Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Place

With rationed time, I limit the blog spots I visit but several comments by other authors drew my attention to the Love of Place blog. As I read the essays and notes about the influence of place on our lives and writing, I knew I needed to give more attention to the place I call home.

For all the years I can remember, I've been a restless sort, pacing up and down the west coast of our country, never straying too far from the middle.

Time has fine tuned my comfort level to the point where my center of gravity is limited to an area about a hundred miles in diameter, right in the middle of Oregon. To the north are the business centers and cities, to the south, the farms, forests, mountains, lakes and mountain towns of southern Oregon and northern California. With the Pacific Ocean an hour to the west of my home and the Cascade Mountains an hour to the east, I live in a valley with a moderated climate. Perfect for an active life style and outdoor activities. Life here doesn't stop for the winter and we don't need to leave in search of a comfortable summer temperature. The morning exercise walk and bike rides happen all year, only the wraps change.

Calls of the crows, blue jays and the scolding chatter of a squirrel wake me in the morning but the low voiced gossiping of the junkos hidden in the shrubs goes on all day. Any time I drive to the mall, or in any direction but to the city center, I count the day as lost if I don't spot a great blue heron, or two.

In my soul, the truly special feature of my place is the rushing river that passes through the town. I drive over it to go anywhere east of my home, again if I visit grandchildren to the north of us. I park where I can see the river when I go in or out of the mall to shop and I walk or ride my bike on the path beside the river as often as I can. If I'm upset or angry, a visit to the river bank calms me enough to let me function.

From a place lacking violent storms, deep freezes or baking heat, it's clear to me why my written thoughts are not based on fantasy or high drama. They are not experiences of the hero or the villian. Extremes of human behavior seldom happen in an environment of calm. My writings are the stuff of life in the middle, where most of us live, work, grow, love, and die.