Reub's journey

08 May 2019

Malheur, 2019

A ranch not far from Malheur headquarters
Three years ago there was an ill-conceived occupation at the Malheur headquarters here in eastern Oregon. Poorly-informed, poorly prepared, armed men came here from other states and created a stand-off that lasted about 6 weeks. One of them was shot and killed, several served short sentences, and the others got off scot-free. The damage that was done both to the land and to the community is slowly healing.

Buena Vista overlook
This is a place that  John and I hold dear.

A flooded field, private land
It is wide open. At this time of year, both the refuge and the private lands surrounding it are host to thousands of migrating birds.  We saw hundreds of ibises. They nest in the Great Basin of Oregon, and migrate to Mexico when winter approaches.

The Great Basin is a stark place and you shouldn't count on your cell phone to work. You must put away the phone and watch the snow-melt fill up shallow places. We probably saw 10 species of water birds here.

Mostly it is high desert, sage brush everywhere.

Look up! See the swallows. They have a nest in that tree.

At Benson Pond
If you are a careful observer you will see other nests. A great horned owl, perfectly camouflaged.

Benson Pond
Water abounds now, but only for a few precious weeks.

Near Krumbo Lake
The ancestors of the Paiutes were here long ago.

On Coyote Butte
Here and there you may find a flower.

Krumbo Lake
If you know what you're doing, you may catch a trout, and there will be few to notice.

Above Krumbo reservoir
In the sky above the sage brush and water are millions of newly hatched midges. They will only live a few days, just long enough to find mates. They hum, but do not bite. What beautiful, harmless little lives. It is, I believe, a perfect existence.


  1. I remember. This is the way that it should be.

  2. what a beautiful place. that whole thing made me so angry, the way the government handled it, letting it go on for so long. I know they were trying to avoid bloodshed and escalation but they just emboldened those guys I think and then letting most of them off.

  3. Yeah. And the remnants of bitterness are slow to go away.

  4. I love that rock with the carvings of the ancestors of the Paiutes that were there long ago.


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