May 23, 2014

yesterday I awoke early, as usual -- I have fully become my mother now, waking effortlessly at 5:45 without an alarm -- and put on a sundress and walked a mile or so to the little cafe where I had breakfast every morning the last time I was here. The place was full of men in wife beaters and ridiculously colored shorts. I drank my latte and ate a sandwich and read my book, then came back to the hotel and camped out at what's become my favorite corner of the pool. I floated for awhile in an inner tube, then made friends with a retiree, a woman from Vancouver who first warned me that I was about to hit my head on the railing, then told me all about her travels: driving down through Oregon, her time in L.A., how she would do this forever except she missed her cat. later she came over and offered to buy me a beer, which I accepted, and we chatted about our love of driving and what books we were reading.

the sky got greyer and greyer, increasingly ominous, with the occasional grumble of distant thunder. I fell asleep in my chair, awoke feeling groggy and faintly sick (which always happens when I fall asleep in the sun), and went upstairs, where I ate lunch and watched an xmen marathon for the remainder of the afternoon, waiting out the storm that loomed ever closer but in the end never came.

I went for a run, looking forward to following the concierge's directions to a nearby canyon, only to discover that it was the canyon where I went horseback riding two years ago. a coyote loped away, stopped, turned back, all the while silent and cat-like.

today is my last day here -- I embark on part two of my many-faceted adventure in a few hours. I got to the pool 6 minutes after it opened. The sky is brilliant and everyone here this morning is european. yesterday I thought I was done with indolent pool living but today I recant that sentiment. that might just be because I like being able to swim whenever I like. also for this next part, I'm going to have to put on more clothes.

I don't know what it is about the desert that so compels me. it is, these days, the place I am most likely to want to go. any desert really -- here, or eastern oregon, or santa fe or the sahara. it is clear and hot and mildly alien. the palm trees are endlessly tall and spindly; the rest of the brush is low and ragged. the agaves are as big as dogs.

I think I have already forgotten what it's like to work.

I was reading a magazine yesterday, an article about all the cool ways to spend the 14 weekends between memorial and labor days, and all I could think of was a day two summers ago on my then-new bike, pedaling out some back road in coastal oregon, the sky blue and mist rising from the fields. and of biking to salem, the tractors plowing the fields, the grit of the road on my arms and legs. I had forgotten all of this somehow, in fatigue and misery. it is so good to remember.

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