The Sage in Bloom

Or How I play Hooky: Sacajawea in Bronze

Most writers need a day when a loved one surgically removes them from the computer and takes them elsewhere. My husband recognizes my symptoms of needing a break before I do. Severe conditions usually manifest as bouts of tears and throwing things. Before I get that bad I usually find myself sitting in the car with hat, camera, dark glasses, and picnic supplies before I realize what is happening. My head is still in “the book,” whichever book I’m writing.

Since hubby retired, day trips around Oregon have become our hobby. If I am crying and throwing things it will be an overnight trip. I can tell how badly I need the trip by how far we drive before my lungs inflate fully on their own. This last trip I hit a near record of 30 miles.

One of our favorite jaunts is to drive the Mt Hood loop, over the mountain to the Columbia River and the Gorge and back home. We love the Gorge.

Sometimes we go a bit further with a side trip, like The Dalles, Oregon. There is a sweet little historical museum in town, but on the edge of town overlooking the river itself is The Discovery Center. They have a permanent exhibit about Lewis and Clark who passed through here in 1807, (see photo above from sculptures in Cascade Locks, west of The Dalles on the Columbia River) as well as other geological, ecological, and historical exhibits about the river and the growth of agriculture and industry. But outside are the real treasures, including an 8 mile paved trail into downtown The Dalles, pioneer cabins, fish ponds, signed nature trails, and a pair of eagles that were too badly injured to ever be released into the wild again. They are slightly removed from the other exhibits and not available for photo ops except during organized walks. Next trip I will make sure we are there in time for a tour of their habitat.

In mid-April the place is alive with wild flowers and the scent is heady. You know the phrase “The sage in bloom is like perfume…” Only this is not Texas, just the high desert Columbia River plateau.

We chose to go home by way of the river rather than back over the mountain. This route demanded a stop in Cascade Locks to stretch and change drivers. In summer a sternwheeler plies the waters of the upper river, above Bonneville dam. We’ve done that before. On this last trip we didn’t want to spend the time or money. Instead we said hello to the bronze sculptures.

My kitty wants to be this last critter when he grows up.

And then we came home and I was refreshed and breathing deeply. So I went back to work on my next novel.


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.

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