Life in a Dormant Volcano, p.6: Colors of Crater Peak and late-night Black-and-White
July 24, 2004
Pretty tired again tonight. I hiked Crater Peak, a 5-mile roundtrip with some breathtaking views of the park and a sprawling meadow of shrubs, lava rock and dead old whitebark trees, scorched by lightning. It looked like a cemetary of gnarled, wind-eaten trees, fighting for life. The walk back was during sunset, and the colors ranged from orange-red cutting through the shadow of the trees, to purple in the depths of the woods at dusk, and then finally a white misty glow hovering across the span of trees and rocky hills. Pretty incredible. At many points I’d look down at my hands and the colors on my skin were totally foreign, like in a dream or a drug experience. Like you could touch the light.
I took my co-worker Stefanie with me, since I got tired of telling her about all the cool things I was driving to, and hearing about how she can never go anywhere. She hasn’t even been around the rim, because she doesn’t have a car. Her other options are going places with her roommates, whom she dislikes and for good reason. One refers to people from other countries as “internationals” and talks about them as if they were subhumans. She doesn’t follow politics because she upsets too easily. She’d rather get cancer than go to a gynecologist. She’s very dumb in the head. The other roommate is overweight, and spent one day in Medford with Stefanie, namely in Planned Parenthood getting the birth control shot.
On Thursday night, Rabbit got really drunk and called the chef, a large, scary woman whom he apparently used to date early in the season. He left her a mean voice message, calling her a bitch and all sorts of stuff. It apparently didn’t go over well and he got a scolding from the sous chef and the chef. Poor Rabbit, he seems to just fall right into these situations. He told me that he’s building up the courage to tell her that he was dating her for the wrong reasons. Sort of using her for her status at the park, and that he feels bad about it. He told me this as he was falling asleep. Then he said there was a rumor (there are so many of them) that someone was saying bad things about Rabbit. Rabbit said he didn’t care, and that he never says anything bad about anyone. And I realized that he’s absolutely right. He’s 100 percent positive about everyone he talks about, as far as I can recall. He was fading off that night and said something like, “Everyone is great, business is terrific, life is good.”
I didn’t get a chance to call Casey and I have a combination of missing her and guilt for not calling. Still, another great day on Crater Lake. There aren’t any other kind here. I’m thinking about going to school to study creative writing or something else. That’s one thing people here are drilling home — I can do anything I want. Same with my time spent with Stan and his wife Dru. Stan has four or five degrees and has maybe never had a grown up job. There’s room in the world people like Stan; there can be room for people like me.
Tomorrow’s my Friday, and I’m thinking of driving to Ashland for a day, doing some hiking, or checking out some hot springs north of the park. I hear there are naked people there.