As we drive through the pine forests of Central Oregon, sequestered in our air-conditioned car, I reflect on all the dear people we know, the open-armed hospitality we have been bestowed with, and the wonderful memories we are creating, layered upon the eight years of memories beneath.
Our last week in Portland was not all packing and scrubbing. We took breaks to dine alfresco in baked & parched backyards with friends, visit the sparkling lakes and powder-white dunes of the coast, outside of Florence, and connect to our bodies and minds with a final, centering yoga class.
The rushed goodbyes on Spokane St. made my heart beat a little too fast. We drove away somewhat stunned and flustered. Did we forget anything? What exactly were we doing? How would the road unroll before us?…
So far, we have been floating along on a magical carpet ride. Our journey began with a pitstop in Corvallis, with Dan’s cousin Katie and her husband, Hoover. Then traveling into the ponderosa pine forests of Sisters, where we were spoiled with amazing dinners of paella, coconut-lime fish tacos, and home-brewed beer in the home of the Storton’s. We spent a day at Suttle Lake amongst extended family and friends, paddle-boarding and swimming. On our way to Ashland, we made quick stops to connect with friends (Emily, Val & Jack), and found ourselves on a smoky, but beautiful road, the first sign of the forest fires that are raging in Northern California. In Ashland, we saw John & Luisa (our soon-to-be travel partners in Greece), and met our gracious hosts, Margaret, Mark and children who offered us their lovely cottage and a home-cooked meal in exchange for discussion about how-to-plan an around-the-world trip. Our children instantly bonded with pool games and silk acrobatics, and we felt a kindred connection of spirit. By day five, we entered California with recollections of Oregon gently pushing and carrying us forward.
What gratitude I feel for our friends. They remind me of the good and kindness in humanity. By digging deeper to get to know these people in our lives, building histories, sharing in celebrations, my hands and heart feel full, ever grateful and rich. We move ahead, forging through time and space, hopeful to make new and meaningful friendships, but never forgetting Oregon, and the wonderful people of our heart here.
Thank you to all the generous hosts on our journey, who have welcomed us into their homes, shared delicious meals and precious time in our company. Thank you to those who have joined us for fun on the lake or around a table. Your goodwill and support as we venture off into our wide world, mean everything to us.