Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Road Through Oregon


In the early '90s I made the obligatory journey of the searching soul, the directionless youth, the dreamer, otherwise known as the recently-graduated: a cross-country road trip to the land of the endless summer.  The car was packed with all of my worldly possessions and I had high hopes for a new and exciting life in northern California.  Reality hit pretty hard and pretty quickly - I knew California was not for me - and knowing of my distress, two good friends, a couple, offered a rescue of sorts and asked me to visit them over Thanksgiving.  So I ran away, at least briefly, and headed up to Tacoma, WA.

My trusty, nine-lived car, a tiny white Hyundai Excel hatchback and I motored onto I-5, atlas on the seat next to me, a pile of cassette tapes at the ready.  Now so many years later, there isn't a lot from that journey north that I remember - mostly that I was trying to get to Tacoma as quickly as I could - but I do remember the green of Oregon.  The highway at times cut between mossy mountains misted with wisps of fog; moisture was everywhere, was on everything.  Glimpses of houses among the thick of the trees.  The swooshing sound of tires on wet road.  The deep greens and soft grays of the landscape felt comforting to my eyes.  It all struck me as fresh and clean and I kind of envied those people living among the pines and hills.

Those brief but vivid memories only came back to me the other day after a friend of mine, an Oregon native transplanted to southern Ohio, asked if I could create a card to mark a sad occasion.  She suggested muted colors and maybe pine trees, something comforting.  I immediately pictured Oregon and the mist suspended in the air over the trees and the mountains, the soothing colors along the road traveling north.

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