The Big Valley

It’s coming down really heavily on the east side of the pass as we descend into the Sierra Valley.   This former lake bed of the same origin and age as Lake Tahoe is huge, 470 square miles at 4850 feet elevation with mountains up to 8000 feet surrounding it.  In my mind it lies somewhere between memories of the TV show “Bonanza” and the distant lonesome wonder of the Black Rock Desert. Barbwire cattle fences tease electric green pastures below giant white snow clouds.

Sierra Hot Springs is the former Campbell Hot Springs that’s graced this valley since the native Washoe people visited it for its healing waters. It’s currently run as a quiet sister property to Harbin Hot Springs. I first encountered it on some dusty spaced-out returns from Burning Man in the mid-90s and have had some intense experiences there over the years.  I haven’t been here in eleven years and hope to find it unchanged.

The “Meditation Pool” is purported to have special healing properties, I once sat in it with a cancer patient who had traveled great distances to try and reap the benefits of its rare combination of natural minerals.  The long afternoon light has broken through the storm system and we’re treated to incredibly rich welcoming views. We set up camp, head for the meditation pool and find we have it all to ourselves. Inside there, breathing deeply, sitting over the source of this crack in the earth, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and picture all those dear to me, my family who has suffered such a shock, the fragments of humanity, the tendrils of connection—I vow to retain this image and repeat this meditation.

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2 thoughts on “The Big Valley

  1. Paul,

    This is the first time I’ve seen your Blog, spent the morning ready archives. Sorry to hear about all of your recent losses.

    You are a gifted writer keep posting and I’ll keep reading…

    Looking into your eyes & hugging you fiercely, Lauren

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