Oregon 2005 (9)


12. Dirk



 Thursday Sept. 22, 2005. Not the least of the benefits I have derived from my connection with The Monroe Institute is that I have begun so many friendships at programs there. The day after Michael and I return from Crater Lake, and he returns to his everyday life, my friend Dirk comes down to see Lost Valley and spend the day. Dirk, who lives in Salem, is a native Oregonian and very proud of it. He sees that I like Oregon, and is unsurprised but satisfied.


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Oregon 2005 (8)

11. Crater Lake

Tuesday Sept. 20, 2005. Michael Langevin and I arrive at Crater Lake at mid-morning, coming down the Rim Road that skirts the western edge of the crater. I pull in to the first turnout, anxious to connect with the energy of what I knew had to be one of the sacred places of the earth. The earth has no shortage of power spots, but you don’t everyday come across a place like this drowned volcano crater, so intimately connected with fire and water both. The rim road is far above the surface of the lake, and the lake surface extends four miles in one direction, six in another. Standing as close to the edge as I can, I look out and down, wanting to connect with it, not just gaze at it. I close my eyes and move my energy, feeling my connection to the earth – and am staggered by what seems almost a physical impact. The place has presence! I feel it, and feel instantly more alive, more joyous, as if someone had turned up my rheostat.

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Oregon 2005 (7)

10. Lost Valley

Saturday Sept. 17, 2005. Originally, I timed my visit so that I could participate in Lost Valley’s Community Education Week. But a few days before my departure date, they cancelled the CEW because only one other person had signed up. I came anyway, figuring that if nothing else, I’d get to see Keli and her family. And I was still curious, still trying to feel my way toward the future. Was life in a community the best future for me? Was it even a possibility?

LVEC has been around a good while now, having been founded in 1989. That’s a lot of life experience, a lot of members having come and gone over the years. Anyone who has ever tried to run a small business can imagine the intricacies of a self-governing community held together mostly by shared (or perhaps overlapping, partially-shared) ideals and visions. Ideals are all very well, and are indeed essential, but the exigencies of everyday life have a way of conflicting with them, creating sometimes painful dilemmas.

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Oregon 2005 (6)



9. Tillamook Air Museum

Saturday Sept. 17, 2005.

Standing on the deck of the lightship Columbia in Astoria, chatting with the caretaker, I had told him I was going to be driving down the coast, and asked him what he would recommend seeing. He mentioned two or three things, but the one that stuck was the air museum at Tillamook. I made a note, and the next day, here I am.


It’s huge. The top of that arch is something like 190 feet in the air. Eight full-sized blimps sheltered there during the war, and eight more in its companion building. The buildings were made entirely of wood, because during the war metal had to be reserved for building ships and trucks and tanks and artillery pieces and shells and communication wire and all the million other things needed in an all-out war effort. Each hangar comprised something like two million board-feet of timber, designed and slapped together as quickly as possible, because of the desperate need.

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Oregon 2005 (5)



8. Governor West

Saturday Sept. 17, 2005. Driving down the coast from Seaside, Saturday morning, I come to Neahkanie, a mountain that juts into the seacoast, interrupting the long flat highway of sand that extends, otherwise, down the Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California state line. At a scenic turnoff at Neahkahie is a marker honoring Oswald West, the state’s Governor from 1911 to 1915. He deserves that monument. He helped save 400 miles of beaches for the public.

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Oregon 2005 (4)


7. Seaside

 Friday Sept. 16, 2005. From Astoria I retrace my steps to 101, figuring to make my way down to Florence, where I would turn inland, but not caring how or when I got there. A sign catches my attention, and I turn off toward the sea. At the end of the road is a parking lot and beach access, and I spend a good while on that wide, flat, gritty beach, with its backdrop of dark blue sky and ever-changing, delightful clouds. Across from the lot is a Vacancy sign, and so I spend the afternoon on the beach and the night in a rented condo unit whose windows open up to the sea

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Oregon 2005 (3)

5. Cities

Thursday Sept. 15, 2005. At suppertime I go back to Lewis and Clark and pick up Ari, and she and I go for supper downtown. (We get lost a little, or rather, get carried by traffic and slow reflexes across the river, and have to find our way back without being carried into Washington state.) The last time I had seen her, she was in high school, and here she is a sophomore in college, poised, intelligent and happy. (I can’t remember being poised, intelligent and happy at that age – or, for that matter, since.)

We eat at a nice Indian place she knows and we walk to Powells, for why would anyone visit Portland and not see Powell’s? But I have no real taste for book shopping. For the moment I have had enough of books, and besides, I have been up since 4:30 a.m. eastern time. I do find a Robert Crais I had been waiting for, but I am too tired to do the extensive browsing that once would have been a matter of course.

We have to cut the evening short, not only because it was three hours later for me than the clocks said, but because I am loathe to be driving after dark. Ever since a night a few years ago in Denver when I found myself road-blinded by some construction arc lights and couldn’t see the lanes of the road, I have had a healthy distrust of my ability to drive safely at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. So I get Ari back to the dorm and say goodnight, expecting to see her again the next day, after her classes were over.

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