Thursday, August 26, 2010

love letter

Dear Oregon,

I rather thought this might be a longer letter:  coming over the rise into the first town this side of the state border my heart just swelled a bit inside my breast.  Which makes it sound as if it were your beauty that I love.  But frankly, that first little town of yours looks just like the little towns the other side of the border.  And frankly, I hadn't even noticed we'd crossed over.

But then we pulled in for gas and Fritz stayed in the car.  For which I love you, Oregon. That here we must speak to other human beings even when we drive the freeway. 

And that the pump attendant said, "Hey, my wife's reading that book.  She disappeared into it for like four hours and wouldn't hardly talk to me.  She said it's good."

And I said, "It is."  Because it is.  (It being The Help - very readable,  if a bit thin in characterization.)  For which I also love you, Oregon.  That bookly discussions sprout up everywhere within your green boundaries. 

And then that Fritz and Pump Attendant fell into enthusiastic talk of bikes (because, no doubt, of all the bikes piled up on back - and for which I also love you, that bikely enthusiasm also sprouts up everywhere) while I went into the grocery store for (yes!) ripe nectarines and lovely local plums, passing people in the aisles chatting openly and at their ease with each other and looking up at me to smile as I went past. And not like sneeringly, or with weary patience, but like, Hey! how ya doin'?  even if we are strangers to each other. Oregon strangers.  Friends we just haven't met yet.

And since I must be true to you, it's a pretty good thing, dear Oregon, that you reminded me so early on what I love about you, because what's the deal with all the miles of smoky air from lightning fires all the rest of the way to Portland?  All that burning at the back of the throat and turning the river views all lurid and apocalyptic and even making it hard to see the great white windmills all up and down the river gorge as the guardian archangels that they are.

And that on top of your usual August dryness so brown and crispy everywhere, which of all your seasons, I have to tell you, I like the least. 

Not to mention the more particular and personal subsequent slights, including whatever part you played in the digging up of my long-worked-over garden, bulldozed into dust, and the burlapped rosebushes as dead as desert thanks largely to your uncharacteristic 90-degree days.  But which is nothing compared to what was done to the one successful home-improvement joint-project Fritz and I ever worked at side-by-side.  Which I'm trying not to rage over, tracing in memory - because no one can trace it now by foot - that softly curving local basalt rock walkway lined with creeping beach strawberry and green-apple Roman chamomile, which rock walkway Fritz and I slaved over back-breakingly for weeks when we were younger and rather more able, in body and time, torn out now and the rocks piled in a rude heap.  Not to mention how, even more insultingly, Damma's has now stopped making walnut-orange rolls because obviously no one but me and Eldest ever bought any.  Not to mention how half my heart is elsewhere, stuck somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. 

But Oregon, I do love you for your pinky-purple fireweed along the roadside.  

So maybe if you could just send a little rain -  though not too much, please, i.e., dust to mucky mud - to make me feel I really have come home?

Ever Yours - even half-unwillingly,


Cait said...

Are they going to put the walkway back in?? There was lightning in Oregon? I love you too!!!

Emma J said...

Walkway - if we want them to, but we would rather fit all the crazy pieces together ourselves if we can scrounge up the time.

Lightning - yes, but not here in our coastal corner. Storms over the wide dry plains of the eastern portion.

Love - always.

suzanne said...

It's just this, that you say. That home is the blasted thing you love. I know, I live in Utah.

Melody said...

Oh, my! Lovely.

"...torn out now and the rocks piled in a rude heap."

My hope for you: rain. But not too much.

Emma J said...

Melody - thanks for the kind hopes. It is at least cooler. Still dry and dusty but I'm moving into the "new blank piece of paper" stage of garden-making as the surprise subsides.

Suzanne - that is it exactly. Family is who has to take us in when no one else will. Home is that belonging-place we have to love.

Fresca said...

I would have bought wlanut-orange rolls too!

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