On the last, long day of driving, La Tortue hauled me up and over Montana’s slice of the Continental Divide between Bozeman and Butte. There, I found a raw yet mystical beauty: rolling dry-scrub mountains dusted with new snow. A rising sun casting an etherial glow. Puffs of low cloud scoured loose to unveil something long-concealed.
In January, I began my trek across the west with some loosely assembled ideas: renewal, temperance, landscape and beauty. A random encounter in a Seattle park taught me the Navajo word Hozho. Translation: walking in beauty.
The phrase popped up again a few weeks later, in a small museum at Trinidad, California, as the title of a small book by a white man who learned life skills from the Yurok tribe of northern California. To walk in beauty can mean many things. For me, it increasingly involves an appreciation of the aesthetic wonders of the natural landscape, but also a quiet respect for the nourishing, non-human gifts of our turning Earth.
I pulled into Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in late afternoon, too exhausted to push on to Spokane, where I often stay with friends. Early April, it turns out, is too early for RV Parks and most campgrounds in the Inland Northwest.
I had not accounted for the random kindness of strangers. Soon, my van was parked in the driveway of someone who worked at the Visitor’s Centre. My last night’s rest wins the prize for “most unorthodox.”
Another miracle soon followed, this one from the Yelp phone app. Who knew! An affordable French restaurant called Fleur de Sel only five minutes away. Soon, I was sipping a celebratory glass of vin mousseaux (sparkling wine) from my beloved Touraine region in central France.
Those of you who have enjoyed the blog and would like to read a more extended version of some of my experiences can go to the North Columbia Monthly here to follow a travelogue called Travels with Dellie in the February to April monthly editions archived on line. I have one more installment up my sleeve for May….though I will finish by saying that the search for beauty may have only just begun.