Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Pine Valley Pilgrimage

 I started out before the sun came up, while the rest of the house was still sleeping.  As I made my way out of the city, the sun rose and the hills turned a soft hazy pink against the smoky skyline; evidence of the fires far to the west. 
 I made my way to Pine Valley, the final home of Dorinda Slade.

She died  in her 87th year, in this valley so isolated and beautiful.  The temperature dropped 30 degrees upon my arrival in the high mountain valley; the air was crisp and cool. 
 Her log cabin across from the Pine Valley chapel is gone, but I wondered if the vacant lot with the antique apple trees may have been where her little log cabin once stood. 
 Could this house have been her across-the-street neighbor?
 I crossed the cattle guard next to the open range and entered the cemetery on the hill across the valley to find Dorinda's final resting place.  A ring-nosed bull charged the fence and I was glad I had heeded the sign on the gate surrounding the cemetary and closed it securely after me.  We stared at one another through the fence until he finally lost interest and lumbered away.  With my heart pounding, I looked for Dorinda's headstone. I knew it was there; I had seen photos, but there was sage brush and weeds covering every inch of the plots, except where family members had cleared the stones.  There must be no one close by to tend Dorinda's plot. A bit sad, really.  I couldn't find one single physical reminder of her, but I know she was here.  We have one of her last quilts, made in Pine Valley.  It's a testament to her talent, passion, and artistry. She created such joy and beauty with her needle in this peaceful, isolated valley.
I can see Dorinda, sitting in her cool shady log cabin with her needle in hand, piecing or quilting on her frame suspended from the ceiling, the sunlight filtering in through the window.  And at the end of the day, she put a clean white sheet over her work and she pulled the frame up into the rafters until daylight crept over the hills once again. 

I could hear the cows mooing and calling to each other across the valley.  There was no other sound except the rustling of the wind.  No cars, no noise, just the birds, the moo-ing cows, the smell of the sage, and me with my thoughts.
  Dorinda must have loved living here in this peaceful solitude.  I know I would.

  I got in the car and headed down the road, but I'll be back.

3 comments:

  1. Wow what a lovely trip. That quilt is beautiful. I often marvel at how pioneer women had time to make such gorgeous quilts -- they had a hard lot!

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  2. What a lovely post. Dorinda Melissa Moody Goheen Slade is my Maternal 4th great-Grandmother. I descend from her thus:
    Dorinda Mellisa Moody m. Michael Roup Goheen
    Eliza Adaline Goheen m. Robert Lewis Lloyd
    Mary Dorinda Loyd m. Henry Chadburn, Jr
    James William Chadburn m. Alice Elizabeth Holt
    James Clark Chadburn m. Lula Paxman
    Jeannie Chadburn m. John Frederick Fechser
    Rebecca Fechser Everett
    How is it that you own her last quilt made in Pine Valley? That is WONDERFUL and Marvelous.

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    1. Dorinda is also my grandmother (3-great) and I also come through Eliza. The next generation I come through Fredonia (Mary's sister) so if I'm right that would make us 3rd cousins one removed. I've always heard good things about Grandma Goheen. I was just at the pioneer museum in Salt Lake City where a quilt of hers is on display

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