How is it that I've lived in this corner of the world for almost six years, and have not until this last month fully appreciated the intoxicating perfume that is a ponderosa pine forest in mid-summer?
It's like a drug that I can't get enough of. Emma and I go out geocaching and I feel like my lungs aren't big enough- I breathe in that scent until I'm lightheaded and giddy and convinced that the world has a purpose and I have a place in it.
I guess I've just never noticed before, as impossible as that seems, beyond "oh, pine tree smell"... Granted, last summer was a miserable blur of Shaun leaving me, and the summer before was a miserable blur of anemia. I wanted to curl up in a ball and shut out the world, and hiking through the forest was absolute last on my list of things I wanted to do.
Now, though- now I drink in the waves of ponderosa and sagebrush scents that billow down from the hillsides in warm golden resinous clouds. Even in town, it washes over me. I can't turn on the air conditioner, because that shuts out the living air. The forest exhales and I come alive.
There is really nothing like it.
(The first two pictures are from a geocaching adventure in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, 8 miles northwest of my house; the second two are from Catherine Creek State Park, 20 miles southeast, measured as the raven flies.)