photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weird. I Thought I Already Had a Home

Dear Oregon,

It's not you. It's me.

I admit, we were swept away and delayed for hours by the Magic that is NW Washington state. We didn't plan it. It wasn't intentional. We were going to dabble our toes in Seattle and just to the north and west of there and head your way- spending a leisurely day enjoying your pleasures from North to South before checking into our hotel at a reasonable hour.

But Washington whispered, "Just one more ferry- look! If you take the Edmonds/Kingston at 12:20 I can show you things. I can show you Port Gamble with its historic buildings and cemetery on the hill, I can show you the glittering blue diamond water of the Hood Canal where eagles soar in front of the backdrop of Mt. Ranier rising seemingly out of the depths of the water. That will be out your left window while the huge pines and giant fronds of ferns brush up against your right. For miles and miles and miles. Here-take a right in Hoodsport clinging tight to the water and drive up this mountain- skirt Lake Cushman and take the two lane to the one lane to the dirt road. Right here, at the Staircase Ranger Station which IS the end of the road, get out and start walking."

"The ferns are waist-deep while tiny little flowers blanket fallen logs in shades of pink and white and yellow- rhinestones grown into the pattern of green mosses. Now look up. Can you see the tops of these trees? At their very narrowest top they are as big around as the biggest oak in Texas. There is no hugging these trees- arms spread wide barely make the slightest arc around the base of the trunks."

"Listen- nothing but the sound of the wind, the cacophony of water roiling over and around massive boulders in the river- watch the Canada gees teach their offspring to navigate this highway, patiently and over and over again the parents take them through the smaller milder sections till their charges can stay upright instead of going toes-up for a second and then bob rightside up; blinking the river out of their eyes and sneezing it out of their nose...and then they move to ones a little bigger and faster and repeat."

"Can you imagine dinosaurs living here?"

"Can you imagine bigfoot living here?"

"Can you imagine yourself living here?"

Yes. Yes. Yes.

So I'm sorry, Oregon- all we managed to see of you was black highway and a truck stop for gas. We did drive through Portland at night and it was beautiful. Alec said that a friend of his 'warned' him about Portland- said it's nothing but homeless people and hippies. We made a wrong turn and ended up down inside for a few minutes and that was a pretty accurate description. Alec's comment- "Ah. So it's Big Denton. Cool."

I'm sure today will show us that you are every bit as beautiful as Washington. And I know that you managed to charm me with your mandatory full-service gas station attendants.

Me- "What? Really? I haven't seen full-service in over 30 years. Are you SURE?"

Attendant- "Yes, ma'am. And thank you for not threatening to shoot me like the last Texan who pulled in here."

But Washington laughs at your attempt to woo us away from there.

Washington whispers, "You have good friends here, the social climate is as appealing as the actual climate, the part of me you fell in love with is driving distance to...everything while being remote and magical- you know you've found perfection."

And then Washington smiles and adds, "And as of July 1- recreational weed is legal here."

Damn you, Washington. You know you had me at Temperate Rainforest...


  1. I feel much the same way and have for years...we've often visited friends and relatives in the area and taken ferries even over to Vancouver Island and many of the small islands in Puget Sound and the San Juans...but, much as we admired the place and fell in love with it, we could never find anything that could remotely be a homestead like we have here at a price that we could actually afford.

  2. I can understand completely. As much as I've grown to love the prairie, Washington still whispers to my heart and tugs at my soul like a long lost love whom I only see now in pictures and dreams.