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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Oasis

In my family, Sunday has been a day of church and rest.  However, after church, Mom decided it was time to go exploring.  We hit the road north, to visit Palouse Falls.

The Palouse area was formed by a series of lava flows from a large volcanic fissure, somewhere north (possibly Montana; scientists aren't sure).  However, during the Missoula floods. canyons were created.  New Zealand is not short of waterfalls but these falls, even in late summer are specatular. 

The area surrounding the falls dry; surrounded by tumbleweeds and sage brush.  But here, in the middle of this dry, desolate place springs life.  Tall trees line the lovely river and the air feels heavy with humidity.

There are a series of pools above the falls and people were swimming happily, escaping the summer heat.  The desert is a place of calm, subtle beauty but here, life springs everywhere.  We see a baby coyote dash across the path quickly and little prarie dogs scatter into the rocks.  This area almost has a magical quality to it.

We returned from Palouse Falls feeling refreshed.  The next day was a day of planning and packing (I always seem to be doing one or the other).  My friend Amy Cherry drove from Portland to visit, to catch up and tell each other stories about our lives.

Later, my brother Chris, Michele (his wife) and little Vincent came to visit us.  We ate babyback ribs, corn and blue berries with rice crispy treats for dessert.

The day continued on with a nice soak in the hot tub and good discussions with mom.  The next day, Dad and I ventured out to complete the last of the shopping for the trip and had breakfast at a Tri-Cities institution: Shari's.

We then traveled to the retirement homes.  My parents own 5 assisted living facilities, which have between 6-8 patients each.  I was 16 when my parents poured all of their money and time into the first of the two homes. I remember the first several years as being rough for the parents; the rules and regulations of Washington State were almost crippling to businesses.  However, my parents persevered and the little Legacy Homes empire has expanded to include fairly advanced facilities, with exercise and beauty spa rooms, physical therapy suites and other deluxe facilities.  What touched me was to see all the good work my parents do, everyday, with a full staff and Chris and Michelle happily helping along.

Finished the day with a nice cactus salad (which I had never tried before but YUM!) and...more packing.  I'm really looking forward to my next jump to Seattle, where I get to visit with my cousin and other friends for ONE NIGHT ONLY and then Cleveland, to visit my long time friend Mike.  And then NYC...And then...sigh...too much to think about!

My time here has been healing, with plenty of rest and reflection.  I didn't realise how much I deeply needed to return to my roots before taking off again on my journey.  They say that the things you run away from persist and I think there is truth to that.  For a long time, I did feel like I was running away from here; but now I feel like I have made peace with this place, my family and the desert.  I can now close this chapter of my life and look forward with excitement to what lies ahead.