Greetings from The Cove Palisades State Park, Crooked River Camp ground. We've been here 3 days on day four of a ten day journey to see the eclipse. We expected this campground to be hot, crowded and possibly dusty. Instead its's like camping on a gorgeous orchard with every amenity (free, hot wonderful showers😊) and a stunning view of nightly sunsets. Down a windy road at the canyon bottom is pale jade green Billy Chinook Lake. Red tailed hawks coast and glide off the wind vector from the canyon top. I sat in our inflatable kayak enjoying their aerial displays.
Red canyon walls rotate through colors from pale yellow in the morning to deep purple at night. Deer wander through our campground: two families, the rangers tell us , both with speckled fawns. Last night we attended a ranger talk on the myriads of owls inhabiting this canyon, from tiny Pygmy Owls to stately Screech Owls. As I write one of them hoots in a nearby tree. After the owl talk there was a night walk through the wetlands. A ranger shone a red light on a brilliant orange desert flower.
The oddest, most wonderful thing about waiting for this eclipse is that with the exception of a couple campground hosts, every camp sight here had at least one person up at midnight on November 21st, exactly 9 months before the eclipse, hitting refresh on the Oregon State campground browser hoping to get one of the 1,500 sites Oregon opened up specifically for the eclipse. In my case both my husband and I won the lottery. Our second site went to astronomy friends who did the same thing and got nothing. Every site was booked within 2 minutes.
Excitement builds for the eclipse as we talk to experienced solar eclipse followers. The people in the campground across the road are Hawaiians who have traveled to eight eclipse across the world. Our ranger tells us to go out into the canyon top field where the moons shadow will race across the field. Lacy light and speckled shadow will undulate across the ground. I'll do my best later to put the experience into words. It will likely be impossible.
Ellyn Oaksmith is the USA Today bestselling author of the upcoming Chasing Nirvana (Fall 2017,) 50 Acts of Kindness and other books. She lives in Seattle.
How do I find ideas?
They find me. We date for a while & if things work out, we marry. For one year. Best books for writers? Stephen King On Writing Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.