Monday, December 14, 2009

Make a Wish...

This year on my birthday I woke up and just stared at the ceiling feeling frustrated and, quite frankly, a little lost. Though I knew I had made the right choice in leaving a good job and starting fresh in the Pacific Northwest, I couldn’t help but wonder when would this unknown future of mine finally kick in. When would the leaves from the money tree start to fall? I decided to throw out a request to anyone listening, asking for some sign that everything would be okay on the road ahead. And then, I got out of bed to start my day. 

My initial birthday plan was to head out of Portland, find a strenuous hiking trail to conquer, then follow it by a soak in a natural hot spring. But bad weather scratched those plans so I opted for a hike locally.  

As I put on my trail shoes the phone rang. It was someone from ABC’s Good Morning America, wondering if I could drive out to Timberline Lodge --about an hour east of Portland -- and help produce the unfolding story of three missing hikers on Mount Hood. Without hesitation, I said, “absolutely!” He suggested I pack an overnight bag but not to be surprised if I were asked to stay even longer.  

I arrived at Timberline Lodge ( just as the snow started coming down hard. So I took in the historic landmark as quickly as I could. The lodge had been built in the 1930s under Roosevelt. It was adorned with beautiful art work, big stone fireplaces, and stairways with carved etchings. Its exterior also served as the Outlook Hotel in the movie The Shining. Pretty cool. 

But I wasn’t here to sightsee: I was here to work. And all the mayhem surrounding the missing hikers’ story brought back memories of both why I got into journalism and why I got out. The information we were receiving from authorities wasn’t looking good; one hiker had been found dead and his two companions were still missing. As the snowstorm raged on outside, the Sheriff’s office called off the search for the night.  

It was only then I realized I hadn’t eaten all day. The only people left were a reporter from the Oregonian and me. We decided to have dinner at the Timberline’s Cascade Dining Lodge, considered one of the finest restaurants in Oregon. Besides, it was still my birthday after all…why not treat myself? After an amazing meal with complimentary champagne and a delicious glass of pinot noir from a local winery, we topped the night off with an incredible dessert. Here I was celebrating my birthday with a handsome stranger and I was working hard, making some money. It was a far cry from the “lost” feeling I had at the start of the day. I went from melancholy in the morning to the craziness of a last minute job offer, to taking a trip afterall. Talk about a complete 180.  Or, well, at least a 160. 

And though I realized the events of the day weren’t necessarily the path to my *unknown future*, as I blew out my candle, I knew everything really would be okay. I thanked those special angels out there for giving me this renewal of hope -- and I made a wish that the hikers on Mount Hood were safe, warm, and filled with love.

Update: at this blog posting the two hikers remain missing and ground search efforts have resumed. Please keep the hikers and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

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