July 31: Oregon – is that three syllables?

I’ve been to a lot of places with natural beauty on this trip, but the Oregon coast is truly beautiful. Not just beautiful, but more-so-with-every-turn kind of beautiful.

Green and lush at the top. Drier at the bottom. Spectacular vistas await you at every turn.

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Amazing nature even on the small scale.

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And it smells good. From the pine scent of the forests, to the fresh-ground-pepper smell of the low lake marshes. Flowers abound, both wild, and carefully cultivated.

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That’s not smoke coming off the Saab – it’s morning mist.

People are friendly (even at PDX airport security). The abundant hippy hobos are polite in their panhandling (and probably a bit stoned). The supermarket check-out clerks seem over-educated. People look you in the eye.

At first, I thought it might be nostalgia-colored glasses that made me adore the Oregon coast so much. I spent a few weeks every summer of my childhood and adolescence here, and visited most years since. Grandma’s house (and grandma herself) is just as I remember from my 9th birthday.

I think the butter from her fridge may actually be from my 9th birthday.

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It’s a place I can step back in time and see the stomping grounds and handiwork of my forefathers.

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Grandpa McD made these cut-outs for Pixieland and Pixie Kitchens in the 1960s

But it’s really much more than that.

I feel calmer with an ocean close on the western side. I like air I can breathe. I like a cool ocean breeze, and a state that had the foresight to freeze coastal development 40 years ago. What other state cherishes its coast enough to put pull-outs for viewing every half mile? Where else can you walk along a shore without being bombarded with a carnival-like atmosphere, casinos, funnel cakes and trash?

I have not seen a piece of trash on the beach yet.

I know it rains 9 of 10 days. I know it’s cold most of the time. I know there’s virtually nothing for a classically-trained bass player to do here for a living. But someday. Someday, I want to call this home.

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