Chasing Zen in the Desert


Sunday, 25-Sept-2022

As I finished my walk out from Elk Meadows, I pondered what to do next with my weekend. I could drive back, relax at my apartment, maybe play some video games… but I didn’t quite want to go home just yet.

“You don’t have to go home,
but you can’t

I tossed my pack into the trunk, put the top down, and drove South.

There aren’t braided backroads in Oregon like there are in New England. I can’t quite drive country roads to get back to the city… but I could drive slightly different highways through completely different biomes. Which is exactly what I did.

The alpine country gave way to temperate forests, which in turn gave way to scrubland, which finally ceded its place to the high desert.

I kept the top down as the day got colder, embracing the chill and appreciating the changing seasons. I felt the warm desert wind, then felt the cold desert air.

I stopped for dinner at a spot I’d been to a few times, while exploring around the Bend area, and gorged on some delicious enchiladas while rehydrating myself from the dry air.

I can’t say that I found zen, out in that slightly longer drive home through the desert… but I can absolutely say that I chased it for a ways. And sometimes the pursuit of a goal is the worthier part.

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