There’s a place where the flowers grow taller than man…if that man, or woman, decides to lay down.
Do. There, in that grassy spot.
Sit, take off your shoes and socks. No, not there. Watch out for the ants; a little to your left where the grass is smooth. Yes. There.
Now, stretch out. Get comfortable. You’ll want to stay in this place and let me warn you, it will be most difficult to know when you should leave. So, perhaps set your backpack as a pillow, tilt the brim our your hat to shade your eyes from the sun, and be still.
Then, the only thing you’ll see are flowers and sky. Green, yellow, purple, blue. It’s not the primary palette but the hue of Spring on the Columbia Plateau. Balsamroot, lupine, and desert parsley now tower above you. You are but a small thing in a wide-open world of brilliance.
Breathe deeply. The perfume of the balsamroot is sweet, soft, and finer than the priciest Coco Chanel concoction. Even the persistent Columbia Gorge winds are not strong enough to carry away the luscious scent. You lie there thinking that it might be pervasive enough to infuse your clothes, your hair, and your soul, with the gentle fragrance of this place, forever.
The wind whips the broad balsomroot leaves and they make an unlikely clatter amid this peaceful scene. Leaf against leaf, against stem, against blossom. A regular vegetative cacophony, but one suited for the finest concert hall…Now appearing at the Met: East Wind solos on the balsamroot. But, it’s not really a solo. Western Meadowlarks lark, and bees buzz, and far away a hawk cries. If my hearing were only more acute, perhaps I’d hear the wings of the ochre ringlet as it works to navigate this pollen paradise.
Sit for a while and you’ll know why the blossoms parch and fade. Even with the cooling winds and afternoon hours you soak up sun – none other than a solar sponge. But, don’t go yet, if you like the color now, just imagine what the sunset will bring./