The Long Road to the Hot Tubs

The fact that life is chaotic and circuitous versus an orderly straight path is impossible to understand when you’re 20-years-old.

Formula: 1) Make a plan. 2) Execute plan. 3) Reap desired results.

It doesn’t always work so smoothly. When I was in college, I studied public relations because it felt like the perfect combination of writing and social work. I was a dirt-worshipping warrior honing an arsenal of manipulation, strategy and storytelling for the protection of Mother Earth. But it took thirty years to see my plan of writing for conservation to come true.

This month I edited a press release on the prescribed burn on a conservation easement to eradicate a non-native species and create a sustainable habitat for the Owens Speckled Dace in Benton Hot Springs Ranch for the Eastern Sierra Land Trust.  I interviewed private landowner Bill Bramlette, Steve Parmenter, lead

CDFW Biologist on the Benton Ponds restoration project and Henry Herrera, Unit Forester of Calfire. I sent the email on Monday to science editors, environmental writers, local and regional press with fingers crossed for excellent coverage.

Meanwhile, I booked a special Valentines evening at Benton Hot Springs (also owned by Bill Bramlette) to give more energy to this protected land and wildlife habitat. My heart warmed when I read the community board. I’m humbled to admit that I’ve judged people who live in the sticks as being close-minded and backwards. I actually love it when life opens my blinders. Bam! What a vision opened for me to see their community board in this place in the sticks of Eastern California – just 10 miles from Nevada.

Guests can book a room in the B & B or one of ten camp spots with a private hot tub. I chose tub lucky number 7. It was heaven. Separated from the other tubs, with a wall protecting us from the wind, we soaked from dusk to late in the evening. At first we admired the sagebrush and multi-colored ranges of the snow-capped White Mountains. The first star to appear was the left foot of Orion. We drank our IPAs and ate chocolate covered strawberries as other stars and constellations appeared. 

I had one of my DNA flashbacks looking at lights under the cottonwoods in which I feel/remember three day fandangos in Spanish courtyards with music, dancing, singing, and cracking cascarones – aka hollowed out eggs filled with confetti and perfume that we Californios smash over the heads of loved ones. Our family’s laughter echoing across the open land, the only rancho for miles in Early California.

The next morning we took another soak. I cracked the last beer singing Road House Blues guttural and gritty, just like Jim Morrison. Wild and free, I will always be!

2 thoughts on “The Long Road to the Hot Tubs

  1. Annie says:

    Beautifully written, Jamie. I know the day will come when you’re writing goes to a whole new level and you’re on the NY Times best-seller list and I can say – I know that author. We hiked and laughed and cried together. She’s close to my heart. Love and miss you tons. xoxo

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