Good Night, America, How Are You?, Day 9 : the Wilds of Oregon

I think we’re in Southern Oregon this morning.
For miles at a time, all we saw was pine trees — 30 foot pine trees. Once in awhile, my daughter says, “Snow! That’s snow! How is that snow?”. In the distance, sure enough, there is snow on mountain tops. We are high up — thousands of feet above sea level. Earlier, my wife had piped up about something as well. In that case it was the river and how low the water is. The sun is hot and the air is thin, but there is beauty all around us.

Nature is fending off advances from humanity here. It is beautiful and people are sparse. There is a connection between those two things. Given the heat and thin air and small amounts of water, no one who didn’t want to would live here.

Out the window, there is the stray farmer who own a huge piece of land and the cabin/trailers for the migrants who will work the field. There is the stray rancher here and there with small herds of cattle. There are semis on the long highways next to the train. These are people who like to be alone. They come here because they want to get away from people or because they are willing to / have to cope with it all to feed their families.

Later on, “majestic” is the the thing.
Mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers are all on display and they are gorgeous.

As we come into Eugene, our biggest city so far, it seems like we have arrived in a suburb, stuck in the middle of the forest!

Oregon is, it seems, a place for people who love nature, but don’t like crowds. They like wild-ness and they like wilderness. I don’t think he came this far, but I am reminded of Daniel Boone who went to the wilderness as a trailblazer and when the “regular” people arrived after him, he moved on. The place might also be thought of as an extension of Southwestern Canada. In any case, no one stumbles upon Oregon. You have to want to be here.

There are people like Boone — who love the natural world more than the pleasantries and “culture” of their own species. If you are one of them, Oregon seems like place for you.


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