Monday, September 5, 2016

Desert Rat.

I've become a desert rat.

Who knew?

All I need is to grow my beard out and get myself a burro and the transformation will be complete. Maybe get a pick-axe and start searching for the Lost Blue Bucket Gold Mine.

There are an endless number of trails, and I'm trying them out one by one. I have my favorite about 12 miles out of town where there is hardly ever anyone else, for when I want to get my four miles in and also write.

But when I can, I search for new trails further out into the high desert.

There is something zen about it. Peaceful and relaxing. My mind can settle into a creative groove and not worry about anything else.

I suppose some people might find the terrain tedious, but I find there is a certain beauty in it. I grew up traipsing around outskirts of Bend, never thinking anything of it. While my Mom concentrated on creating an English garden in the middle of this desert, Dad and I went hunting or fishing in the woods.

It got into my blood somehow.

If you had asked me 30 years ago whether I preferred the mountains, woods and lakes--or the high desert--I'm sure I would have chosen the former.

But I can go anywhere I want for my walks, and I almost always chose the desert. It's more solitary, somehow. More peaceful.

I'm just a desert rat, I guess.

It's interesting that my first book published was Led to the Slaughter, a western horror novel with a strong element of the real events. It got me in the mood; or perhaps my affinity for the west is what led me to the book.

I've turned into my Dad, who always had an interest in the old west. I didn't think I had that, though I enjoyed the occasional western novel. Dad even had theory about the Lost Blue Bucket Mine that got published in the local paper, the Bulletin. I came across it when I was researching. He contention was that you could draw a longitudinal graph of gold finds and where it crosses the path of the Lost Meek Cutoff wagontrain is where you'd find the mine. Of course they were wandering lost, so it's a guess.

It could be hundreds of square miles. Walking in the high desert with its endless hills and gullies makes you realize what a hopeless quest that is.

Anyway, it's become a habit. Sometimes I wish I had more of a memory for the names of these places. I had some friends growing up who always knew these things. Me...I just go places and later I may even have trouble finding where I went.

I probably should learn the names of the places, the plant life, all of that. But I just wander obliviously, lost in my own little world.

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