a northwest evening


Me and Tricia  and Lisa meet in a parking lot in Hood River  and pile into Lisa’s 1984 Benz wagon. It’s black and hearse-like and fucking cool in its oldness and classiness. We wind our way up a road to a ridgeline, park, pull on our hiking shoes, and cast out on a trail through the undergrowth.  It’s almost dusk and the golden light is leaking through the bramble of trees and bushes from the west. Suddenly we emerge on a grassy ridgeline and a wall of warm wind blasts the hair off our damp foreheads and almost knocks us over. There’s something unsettling about the wind up here; it’s wild, relentless. Lisa, who lives down there below us on the valley floor, she says there're a lot of crazy people in Hood River, and maybe they didn’t start out crazy,  but the wind is always blowing around here and maybe, you know, it just unwinds the screws after a while.


The drive back down through the orchards is heart-achingly beautiful with the salmon-pink sunset, but then some horrid clanging noise starts up beneath our feet, which, we discover, is the Benz’s muffler dragging along the pavement. There's no way to tie it back up and the only option is to forge ahead. With our ears covered, this is what we do. Back at Lisa’s lovely red farm house with the car parked safely in the driveway, Tricia makes mint juleps by crushing ice in the blender and pouring in a little bourbon, a little lime juice, some mint from the garden, and some club soda mixed with agave syrup.  It tastes nothing like the sticky, electric green julep I had six years ago on Kentucky Derby day. It tastes like heaven.