Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Oregon Trail

Most hotels offer wifi now, and godblessthem for it. My eyes are all overexposed from the screen-light causing me to squint at these words. Thank goodness for the keyboard back-lighting as I sit here typing in the pitch dark next to snoring baby and hubs.

Hello from the Oregon coast! Or actually, factually, we are now on the northern California coast in Crescent City which sits right above the Redwood forest. But we spent the last two days more or less on the Oregon coast and boy was it yummy. In this moment I hear a lighthouse horn that should be more romantic sounding than it is and the churning humming of the mini-fridge that makes maxi-mum noise but that makes it sound bad but wait! I misrepresent. I'm peaceful, I'm content and actually a little sleepy from a sunburn thanks to an amazing hike through white dunes (see pic to right). But the main feeling running me now is that I couldn't be further from home.

We've been gone so long away from the smoke and madness of LA and in the meantime have gotten all woo-d by the beauty of the pacific northwest. If I hadn't already lived here before and felt the unrelenting sprinkling rain, low-flying gray and bone-chilling cold of the winters we would have already put in an urgent call to a moving company to pack our place. But September is Chamber of Commerce time for Oregon and Washington and I WON"T BE FOOLED DAMMIT! As tempting as it is. And do you want to know why this land is so damn delicious? It's the trees.

On the drive up we found ourselves going into the evenings more than once and the night we drove into Ashland well past the big-headed baby's bedtime. Thankfully he'd drifted off to some quality sleep in his car chair (aka the bucket) and I sat beside him in the backseat as we drove along in silence through the dense siskiyou trees. Now I'm going to risk you guys thinking I am nuts (oh really Jane? Like this is new?) but I am telling you these trees were talking to me. Or better said, stroking the side of my face with their gorgeous green, cool softness. Stoic and statuesque, they loved me from rooted solidarity in the dark. The moon was amping up the magic by providing back-lighting and ghostly suggestions.

Oh lawd I tried getting all poetic on you people. So sorry, but... don't hold you think I have a future?

Anyway. I'm just here to tell you that if you take the 101 South through Oregon you will become a conservationist and get better at only using 3 squares of toilet paper or okay 4 but no more than 5 for a special day and only 1/2 a paper napkin with your turkey sandwich and god forbid ever print anything again. It's devastating to realize that we are all such giant consumers of these amazing creatures. You can see in this picture the thick gorgeous fringe of trees on the roadside. But what you can't see is that right behind them more often than not is nothing. Speeding along you can glimpse through the fringe a graveyard of churned up earth where trees used to be. It's land chunked out by clear-cutting or perhaps you'll see a little tiny army of baby trees on their way up.

I couldn't help but think of those one walled sets that you see on backlots in hollywood. It's a great looking storefront or what-have-you but it's literally one wall with empty nothingness behind it. I think these NW Chamber of Commerce troublemakers keep that one or two layers of trees by the 101 so we don't see the insidious tree-killing going on the back room.

What's a tourist to do. The world is so full of troubles but at least we got to eat ice-cream at Tillamook creamery, right? And while this trip has been such a reprieve from the banality of it all and I will readily admit magical Northwest has soothed my singed little self, it's best to tell you the whole truth. While I started this post with a big ol dose of contentment and yum we should probably round out those emotions with some serious paper guilt and a little bit of sadness for the trees.


  1. I would drive across the country for the best in:

    Cheeseburger, Margarita, or Ice Cream. Looks like you got that last one covered.

  2. #1 i'm jealous, i was supposed to drive from portland to la with lil' heather, but got a job and had to cancel the trip!

    #2 i feel the same about trees - they are so sacred to me - i love to hug them. i found paganism 3 years ago and it all gelled perfectly with my crazy adoration of trees and animals.

    #3 i had my first spiritual experience driving along the coast when i was 21 years old and nursing an enormous hangover. i saw jesus in the trees. and i'm not christian. it was cool. j-dog, just kickin' it. for cereal.

    #4 this is a very personal comment i'm leaving, but i felt moved to share! which leads me to...

    #5 when one MUST comment, it means the writer is making one's neurons fire, therefore, the square root of good writer is jane!

    love you, miss you, please come home soon! la needs you and so do we :)