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Dispatch from a Clear Day
Kendra Atleework
9.28.20

When the smoke is too thick to do anything outdoors besides the bare essentials—when the garden’s getting weedy and I had to thrice-wash a load of towels because the ash began to settle while it hung on the line—it feels important to remember all the reasons I love my home.

I love my home because it is cradled between the White Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, so no matter which way I look, I know exactly where I am.

I love my home because chances are I know you—even beneath your mask I know you—and chances are I’ll see you at the post office, or at Manor Market, or at Dwayne’s.

I love when I can hear the rumble of something going on at the fairgrounds. I love when I can hear coyotes in the fields. I love when little green frogs hop across the dusty road alongside the canals and skunks dash boldly around my yard. I love when everyone trades produce in the summer and helps each other get firewood in winter. I love when seasons change; I love when seasons douse us with their essence, in their prime.

I love the deep shade of the lawn in front of the Bishop High School, even on the hottest days, where my friend Ranae and I sit and write with our pastries from Great Basin and our drinks from Looney Bean, where the flag on its pole clicks in the breeze—half mast again, seemingly all the time these days—and a couple walks their dog and a family plays hide and seek amongst the huge old trees.

I love a certain locals’ hiking trail, and seeing locals on it, and I love the hidden trail that picks up where that one leaves off and makes its journey to a certain lake. I love bushwhacking and getting a little lost and using a topo map to figure out which crags and peaks surround you, feeling your way, spotting the lake below you, a turquoise bowl; throwing your clothes off, jumping in screaming, sitting naked in the sun until you scare some out-of-town backpackers coming unsuspecting down the trail. I love eating snacks in the sun, covered in goosebumps, up here in this rock and stone world that feels so different as to be magic, so strange and vertical and with a quality of light that changes by the minute, from the clean cool of morning to the ticking afternoon to the slanting blue of early evening that fades again to cool. And I love the return to the valley, a warm bowl you sink back into, your car winding down 168, the last of the sun slipping over the top of the Whites, and back in town there’s sand and pebbles to shake from your shoes and Burger Barn or the brewery or Salsa’s, and then the exhausted sleep after a hike that was longer than you planned and involved some surprise cliffs and backtracking but that’s okay, everything’s okay after a day in the mountains. I love the cool air that begins flowing down, so that by midnight when you are long asleep and sore in your bed, showered and fed, over your quiet house the Milky Way is a great gossamer ribbon across the sky, the satellites small and steady, the stars blazing in their otherworldliness, following some private course, streaking here and there, subsuming one another, flickering out.

This morning I opened my window for the first time in weeks. And I smelled September, as I have known September since my first: the coolness of night warming out of the grass, off the asphalt; the summery smell of the fields and the canals, the tang of the first falling leaves, which have started to gather in my yard. I pulled my nose away from the screen and opened the rest of my windows and listened to the birds, which was thrilling, and listened to the neighbor’s lawnmower, which was also thrilling after weeks of living shrink-wrapped alone inside my house hearing nothing but the air filter.

The year is 2020, and thus I am overjoyed by the simple fact of the neighbor’s lawnmower and clean-ish air. I am reminded that I love my home. Reminded, after weeks of an eerie semi-dusk, and refreshing the AQI app until it crashes, and wincing on behalf of the mail carrier who makes his rounds on foot, masked, not for the virus but the smoke.

Let me remember this. Let me remember what it feels like to open my windows. To go freely into the high country. To hug my friends. To be in a place I know full of people.

Let me remember until I have it back. And then, let me remember what it feels like to lose. Let us never forget how we love all the things that make our home. Let us hold them so tightly, so gently, place them with such honor in our lives that we nightly pray to whatever we believe in: may we never go without them again.

 

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1 week ago

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist
... See MoreSee Less

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
https://californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist

Comment on Facebook

Wow... been a good long while since I’ve been to Bishop. Their high school team was in our league (I went to Tehachapi High) and we traveled there for some football games — something like a 5-6 hour drive each way if I recall correctly. A tough team to beat also. I’m betting it hasn’t changed all that much over all these years (circa late ‘60s).

I'm so sorry the smoke is bad there still. I missed my annual visit this year. It's on my to do list for next year.

We can see it over the Spring Mountains to the West/NW here in Las Vegas. Fortunately, not much of it made it into the LV valley.

Would LOVE to move there if my hubby can find a job nearby!

We left this morning. Not only is it very smokey the smell of smoke is incredible. I don't smoke and I was ready to light up.

Nice photo. That's the real West.

Miss Bishop, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Tinnamaha campground!!!!

No, that is where the theater and Joseph’s used to be. Joseph’s has been gone for some time now. Penny’s is now Dollar General. Unfortunately a lot of vacant stores. Hi Kent!❤️

Hello and good morning. I am planning to drive up to Bishop from Southern California. The main purpose is to see fall colors. May I know if the fall colors are still at peak this coming next two weeks or is it past peak? Thank you for your advice/suggestions.

We were just there.😔

We have to leave too, I almost threw up it was so bad, got to Lee Vining and blue fresh air..take care of yourselves

so sorry for the smoke crazy time for all this year.

I spent a week here and didn't get to see the beauty through the smoke 😏

When was this picture taken, Sunday at 6 am ? never seen it this quiet.

Awesome pic! I wish a Main Street business had a rooftop deck so you can eat with that exact same view!

No smoke in the photo. ??

Is this an old photo? Joseph’s market was the only market back when we lived in Bishop in 1969.

It’s still Smokey? Where is the smoke coming from ?

Beautiful town

I always love to go threw Bishop.

Went thru Bishop yesterday, it was terribly Smokey 😪💚

I wish it was still small !

Does bishop still have a jack in the box

My favorite place ❤️

Isnt that the Old JC Penney store?

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2 weeks ago

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom
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Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful vacation destination

And a free thinker! This is Good!

🙏praying that it stays like this 💖

I miss Bishop so much and living there too 😢😉❤️

This is one of my favorite places to take pictures when I lived in Bishop. There’s many more.

Sigh. Bishop. Love it.

See you next week little sheep

We loved our visit to Bishop

Miss bishop fun times there

Nice!!!

Oh how I love that view

It was beautiful

Love Bishop

👍

Need snow on them things!

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2 weeks ago

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14
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In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14

Comment on Facebook

I've been on that same road every year at this time...

It sure was smoky today.

Still hazy there.😥

I love the West.

Beautiful picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

We always used to stay at Brown’s Millpond Campground just north of Bishop. Very nice private campground with a stream running through it. So many wonderful memories from Mule Days!

Up her for 4 day little smoke but really nice trees turning colors

It's the hunting and fishing Road 🏞️🎣🏕️🌌🤠🥰

Love Bishop and the surrounding mountains !!!

Hwy 168 going to Lake Sabrina, North and South lakes?

With I was there.

maybe next weekend any hotel suggestions?

Johanna Atwell

GOD HOW I WISH I WAS ON THAT ROAD... CAREFREE HIWAY...

Lots of nice smoke.....

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2 weeks ago

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!Hello Friends!☺️
💥 ESCA 20th Annual 5K Walk & Fun Run! 💥October 11-17th! Virtual Edition!
Please LIKE and SHARE this flyer with your friends and family!
Thank you for your continued support! ☺️
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The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!

2 weeks ago

Dog days of summer or fall??!!
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe
... See MoreSee Less

Dog days of summer or fall??!! 
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I heard the colors have peaked in this area. Is it still worth visiting or are there other good spots to hit up?

Beautiful picture.

Wonderful vacation destination

Beautiful

Beautiful picture! Cute dog!

North Lake?

Looking good

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