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Glad to be back home

I needed a change of scenery. It’s odd, my almost cyclical impatience with the status quo, which inevitably leads to a getaway.

How can I be discontented with the beautiful surroundings of our valley, especially during the color riot of spring? Trying on other locales like shoes, tromping around in them until my feet hurt, and treating myself to the exhilaration of re-entry seems to temporarily cure. Sometimes I yearn to be home again before I leave, and ask myself why I decided to go. I know. I’m at peace with my strangeness because I’m stuck.

My friend and fine artist, Lane Hall, was up for Signature Membership and a high-level medal in the American Watercolor Society’s 149th Exhibition in New York City. There was to be an award banquet at the famed Salmagundi Club, and he thought he should attend, so I decided to tag along and carry the luggage. Just kidding.

I exchanged my yard full of firs and sycamores for skyscrapers and traded relative solitude for eight million people and yellow cabs. Spending a few days there is like a mega vitamin B shot. The surrounding energy is tangible, but I never suffered from claustrophobia. The sidewalks are wide and the residents are practiced dodgers. The sun shone over us in a clear, blue sky, and in Washington Square Park Larry the Birdman’s pigeons flew to him with his Yankee call, “Charge!” Opal landed on my arm to her disappointment, because I had no seed to offer.

There were nightmarish flight cancellations, delays and missed connections on the return trip, the details of which I will spare you except to say, always pack extra underwear. Oh, and there was the time we sat while the port authorities escorted four bad people off our plane. Freaky. We twiddled our thumbs as they fished out their luggage from the plane’s belly and filled out paperwork. I’ll spend a couple of weekends filling out insurance forms, trying to get reimbursement for the extra expenses incurred while “stuck” in NY, but the Met wasn’t horrible solace.

There’s something about being prevented from going home that crystallizes the saying, “home is where the heart is.” Mine obviously beats for my old Southern Oregon manse, and flying over the Siskiyou Mountains on a fresh Tuesday morning in April, their topknots white from a healthy snow, and with recent challenges vanquished, I teared up. Of course, I was running on three hours’ sleep.

Green was the new red carpet spread below. All that rain. Though I couldn’t see them, I knew the Table Rocks lifted a wildflower assortment toward us. I wondered why anyone would want to live anywhere else.

And speaking of the Table Rocks, the Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management team up to present free guided hikes to the public. The April 30 hike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is at Lower Table Rock, with the title, “Nature on the Rocks, Celebrating 30 Years of Environmental Education.”

On Sunday, May 1 at 9 a.m., Robert Kentta will give a talk on “Tribal History and Culture” at Lower Table Rock. The same day at 1:30 on Upper Table Rock, Doug and Marina Kendig will present, “Caminata Familiar en espanol” for Spanish speakers. Hikes are free, but registration is required. Register online at http://TableRockHikes2016.eventbrite.com or call the BLM for more information at 541-618-2200.

I enjoyed the big-city pulse, even though the three days I’d planned to be away stretched to five and felt like 20. Weeds nodded at me as I rolled up the drive. My, how they’d grown. But purple iris stood like a welcome-home bouquet. Until the next nudge to adventure, there’s no place like my Southern Oregon home.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.