It is said we should love where we live and I can say with all honesty I do! Gratitude is a constant for my parent’s adventuresome spirit that took them on the long journey west from Ohio when I was just a babe in my mother’s womb. Oregon is the only place I have called home and what a place it is, all 98,466 square miles of it!
My youth was spent in the abundant lushness of the Willamette Valley. It was an idyllic childhood. Early memories remain of the flowers mama grew, of climbing the tree in the front yard to feast over their color and fragrance. There was always honeybees buzzing about their business of collecting pollen and my siblings and I were the glad receivers of fresh honey dripped comb from the hives my father faithfully tended. Our turn of the century home was surrounded by forests and farmer’s fields and many hours were spent adventuring, making mud pies and picking bouquets of wildflowers.
When we traveled the roads led west to the Oregon Coast. Here was another source of enchanting diversion, one that still can set my soul aright. In the words of Mary Oliver:
“I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”
The day came when my Dad took the family east over the Cascade Mountains to live in a completely different world. What I once thought of as a harsh and barren landscape was a shock to these senses used to the gentleness of the Willamette Valley.
Given time Eastern Oregon grows on a person and with out even being aware of the change within I grew to love the open spaces and the richness this land could give. I learned to go night crawler hunting and fish for fresh trout. I went mushroom hunting and thunder egg hunting! A whole new species of wild plants were there to become acquainted with. And the night skies! Soon I was singing along with my Dad “Give me land, lots of land under starry skies above! Don’t’ fence me in”.
Eventually I returned to the green valley of my roots to raise my own flowers and family. My continued love for this beautiful state leads me on constant road trips in all directions of the compass to discover and rediscover this Oregon truly beautiful! I give thanks.