A love letter to Deschutes Land Trust Preserves

Feb 08, 2017
With Valentine's Day on the horizon, we turn our sights to the love of our lives: Land Trust Preserves. Here Jana Hemphill counts the ways...


Dearest Land Trust Preserves,

I can’t stress it enough—I love you. It’s undeniable. I love your variety. Each preserve holds something a little different, but taken together, it reminds me of what makes Central Oregon so great, why I’m continually amazed by the beauty around me.

Ribbon of blue at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Russ McMillan.
Ribbon of blue at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Photo: Russ McMillan.

Camp Polk Meadow Preserve: You show me the transformative power of restoration work. You remind me of the beauty that a simple ribbon of blue in a sea of green meadow makes. You show the historical significance of a place to me, a Central Oregon transplant. You shower me with amazing bird sightings and a symphony of songs.


Whychus Canyon Preserve:
The smell of your sage and juniper always brings a smile to my face. Your wildflowers cause me joy. I enjoy gazing at Whychus Creek, contemplating the wildlife that is nourished by you. Santiam Wagon Road takes me back to my childhood, imagining I’m a pioneer in a covered wagon. What hardships will befall me? What glorious vistas await?

Mule deer at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve. Photo: Steve Pedersen.
Mule deer at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve. Photo: Steve Pedersen.

Indian Ford Meadow Preserve: You have such a calming spirit. I don’t know a better spot to sit and watch the sunset. You share grand views of the Three Sisters and Black Butte. And maybe it’s just me, but I love watching the deer in your meadow, browsing on sage and slipping through the willows at dusk.

Metolius Preserve: Your cooling waters restore me. I seek out your large Ponderosas, tracing the deep grooves in the bark, smelling the sweet butterscotch. In the fall, I stare in awe at your stands of larch. During the summer, I exclaim in wonder at the varieties of butterflies flitting about.

Aspen Hollow Preserve: I cherish your aspen stands. In the spring, their bright green leaves signify new beginnings. In the fall, their yellow leaves are what I think of when I hear the word ‘autumn.’ I am amazed by your golden eagle nest; your ability to create and sustain new life.

Thomas Preserve: Oh, little island. You are rarely visited, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. I love the feeling of the grasses on your banks. Time slows down when I lay on my back staring at the fluffy white clouds pass by.

Floating to the Thomas Preserve. Photo: John Williams.
Floating to the Thomas Preserve. Photo: John Williams.

Then there is how you make me feel. I know you hear it often, but I feel like I’m home when I’m in nature. All the stress of the workweek melts away. I feel restored. I feel like I can conquer the world again. All you have to do is keep being you.

I don’t know what I would do without you. No, really, I don’t. I promise I won’t take you for granted, that I’ll cherish every moment I’m with you. I’ll pay attention to the small wonders and secrets you show me, and be continually amazed.

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder. And while you are so close, you are inaccessible with these winter snows. I will be patient, but I look forward to seeing you again with your dazzle of wildflowers, fresh larch needles, and gushing creeks.

Yours Forever,
Jana Hemphill