that's what love does to you...

So, a little holiday recap is in order.

This time last week, I went into the woods, to the mountain, to the beach. Afterwards, I went back into the woods, to the mountain and then to the beach again. Then, I rode my bike all over Portland and when I was done doing that... I went back to the coast for Fourth of July fireworks and bonfires on the beach. The next day, I slept in, sipped bloody marys, ate burbon pancakes, went for a walk in the Rose Gardens, ate walla-walla onion rings, and picked fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Honestly, everyday was just about the best day ever. In fact, most days in Oregon seem like just about the best days ever. Yes, even in the winter. Yes, even when it rains.

Have I mentioned before that I love Oregon? Have I mentioned that I love having so many amazing places and things to do right at my finger tips. The coast, the woods, the mountains, the river, the art, the culture, the beer, the coffee... I feel so gluttonous for being able have my cake and eat it too, all the time. I feel as if any moment all this amazingness could be snatched away from me and I could be sent back to live in Ohio, so that is why I try to pack as much in as I can into every day and every moment. My new found home never fails to amaze me. Oh, have I mentioned before that I love Oregon? Cause I do.

Honestly. Straight up. No lie.

In fact, I think I have a greater love in my heart for spots on a map than I do for actual people. And that's not to sound cold hearted or anything... as I am uber-capable of loving people, but certain geographic places have more of a pull on me than any one person could. Since I was younger, I have always believed that as long as I am living in a place that I like, then I can be happy no matter what my situation in life is. Maine, which I've previously written about, is one of these places and the more I live here, the more I do, the more I find that Oregon and the Pacific Northwest also has the same pull on me.

A few years ago I was choosing a book to read for a trip to Europe and I randomly selected "Out of Africa" off the shelf. Having seen and loved the movie, I thought I would equally enjoy the book... and I did. But what really drew me into the story wasn't so much the romance between the dreamy roguish Denys Finch Hatton as the writing in general. Viewed by "some as not that exciting of a story", I loved reading it for the way that Isak Dineson (pen name for the Danish Baroness Karen Blixen) swept you up in the words and imagery. Blixen so loved Africa, the people, the culture, the feel of everything - that it is apparent in the way she writes. In one of her writings, Blixen shared a thought about non-tangible love that when I read it - instantaneously hit home with me. She wrote "A great passion, such as one that truly devours your heart and soul, you cannot feel for individual beings. Perhaps, you cannot feel it for anything which is capable of loving you in return. Those officers who have loved their armies, those lords who have loved their soil... they can talk about passion."

So true, so true. For me, this is the love I feel in my current surroundings. It is not a love of any ownership or any promises, but it is a love and a passion that transcends and goes deeper than candlelight dinners and warm embraces. Like Blixen said, the land cannot love me back. In fact, lands acts much like a river, one day it provides you with fish and the next day it destroys your house. The love is an appreciation, a respect. In sickness and in health, in sun and in rain. The land will never buy me flowers or take me to the movies, but with the land... I have unlimited days of free and unencumbered pleasure, I have dreams of my future and stories of my past. And so I say thank you. Thank you Oregon.

Anyways, I digress... here are some photos from the weekend:

surfing the 45 degree waters in Pacific City

cliffs on the coast

the view from Hebo Mountain, the tallest peak around

4th of July fireworks and bonfires at Seaside


*Funny note about this photo of my dog Anna:

She looks cute and completely adorable here right?

Well, this was taken about an hour after my she rubbed herself in poo - fresh human stinky poo (I shit you not). She wasn't so cute and adorable then. We were walking the cliffs in Pacific City and she was on leash when she decided to go explore some nearby bushes. Sam* saw this and exclaimed "jenn, your dog is rubbing herself in something!" So Sam tugged on the retractable leash and exclaimed "Oh my god!... Anna just rubbed herself in s**t!" It was then that Anna came running up to me as proud as could be in a "look at me mom!" kinda way.

Oh boy did I look at her. I looked at her and saw the light brown smearing of poo all over the side of her face, on her neck and her pretty green collar. And the worst thing was... the poo smelled. It smelled so bad! In fact it was one of those "I need to cover my nose or else I'm gonna throw up" kinda smells. To make things more disgusting, we figured that due to the roll of toilet paper and the bottle of cold unopened water laying right near the poo in the bushes, that some one must had diarrhea while hiking and came and came prepared. So, I grabbed the bottle of water, opened it and poured it on my dog... but no luck with getting the poo off. So then we proceeded to walk back down the massive sand dunes where I kicked sand in my dogs face (to solidify the runny smelly s**t, ya know), and then doused her in the ice cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Luckily, at the nearby surf spot there were hot showers where I further cleaned her and her nice green collar, but let me just say - that s**t was nasty.

Regardless though, I'm probably wrong, but I'm under the impression that s**t in Oregon probably smells better than it does anywhere else, but that's what love does to you.

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