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on falling in Love with the pine trees…

September 23, 2011

a little over eight years ago, i packed my belongings (well, the really important ones), my dog, and myself, into my 1994 buick lesabre, and drove west. i was at a place in my life where i had nothing to lose (and, frankly, nothing better to do). i had a college degree, many years of experience in food service, and a desire to see what the left coast might have in store for me. i won’t lie– i wanted to move across the country to figure myself out, to fall in Love, and to live happily ever after. and it all happened just like that, but not quite the way i expected.

i don’t want to tell boring stories about my job search or learning my way about the city streets in portland (i still don’t believe there is any intersection where you can legally turn off of sandy boulevard)… i would much rather write about the beautiful greens that show up every fall and last right through spring.  i remember people told me before moving to oregon about the “depressing” rainy season that lasted six months a year and the seasonal afflictions i would feel.  and i readied myself that first autumn for the deep despair that was sure to set in.  but it never came.  because the rains showed up on schedule, along with the fullest spectrum of greens i have ever seen.  the pine trees became even more lush.  the grass grew and grew.  moss came about on rocks and tree trunks in lime and lemon hues.  everything was alive in that long rain.  that long, beautiful season (autumn, winter, spring, blended into one) produced an eternal life… an intensely, seemingly unending, rhapsody of greens.

i don’t want to tell about the evenings i spent bitching with co-workers after hours at the bar, because i would rather write about the beautiful drive to the coast.  headed out of forest grove and onto highway 6, the wilson river winds close to the pavement and journeys with you into the coast range.  and that coast range rises and settles into the valley again near tillamook and all you can see alongside of you are farms and fields and the mountains behind, in your rear-view mirror.  and when you turn right onto highway 101 you will find you catch your breath a moment ( i know i did , every time) and realize, “wow, i live here, and it is breathtaking.”  the beaches up and down the oregon coast are filled with grey skies and monoliths of varying shapes and sizes.  and always impressive to me is the majestic pacific ocean.  i Love to slip my toes into her cold, grey-blue waters.

i don’t want to tell stories about the reasons i moved back to indiana, or the heartbreak i felt to leave a place that, i now know, is my home; i would rather explain that there isn’t a specific instance when i fell in Love with oregon.  it is somewhere inside of the hours and days i spent working.  it is in the midst of the brunette-haired women i call some of my closest friends.  it is in the salt-water crabs that i caught (!) on my own (!) on a dock in garibaldi and ate with garlic bread and margaritas.  it is in drinking my favorite hoppy beers on a picnic table under the summer sky.  it is the sunset highway.  it is rockaway beach.  it is the yummy taquerias and riding the max and the rolling hills and the gravel back roads and the pine trees.  god, i really just couldn’t help but fall in Love with those pine trees.

–lydia stewart

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