An Oregon Thing

It Was Night Time

I was driving home at 9:30 at night a few days ago, top down, wind in my hair and it happened. That familiar hush, of Sonoma County, in the night time, the damper to sound and traffic. The night sky was glowing the way it does when low clouds, or high fog, are hovering just overhead–compressed into a sound dampener. Total dejavous swept over me, obliterating that moment and smashing it into hundreds of moments where I’d been in an entirely different state. A different world really.

Here I am in Bohemia, and I am having a flashback to CowCountry.

In the high deserts of Central Oregon, the nights are crisp and clear. It sounds like an exaggeration to the rest of the country but trillions of stars stand out like bright sequins, the light from the stars so bright that the Cascade Mountains are backlit, a ragged, majestic silhouette of razor sharp peaks . None of that was happening here in Sonoma.

The night sky was glowing softly,  alive and lit from within, like soft bioluminescence. There are no real mountains (sorry sonoma…truth hurts) but the air smelled familiar, taking me back to so many summer And fall nights growing up.  In Sonoma–in the neighborhoods close to where I live–evening smells rotate with different times of the year; there’s fragrant jasmine nights, eucalyptus, rain, mown grass, sometimes apple blossoms and daffodils, fermenting (rotting fruit, usually grapes but at my house it could be figs) even wine can fill the air from various wineries…other nights the pungent smell of feedlots and ranch stuff can hang in the air (there are plenty of cows in Central Oregon but rare, unless you’re the rancher, to smell them on any given night)…and other times of year (in Sonoma) you can drive around and smell out which of your neighbors are pot farmers…

Tonight it just smelled like a late summer or fall night in Central Oregon, it smelled like a wood fire, a forest fire. No seriously. NorCal is on fire, Oregon is on fire, Washington, Idaho and Montana are all beating down fires…I don’t think fog is hanging over head, I think it might be smoke.dt.common.streams.StreamServer

Rampant fires are taking homes, lives and property.  When I was in school I took four years of Forestry. It’s an Oregon thing.  I even took college credit courses in forestry fire-fighting, built firelines, did some backburning…cleared a lot of brush and understory… I wanted to grow up to be a superhero. A firefighting superhero, I got side tracked with boys, and life rearranged some of those one-time dreams, but I remember how rewarding it was and how much work it was and I remember during one course a fire we were following had several firefighters from Arizona die. I remember how serious it is.11880440_10207489730543946_6792181153920138706_n How devastating everything can be in the blink of an eye.

So I’m driving home at nine o’clock at night, the top off the jeep, looking at the glowing night air and doing something I haven’t done in a while…thinking about families whose loved ones are out protecting others from fire, putting themselves between homes and fires…If I’m honest I found myself saying prayers. I don’t know what makes another person decide they are willing to risk their life for the welfare of strangers, but I am thankful for them, not just the ones fighting fires. 

9 thoughts on “An Oregon Thing

      • “M,” I don’t think your concerns are political, but real & personal for the people & the region!!! That’s very justified. We feel guilty complaining of our woes in comparison to theirs. We have just been through weeks of A/C hell replacing a 34 year old WINDOW A/C that we had a contractor put in the WALL when we had him enclose our porch into a room. The issue was the hole in the wall would not accommodate a proper wall A/C sleeve. Plus that contractor put the old A/C in so permanently, we couldn’t get it out. Found a new Window/Wall A/C at PC Richards. Spent 12 hours ripping out the old one piece by piece. Spent another 12 hours enclosing the wall opening for the smaller new A/C & installing the new one. I did the demolition stage. Geri & I did the carpentry & installation together. “Ignition”……..The new A/C….A Friedrich….screeched so loud we turned it off immediately. Two days later, the Friedrich authorized repair guys adjust the fan wheel & all is well. Now just painting outside trim & putting in interior trim. Sorry to unload while people’s homes are burning to the ground. –A very fine work by you!!! Phil

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, the frustrations are real, and you have enough perspective to be thankful for those kinds of troubles. Glad you have A/C. Mostly people don’t need it here in Sonoma…even if they think they do, they don’t. Nothing like East Coast heat.

        Liked by 1 person

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