Dispatch from John Day National Monument, Oregon Territory. Blue skies; powder of snow. To our right, the Ochoco Mountains. To the left, the flaming colors of the Painted Hills. Jack’s head is laid up against Steve’s thigh, and Steve’s hand is gentle as he strokes the black fur. The trip begins.
Do It Yourself Travel is the name of this game. We have maps and a general concept of where we are going. Daylight and weather are the rulers of our daily schedule. Time elongates into its unbroken river, no longer contained and braided into roaming channels. Problem is, back home, with those sneaky diversions, you can get stuck and lose sight of the flow altogether. That’s the purpose of this journey. To remember this: we walk in beauty. This trek is to put our lives back into that context.
We are Forest Dwellers. Using the Vedic Yoga model of the four stages of human existence is helpful. A term like “retired” says nothing of the questions in our souls nor the longings of our bodies. We are no longer front-and-center in the dance—but we are still required. We have cut loose for the winter to discern what is needed in our world now, and how to best serve this need while inhabiting the reflective last third of our lives. We still have the physical ability to do this: use the van for our home, pee outside, travel the miles and sleep in new places. The vagabond lifestyle is both mellow and challenging. Time now to enjoy the American landscape and meet the people that our media never talks about.