By Bob Hicks
Scatter friends Karen and John got home a few weekends ago from Hells Canyon Mule Days in Enterprise, in the Wallowa Valley of far eastern Oregon, and it got us to thinking about the big wide stretches and the places in America where work is still manual and landbound and practical in a vastly different and more elemental way than the workaday practicalities of living an ordinary urban life.
It was the thirtieth anniversary of Mule Days, and Mr. Scatter, who was on the spot for last year’s festivities, which he wrote about here and here, was sorry to miss the big blowout. Of course, with about 1,800 people (plus another 1,000 or so just up the road in Joseph) Enterprise is a giddy metropolis compared to the landscapes of two books we’ve been pondering lately — British photographer Jane Hilton‘s Dead Eagle Trail and Portland area novelist Rosanne Parry‘s Heart of a Shepherd. Both books take imaginative looks at territories where the high lonesome is not just a fact but also, often, a comfort of life. And don’t these two cowboys just look like they’re cut from the same cloth?