Home in the Sticks

"Seriously, the biggest pain was getting to fucking Newark. I took two trains, a light rail and had to deal with dudes with M-16s at security," I explained while pulling a blackberry vine out of the thigh of my chinos. "The plane ride was no problem."

"Gotta love New Jersey... The trail starts in a little bit," Tim (my little brother) said between yawns as he pushed the chest high bushes aside. Ever vigilant for the sharp barbs of a blackberry vine he distractedly asked, "What time is it?"

"7:13 AM"
"Damn." Tim sighed, attempting to act annoyed at his early arousal but telegraphing his affection and excitement to share the attention of empty-nested parents.
Craving the starry nights, fresh fruit, company of my family and the feel of the outdoors, I left my office in Manhattan some twelve hours earlier and set off for the northwest for the first time in 10 months.

Waking up with a jolt as the plane made its initial approach to the Portland International Airport, I jammed my face against the window. Looking for familiar fixtures, I quickly made out the hills where I went to high school and the highways where I drove to and from Mt. Hood. With a smile, I grabbed my Alder Springs backpack from under the seat in front of me and eagerly charged by the friendly Continental staff.

The following morning, I woke early. Energized by the morning's light and the excitement of my nostalgic surroundings, I scrambled up the stairs to bother my brother in the method known only to older siblings.

"Rise and Shine it's butt whipping time!" I bellowed as I barged through the door, grabbing his Pendleton blanket and ripping it off in one motion.

"The light's beautiful. Lets go for a walk," I half suggested, half mandated.

Tim found this elk skull while in a field near Mt. Helens. The flowers maybe fake, but the story isn't.

My dad and brother on the Columbia River.

Many of the things I resented as a middle schooler slowly have grown in importance and affection in my memory. As a kid I avoided spending time at our family's second home in the Columbia River Gorge, opting to stay some 40 miles to the west in Portland. Now, as a full fledged young-urban-professional, I yearn for the seclusion and inherent beauty like a trustafarian for a chance to give George Dubayah and Mr. Rumsfeld a piece of their enlightened mind.

"Damn it feels good to be home on the range," I grinned.
"Home on the range? We are not in Montana. This is Washington, we are home in the sticks."
"The Sticks?"
"Yea, it's a Chinook saying for the woods."
"Home in the sticks," I acknowledged.
Here are some more links,
Home in the Sticks (Picasa).