Eastern Oregon Gothic

  • In the middle of a dust storm on I-84 between Hermiston and Pendleton. Ignore the sand walkers you can only see from the corner of your eye. Slow and steady.
  • Coming down Cabbage Hill from LaGrande to Pendleton in fog so thick a wrong turn will take you a dimension over…ignore the lights that aren’t quite diffused enough to be from an actual car or truck. Slow and steady.
  • Walking around Wallowa Lake be careful of the Summer Court and the Winter Court, but always be more careful of Coyote. In the fall, never folllow the elk back to their home at the bottom of the lake. Never disrespect Chief Joseph or his people…
  • Don’t let the theater ghosts follow you home from school…all the schools with theaters have at least one. If you hear their footsteps, just keep walking slow and steady. Don’t look back.
  • Be careful of The Lavender House. Sure everyone goes out there time and again. It’s always the thirteenth trip that crosses wires in your car or in your head. It’s a two hour walk to find cell service after your car breaks down and it’s a rare day of rain, every time.
  • On the North Fork of the John Day river it’s easy to find Bigfoot’s Cabin. Never go in without need or take without need. Always leave a thank you gift, no matter how small. They don’t like rude people—rude people end up picking the wrong mushrooms in the fall.
  • Don’t listen to the wind in The Dalles. Those who do end up out past the cherry orchards or almost knee deep in the Columbia River without knowing quite how they got so far. Slow and steady.
  • When you go to Pendleton for the “world famous” Round Up, never jump the line at The Rainbow; never let the changelings hypnotize you; and skip the third step going down to Crabby’s for a dance. Never ever get lost from your group at The Pendleton Underground—strays don’t always make it out…
  • Ignore the bronze statues on moonless nights. Every small town has a few. You might get stuck on their pedestals while they get to stretch into your life. Slow and steady.

I originally posted this to my tumblr on 08/20/2018


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