Our four day jaunt up to Oregon was likely one of the greatest vacations of my life. Not only did I experience some things that I never have before, but I shared it with a wonderful person who added to the experience ten times over. In addition, my ongoing self-discovery seemed to have opened up even more. In the past three months, I've learned more about myself that I have in the previous ten years or so, and this trip only opened up more.
Instead of recapping each day and what we did, let's just go with some of the memories that seem to bubble to the top:
Lithia Park, Ashland, OR: What a beautiful little nugget in a small town. The duck pond is literally FILLED with ducks. They're all over the pond, crowded on the banks, walking all over the grass, hanging across the street. They are EVERYWHERE. Once they seem to gain your trust (e.g., see you with food in your hand), they'll get within two feet or so. It's a tiny little pond, but there's so much to see. N couldn't get enough of this beautiful tree with BRIGHT yellow leaves. I was in my place with ducks and she in hers with this tree. It was perfect. As we slowly drove out, we witnessed a family of deer literally ON the curb of the street. We pulled over and watched them for about 15 minutes. I was making absurd noises to try and get their attention - they were having none of it. Man were they beautiful.
Crater Lake, OR: How could such a beautiful place exist? The water in the lake is crystal clear. If you walk about 40 yards from the lodge, the only sound you hear is the wind. The smells are like nothing that's hit your senses before. The air is as clear as one can imagine. It's all real. It's all what it's supposed to be. I almost felt guilty being there, because this is nature at its finest. See, Crater Lake was formed about 7700 years ago after a massive volcanic eruption. When everything settled, thus formed Crater Lake. And what a gift. I woke up Monday morning at about 7am. N wanted to sleep some more, so I picked up my ipod and camera and headed out. It was mighty chilly, but the experience of sitting in the woods, leaning back and putting on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's "Master and Everyone" is something that I won't soon forget. It felt like life.
Just so much more to share. This may require that I take a few weeks off work and write a short story or something. It impacted me that much.
Other short highlights:
--N's hysterical laughter at a guy she thought looked like Goran Ivanisevic, when she actually meant that Goran guy from the show E.R. We also contrived a story about this guy's life, including his years in the Serbian War, his love affair with Brian (his fellow waiter) and his years as a soccer star.
--The owners of the Touvelle house in Jacksonville, OR: Gary and Tim, I believe. They showed us such a perfect night. They have four deer actually LIVING on their small plot of land. Every time I went outside, they were there somewhere. And if they weren't in plain site, I would find them. Also, when we first walked into the Bed & Breakfast, Josh Ritter was playing on the house system. What are the chances? Satellite radio will do that for you.
--N: It wouldn't have been half the experience without you. As always, you opened my eyes to so much. It's what you do, even when you don't know that you're doing it. Your smiles, passion, laughs and insights made this trip all the more wonderful.
I am now back in San Francisco. I am glad to be here, but at the same time, I want to return up North. I'll certainly remain here for some time, but a move up North certainly isn't ruled out. Nor should it be.