So, it turns out I can get online at the coffee shops near where I’m staying at Wallowa Lake in eastern Oregon. I’m currently in the town of Joseph at the foot of the amazing Wallowa Mountains. The town is full of galleries, gift shops and places to eat. Joseph has developed a reputation for its bronze works, and there are bronze statues on every corner. The iced tea I’m drinking is an amazing blend of spices and teas called “Harmony,” which is supposed to balance my chi and make me . . . harmonious. Very Oregonian. Art, soft music, wi-fi and air conditioning, it’s all good.
So what does this have to do with being childless? Well, on the way here, I stopped at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. I had never seen them before. I waited a half hour in an endless line of cars before being able to park and join the throngs heading through a tunnel under Highway 84 to see the falls. At the base of the falls is a river and it was full of children swimming, accompanied by mothers, fathers, and grandparents. I wanted to be in that cool water splashing around, but I realized it would look weird for someone my age to go into the water without a child to watch over.
Everyone there, all those mobs eating gift shop ice cream and taking pictures, came with other people, and most of them had children. I had such a strong feeling of not knowing where I fit in the world. Not a mother, grandmother or wife, a mature woman traveling solo, I felt so left out. I decided I’m the observer.
As for the falls, they are spectacular, riveling any of Yosemite’s falls. I’m glad I went, but out in the world, I am conscious of flying solo, of having no one to turn to and say, “Wow, isn’t that beautiful.”
Did you ever feel that way?