My son Pathfinder told me that Oregon — at least the western part — is a place trees really like to grow. When I traveled north from his house the trees filled my vision and my heart. I didn’t have time to pull over at every turnout and go hug one of them, but that is what seemed the reasonable thing to do.
My days were full of trees, ocean, rivers — and weather. I walked on this beach, four days in a row, and listened to the rain clattering on the metal roof at night, and the wind howling.
My trusty raincoat was necessary attire, but while I was at the coast there were daily breaks in the rain long enough for a good outing. But the weather could change so fast! These next pictures were taken within a couple of minutes of each other:
As long as I was on the coast I didn’t feel the cold, and the weather was only exciting. I had worried just before setting out, about the prudence of traveling to a colder and wetter climate in this month of the year when one wants to start hibernating. But I never regretted going.
When I left the coast and drove inland it was to Corvallis, new-old home of my former housemate Kit, who had been with me the last two years. She took me to one of her favorite eateries in that college town, the Yummi Café, where they make their signature Yumm Sauce that I have come to love because of her.
And she showed me her favorite tree on the Oregon State campus, a beautiful and comforting sight out the window of one of her classes the first autumn she was a student there. You can see why she would love it:
My first night with Kit we slept at the farm where she had lived for several years before moving to California. Several generations and families live here in Philomath, and they all work at chores such as keeping the forest floor clean by burning downed wood and trimmings.
As the sun was already lowering when we arrived, Kit suggested we take a walk around the property to see the animals such as Soay sheep, and also down the road to Marys River and the covered bridge.
I was really glad for my other new coat, a warm winter parka, because now the temperature was near freezing, and the air damp from the daily rain. Our walk was brisk in every way, and the children among us bump-splashed their bicycles through a string of potholes filled with rainwater.
As the sky grew dimmer the burn piles shone brighter, and their wood smoke scented the wintry air. I remembered in my body the cold fog of my childhood winters, but this was a cheerier feeling, like being in a Little House book, or a Currier and Ives video…?
I was thoroughly charmed, as well as humbled and warmed by the farm family welcoming me so heartily — and feeding me heartily, and giving me a spacious and cozy bedroom all to myself.
In the morning this was our view, the clouds hanging out between the ridges and in the little valleys of the wooded hills. And we all — about eleven of us — drove into town for Divine Liturgy.
I spent another night with Kit and her parents in Eugene, where I was also treated royally. I began to wonder if all my hosts were conspiring to see how much fattening up of me they could accomplish in a mere two weeks. All in love, of course!
Most of my driving was not in the rain, until the last day, and then I drove in and out of clouds so frequently that I was captivated by the times when I emerged from a downpour to see the white drifts hanging out prettily nearby.
Then suddenly I was back in northern California…
…and in another day or so was home again. Just in time for Thanksgiving! I’m oh so grateful for a fun expedition and vacation, but even more glad to be in my own bed and kitchen. When I came in the front door it was to a bright wood fire that housemate Susan had got going, the most welcome sight.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends!