveling adventures. I know it is a hard life and I couldn't do it. I think mostly, I'd miss my bed! Hang in there as all your dark thoughts might be brought on by winter and the holidays. Betsy B

small farm girl said...

I've been where you are. The only say I can say is that when you come out on the other side of these feelings, you get a better feel for who you are and where you REALLY want to be. I hope your trip is a short one.

thecrazysheeplady said...

I second everyone else's comments!

Meagan said...

God delivers messages in many ways... even facebook! :-) No matter where one is or what one is doing, we all have our dark moments. :-) I just always remember that life is a journey not a destination and that if every day were wonderfully blissfull, then no days would stand out as blissfull anymore. :-) I love you and I CAN'T WAIT until we get to spend time together at new years!!!!

Pure Prairie Soap said...

Sarah, what a lovely and poignant post. We all have been where you are now with your thoughts, but not with your travels.

I speak for myself when I look at the horizon daily and wonder what is beyond it. Your photos of the Oregon countryside give me a glimpse into the world out there. Thank you for that.

Have a wonderful Christmas!