By Linda Varsell Smith
We head north on our Saturday ride.
Four hours under an ever-changing sky.
Billowy, white cloud sculptures mix
with banks of gray clouds bearing rain.
We drive up the valley with wide vistas,
of flat farm land, orchards draping
moss-covered trees with loped off limbs.
We are not able to detect what fruit will bloom.
Two bonfires burn branch debris.
Roadside and forest areas have
fallen trees from an ice storm. Limbs
litter the ground. Fields are greening.
Alpaca and cattle graze. Tree farms,
wineries, vineyards, ranches add
to rural diversity. Small towns with
Dollar Generals and pot shops.
Many closed stores and restaurants.
Hubbard hosts a Hop Festival. Canby
is a garden spot. Rain spritzes on
and off, most heavily on last leg home.
In our car cocoon we can discuss our
concerns. We do not use GPS, but
his cell phone for directions. No sound.
I was on alert for turns. We use drive-thru.
I drape my mother’s red cape over me.
When sunny the heat beats through
the windshield. We keep on our sunglasses
and the world looks lush.
Clouds fascinate both of us. The panorama
stretches for miles. We try to define
images in the mountainous clouds.
Both of us enjoy their natural beauty.
The world floats and expands when you follow
clouds. Earthly issues abate for four hours.
We drift with the clouds and our spirits lift
in light-shifting sky. Dark birds fly below.