Anodyne
Saturday, January 20, 2018
 
"For many years, my family made it a habit to drive out to places like the Malheur and other remote areas. We carried rock picks. We found artifacts and fossils in the cracked mud of dry lake beds. We searched behind the high school baseball diamond in Fossil for the imprints of ancient ferns and crawled through buildings abandoned by the cult of the Rajneeshee. We saw arrowheads scattered on land where scientists uncovered the bones of ice-age sloths. We dug up an agatized root and dragged it home. We slept under the stars or in a trailer my father sometimes hitched to the truck. My mother filled my backpack with survival gear, and my father always carried a loaded gun. We cut down trees where we saw one; built a fire where we wanted one; slept on the ground in the valleys, among the sagebrush, near Indian burial sites. The eastern Oregon desert felt like a world that belonged to me. I felt antipathy toward visitors; even a lone hiker on the trail felt like a disturbance. In these moments, I figured that I, too, had arrived to an empty place."

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