Port Orford, OR
Christal and I met at an intersection on the highway. She waved me by to cross. I waved back for her to drive through. She waved me again and rolled down her window. ”Where are you going?” ”I’m walking to Mexico!” ”Do you want a free motel room?”
Christal and her husband Dean had moved up to Oregon from the Central California Coast after their son, Darac, had died in a car accident a year and a half earlier. Darac was 17. They hung around California for a while, but needed to get out. When a job came out managing a Port Orford hotel, they took the opportunity to move north to clear their heads.
They invited me to dinner, and we hung out eating Mexican in front of the TV with one of their daughters, Casi. A photograph was taped to the fridge: it was a shot of an eagle landing in the bird bath beside Darac’s grave. Eagles were his favourite animal, and there seemed to be symbolism in the way that it had turned out.
The next morning, I was invited to breakfast. Casi was on her way to Guatemala to volunteer in an animal shelter. She had designs on joining the Coast Guard after another season spent up in Alaska. We chatted about travelling, occasionally interrupted by commercials for Vagisil coming over CNN. I promised to visit Darac’s gravesite in a few months, when I arrived near where he had been killed.
I cross between lives so quickly. ”Be sure to make time for yourself,” Casi offered as parting advice, as I walked south towards Humbug Mountain.