Smells like “pioneer spirit”

Globe

airstreamMy husband, Adam, has a since developed a shorthand we use whenever someone asks us why we dropped everything and moved to Oregon.

“Pioneer spirit,” he says.

For him, these two words hold everything you need to know.  We chose adventure. Not cut-your-arm-off-while-trapped-under-a-rock-adventure, more like: Let’s-go-find-a-place-that’s-green-all-year-round adventure.

The trail ends in Oregon.  It’s the oasis you find after crawling through the desert, the light at the end of the tunnel, the Eden you live in fear of being thrown out of.

Oregon was this idea for me before it was ever a place.

Oregon – with its fewer rules, its less established social structures, its lingering Wild West essence keeping everyone from stepping over the line. People out there made their own yogurt. They repurposed old barns into yurts. They cut their Christmas trees from the National Forest with their rough, hairy hands. They held memorial services for honeybees who died from colony collapse disorder.

These people who live in Oregon – they weren’t just doctors, or account managers, or dentists; they were bicycle-messaging barista assemblage artists or kombucha fermenting fire-poi spinning moms of four. Everyone in Oregon comes with a subtitle.

I had this idea that people living in Oregon ingested so many free radicals from the blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries they were eating that they were all out there on the edge of the Pacific, aging backwards. I wanted that, too.

Me?  As a young person I always felt like an 85-year-old woman trapped in a pinup girl’s body. By the time we decided to move to Oregon, I was getting tired of moving every year or two, so so tired of creating a new village every single time only to drop it all and move on. I was ready to add a few subtitles.

In Oregon, you could be anything you want to be. You could craft your life in such a way that it resembled exactly what you were meant to become. It was a place so fertile in the imagination it was as if your very spirit, this thing inside you, went out and carved mountains, dug out valleys, swept its hand across the earth and left a hillside covered in prairie flax. In Oregon, anything seemed possible and everything seemed doable. The only barriers to happiness were you you you.

You have to be a little crazy to drop everything and chase an idea like this. But I am the kind of person who believes in imagining the thing before I feel it, in sensing something before I smell it, someone who gets caught up in the myth of things.

Pioneer Spirit? Sure. But the real answer was we had no idea what the hell we were doing.

8 thoughts on “Smells like “pioneer spirit”

  1. Katie says:

    That’s kind of similar to what Lance & I did. We moved here from eastern NC once year. We just sold our house & moved. I didn’t even have a job yet. It definitely made for some adventure! I am grateful we made it work out. We love it here.

    Like

  2. Wendy Marchant says:

    As someone who grew up in a very small, woodsy town in Oregon with the Willamette River in my backyard, I didn’t appreciate what the state had to offer until I moved away. There is something about the relaxed attitudes, alternative clothing styles, comfortable climate, and caring people that I dearly missed. Being able to drive to the beach, the mountains, or the desert within one to two hours is a pleasure. I don’t ever want to leave again. Thank you for your candid thoughts about the state I love and call home.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s