“O Great Spirit… Let my dreams be bigger than my fears and my actions louder than my words.”
I was at the corner of an intersection only a couple blocks from home, and there on the light post next to me was the most majestic looking golden eagle I had ever seen. It is not often that I see such a site. Most eagles here tend to stay up in the mountains and rarely venture down below the foothills. As I stopped at the stop sign, I looked straight at him… His piercing brown eyes returned the stare and for a moment we were locked in a spiritual dialogue of thoughts without a sound passing between us. The image was branded in my mind and I couldn’t unlock the stare. After several minutes, I had to force myself to detach from his direct and engaging energy. I was left with a strange sense of inspiration as I drove away. But mere moments later, I suddenly had the urge to get away…. that I would have to escape for the weekend… in search of a different view, perhaps an adventure not planned for, but hoping the road would take me there…
I had heard about June Lake, CA and how beautiful it is, only a couple of hours away and many mountain views to take in along the way… it almost sounded too perfect to resist. I went online and quickly did a search for rooms and sure enough, found one at a lodge that seemed to fit just what I was hoping for… a soaking tub, was exactly what this shy girl was in desperate need of. Without hesitation, I quickly made the reservation and settled into my bed for a restful sleep and an early morning wake-up.
Saturday morning arrived and I grabbed my overnight bag, my camera, some snacks a drink and in a joyous tone announced, “Take me to June Lake, Siri!” And like that we were off! The sky was a cornflower blue with wispy grey clouds that seemed to drape like mosquito netting from east to west. The temp was a comfortable 45 degrees; the moon roof was open and the music playing soothed this soul… Picture after picture taken and stop after stop made along the way… the views, how they remedied the need I was feeling to be free!!!! Winding curve after curve, I sat and just dreamed the miles away. I couldn’t help but think about the future. How this world has changed since I was just a wee one… loves lost… challenges faced… some tears shed.… I felt a pit in the middle of my stomach. And then the thoughts… how like little slides that played at an intentional meditative pace, I saw goodness abound… The open valley, how it reminded me of potential… the potential for anything… a blank canvas, a place to start over. And just as I looked in the rearview mirror, the negative thoughts seemed to fade away into the distance.
I looked ahead and saw horses grazing in a field with miles of open space to get lost in. Before the miles would get too far away from me, I came upon a hidden gem… Topaz Lake.
I quickly made an unplanned stop and turned left down an old dirt road that adjoined the lake. I pulled over and just stood and looked across the watery stillness, hands on my hips, and a heavy sigh released into the air. The water rested like glass…not even a twig to change the memory… I saw across the lake the reflection of the mountains that surround with etched peaks and steep sides… not a single thought of how old, or even a question of what they have seen… my mind was too fixated on the sky seen in the calm waters below. I heard the subtle sounds of birds as they flew gracefully by as if to welcome me and not ask why. Alas, the road began to call again. The morning was getting late and there was yet a planned stop that still needed to be made.
As I returned to the road, it was hard to keep my eyes focused ahead as there were so many things I wanted to stop and see and take pictures of… from flowing creeks to trees so tall and cliff sides that were a natural work of art. So, I turned the music back on to try to distract me from pulling over every 5 seconds and the quest continued. The next stop would be Mono Lake, CA. Mono Lake is such a national treasure that many have never even heard of. I would be remiss if not to lend some information for a better understanding of why I use such a provocative description. Here are some quick facts according to Mono Lake Committee:
- Somewhere between 760,000 and 3 million years old; among the oldest lakes in North America.
- It contains chlorides, carbonates, and sulfates – a chloride-carbonate-sulfate “triple water” lake. It is alkaline, with a pH of 10, and almost three times as salty as the ocean. At 6,392 feet asl it will be slightly more than twice as salty as the ocean.
- The salinity of the lake is approximately 81 g/l. The Outstanding National Resource Water designation requires that the salinity be maintained under 85 g/l
- The primary lake life is composed of algae, brine shrimp, and alkali flies, and is one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Nesting birds consist of California Gulls (50,000, 85% of California’s breeding population and second largest colony in the world after the Great Salt Lake in Utah) and Snowy Plovers (400, 11% of the state’s breeding population). Migratory birds include Eared Grebes (1.5-2 million, 30% of the North American population), Wilson’s Phalaropes (80,000, 10% of the world population), Red-necked Phalaropes (60,000, 2-3% of the world population), and 79 other species of waterbirds.
- The Mono Basin is a tectonic basin formed by faulting and downwarping of the earth’s crust. The hills on the north, south, and east sides of the basin are all of volcanic origin. The Mono Craters are 24 domes of explosive rhyolite that have erupted over the last 40,000 years (as recently as 700 years ago), forming the youngest volcanic chain in North America.
- Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate–limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet.
You can imagine my surprise as I took my first steps down the walkway knowing not the treasures I would find. I stopped at the first tufa and just observed the calcium structure as if I had landed on another planet. The outcroppings were unreal and so unique to the landscape that Mono Lake turned into this photographer’s paradise. The sky so rich with blue color and the white puffy clouds seemed to compliment the tufa as if to try to mimic them, with its natural white calcium carbonate color. A bench nearby beckoned for me to come rest and be still. And that is exactly what this shy girl did. This lake, the land…. but the water… the water that rested in this basin held secrets from 1-3 million years ago. I closed my eyes and sat as still as could be with the sun on my cheeks. The salty air covered me with a welcome. Did the brine shrimp below know this shy girl was close by, listening, thinking, just being. Thoughts run through my mind…the lineage of these creatures…the volcanic eruptions and ecological changes that have taken place and yet they continue to survive…. As do the variety of shore birds and other aviary that thrive in such a dynamic environment. With some time spent along a secret filled lake, I stood up thanked the lake for letting me enjoy its riches and with that genuine message of appreciation, I turned around and made my way back down the trail, graced with tufa.
As I exited, I knew my last stop would be the lodge at June Lake. I quickly asked Siri to take me to the lodge address and we were off in a flash. In just a little time, some fantastic thoughts and my favorite songs sung, I made my turn for the lake.
The first sight of the lake had me pull over in absolute and unadulterated awe!!!
Could it be and was that really what I was witnessing? It was reminiscent of pictures seen from Switzerland… the snow-capped mountains towering over a still alpine lake. As I took some pictures I remember thinking, “And this is why my friends insisted I come see this majesty!” Reluctantly, I climbed back in Cherie and we were headed through the tiny and quaint lakeside town of June Lake that was driven through with just a blink of the eye! As I wrapped around the lake, Siri announced my arrival at the lodge.
I made my left turn, and in complete shock, I stopped the car and looked at the statue that greeted me… an eagle, with the exact stare I had seen but a day ago! I took a deep breath and then parked. Hard to believe but true, I never did pay attention to the name of the lodge I made the reservation at, as my only concern was the soaking tub feature! Yes, the “Double Eagle Lodge”, was where this shy girl had arrived. With the car in park, I simply shook my head at the journey that I was on and the beauty that I saw surround me. A forested mountainous terrain with tiny cabins spread out in the wilderness and a creek that ran through it. I then noticed I was a bit early and very hungry! I walked in to the lodge office with some concern as to whether I could check in early but gave it my best shot! As I approached the counter, in a fun and flirty way, I greeted the young and handsome reservation clerk who had a snowboarder flare about him. When I explained I realized I was a bit early and not sure my room was ready for check in, he flashed a brilliant smile and said, “Of course you can check in… your room is ready for you and here are some cookies for you to enjoy.” I couldn’t help but smile back and thank him profusely for accommodating me not only with the room but the sweet and delicious treats to indulge in. With that he offered any help and assistance I might need and directed me on my way.
I made it to my cabin in the woods and was delighted by the accommodations. I quickly unpacked and made my way to the restaurant for a quick bite and then time to head to catch the sunset. As I arrived in the lodge restaurant, a large stone fireplace greeted me with warmth and a crackle. With clouds and precipitation in the air, the fire and a cup of hot java was exactly what this girl on a journey needed.
As I sat at the table, I looked up at the snow-covered mountains and just smiled. I had finally arrived and what a place I had arrived at. The floor to ceiling windows made the wilderness feel as though it were right there to touch and feel… a perfect way to enjoy my hot and sweet beverage! Following dinner, it was time to drive around the lake to the eastern side to take in the sunset. The clouds became thicker and I was worried I would miss out.
As I arrived at the beach, I saw a couple having their engagement photos taken… it did make me smile to see their joy and excitement as the photographer encouraged a playful interaction to capture a sweet shot. As I walked onto the beach, I could feel the coarse sand beneath my thin ballet slipper soles.
I stopped at one point, and as I looked up at the western sky, I nearly lost my breath. I stood for what seemed like an eternity and I felt lost….. As if I had truly died and gone to heaven. The world as I knew it and all my fears, pain, worries and earthly thoughts simply faded into the distance. I stood with the bright reflective rays of sun as they penetrated my eyes as if to beckon me to the other side. In a trance, I was left with complete love, admiration, respect, grace and feeling lighter than I have ever felt in this lifetime. I closed my eyes as if to bathe in this blessing and in my mind I could hear the sweet music as if an orchestra of angels played to welcome me to June Lake. I let out a heavy sigh of appreciation and delight.
My eyes began to water from the thoughts that seemed to come out of nowhere. I stood and couldn’t help but think that this was all supposed to be the way it was. I quickly opened my eyes and reached for my camera… every angle was captured, every ripple in the stillness of the water appreciated, the clouds how they were all lined in a silver coating and that glorious beaming sun, how she gifted me a sight I will never forget! I remember thinking, if I had died and gone to heaven, I wasn’t entirely sure what was so compelling to make me want to return…” And then, just then, in that very moment, as if handed to me on a silver platter, the answer….. My mission… Yes, there is still much to do and no time for checking out anytime soon! And just like that… a smile, how it emerged… excited about the year to come and all that I hope to accomplish. Heaven can wait for now….
Unwillingly but freezing, I had to turn away and head to my warm car to return to the cabin. When I entered, I made sure to enjoy the warm fireplace a while and then anxiously I slipped into the bathroom to prepare a hot bath… Warm to hot water, and honey almond bubble bath and the jets turn on…. I could see the white bubbles how they multiplied by the second….The sweet almond scent drifted up to tease my senses and render me anxious for an evening delight. I slipped out of the day’s threads and could feel the cool air touch my tired skin and provoke the undeniable reaction that begged to be confirmed by these delicate hands of mine. Ahhh…. I turned the water off and slowly stepped into the bubbles. The water was the perfect hot temp and I lowered myself slowly into the waiting bubble abyss. The water level rose to just above my breasts and my naked needs poked through the foam like knobby hills in the distance. I could feel the pressure from the jets press against various parts of my body as if a much-needed massage was warranted. I rested my head back on the rolled up towel that I had configured and I just laid and enjoyed the comfort from a day full of driving and adventures by different bodies of water. My mind resisted thinking of anything in particular at the time, but my hands had a different idea. Yes, those soft hands that work tirelessly to capture the views that heaven had gifted to me today. Dare I admit, that they wandered to provide a pleasurable release as they explored the curves and crevices that begged to be touched. And in the 30 min bath that ensued, my body thrilled at every sinful thought and find of finger… the sighs and the moans were the confirmatory sounds this body bequeathed to the steamy air around as those very sensitive and erogenous zones were left begging for more.…And then as if my hips were being raised by a magic force found in the bubbles from below, I could feel my legs tighten as I held my breast with one hand and the other hand danced to make the delight last just but seconds longer. I let out a moan and breathlessly the word “Yes!” left these lips as I could feel every skin cell alive to the electricity run through my body causing every muscle to contract in the most pleasing way. And then wanting this feeling to last forever, I could feel it diminish as I settled back hidden by the remaining bubbles. And the day came to an end as quickly as it began….
The next morning started quickly with breakfast and then time to hightail it back home. The drive was a relaxing one with no real plans or destinations to achieve…. Just a thoughtless drive, with the wind to push me along, and some good music to get lost to. The sky was once again that cornflower blue and the sun, brilliant as always!
As I moved closer back home something caught my eye near Topaz Lake and I made a u-turn to head back to see if what I thought I saw sitting in the bare tree was correct…. As I pulled over, there in the tree in the distance was indeed a large bald eagle! I had never seen a bald eagle in the state of Nevada before! I stood for a moment, thinking about the theme of the eagle and what this message could have been. Confounded but mesmerized, I tried to take the closest picture to no avail. Alas, I left that spot and the bald eagle in the tree knowing what I saw and feeling compelled to find the true message behind this friend that followed me so. And when I returned to the car and I turned the radio on, the song, “Wind beneath my wings.” Began to play…. I shook my head, thinking, “What, what is it that you are trying to tell this shy girl?”
Then as if to lend a prayer to the powers that be, this shy girl began a dialogue that seemed to stream from these delicate lips as if my mind simply knew the right words to say…
“I am not sure what it is that your intention is to have this eagle guide me along my way. But I assure you that I appreciate all that your majesty and beauty has gifted me. This shy girl is still on her spiritual journey of living life to the fullest, to enjoy every moment as if it were the last, with the knowledge that I need to begin to say what needs to be said. Dare I admit a bit of fear in my heart for this next phase, hence the procrastination? Not because I don’t think I can do it…. No…. because I am not sure the world will listen. So, please if you hear me, lend me the strength of the eagle, to command the attention of those who read… by a graceful sentence and with a gentle flight, with a known destination and the gift of amazing sight. Lend me the wisdom to know when to strike, and the “Patience of Job”, for the distance to travel. And when danger is afoot, lend the ability to fly as high as the sky will allow, and not ask “why?”, so that my words will still emerge as they should, without one to stop the message, as if they could. A message of love, patience, peace and hope… with courage to guide… and strength to endure… a message to be spread… far and wide! Thank you for the adventure, the message, the eagle…. I promise to listen to the eagle and follow his ways… for as long as this spirit remains these coming days.
Siri, take me home!”
Wondering what words will be shared in the coming days…