Umatilla Saddle Collage Essay

The peak of a basalt spinal column appears easily accessible from above. A little more than half a mile, no problem. The pursuit of a perfect view swaddled by a secret fear of heights. Not much required to conquer the journey: sturdy shoes, water and of course a tasty snack. Be back in time for lunch. An easy day of exploration on our own personal Mars. It might as well have been another planet from the experience that followed.

A harder hike than we expected, but a view well worth the trip. A treacherous path invites some eager-minded wanderers; pace yourself, slippery slope ahead! Steady footing, a place to rest, one look around and the shock of the view almost sends me reeling over the other side of the saddle. I have to take a seat; the weight of this massive place presses me to the ground. It smells of sun dried lichen with hints of sweet yarrow and musty sage. The dried out lake below is littered with basalt boulders, as if God, acting like a child, had spilled them and refused to clean up. Serenity fills me, and the chaos of the landscape fades to perfection.

The fear of heights subsides; I can rest easy at the top of the world. No wonder monasteries were built alongside cliffs, surrounded by air, pierced by screeching hawks. For the first time in a long time I slow down to Nature’s pace. The peace of this place grants me an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. I feel my old self eroding away, providing new insights into undiscovered terrain. Our own personal Mars focuses and becomes Earth as shaped by the universal principal of give and take. Broken and beautiful, just like us.

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