Mountain Time

Sterling is a lovely young man. At twenty-four, he has more peace and calm about his character and demeanor than I’ve ever met. Tall, self-assured, confident, insightful, he and I spent the day together today, traveling a little out into the wilderness to the east of town, attempting to find splashes of sunshine on what was just becoming another very rainy day.

Once we got to Hood River, Oregon, and east of the Cascades, the rain abated, for a while, and gave us a taste of some summer sun that we’d both been seeking.

”Have you been to Timberline?” I asked him.

”I have not,” he replied, much to my surprise.

We headed south, along Highway 35, up and out of the Columbia River Gorge, and made our way along the eastern side of Mount Hood. The rain remained at bay.

I watched him as he took in the wilderness around us. He was taking in all of the trees, the variety of vegetation that grows on the eastern side of the mountains, the way the mist was forming on the tops of the trees, sending plumes of moisture up into already-saturated clouds. He was quietly noting the majesty of the forests, and realizing that he needed to come out here more often, to be among the giant firs and moss-laden pines. His eyes grew bigger with every swoop and turn of the winding road.

The rain returned as we spun around the south side of the mountain, and turned back west. Just after entering Government Camp, Oregon, I took a right, and up to Timberline Lodge, an iconic mountain ski resort and hotel that he simply needed to see. As we climbed up in elevation, the driving rain gave way to driving snow. The Jeep performed beautifully.

Once in the lodge, we wandered around, and I watched as he took in the structure, the history, of the building and the place. He truly seemed fascinated by it all.

Being a tour-guide of a sort for him today was really a sweet change from my usual grind. Normally, I’d be on my third day of the workweek. This week, though, I’ve taken some much-needed time off. I don’t return until next Saturday, giving me another shortened workweek next week, as well.

Today needed Mountain Time. I am so thankful this all started with the gentle nature and calm disposition of Sterling. I cannot wait for more time with him, to calm and focus, to breathe and smile.