I titled my little blog "Out in the Sticks" because (a) I couldn't think of another title that struck the right tone for me without sounding semi-blasphemous and (b) most of my colleagues think of me as living in the remote outskirts of civilized society.
My friends from Texas have a hard time imagining someone living in Oregon - it's practically Canada to some of them. My Oregon-Idaho colleagues think NE Oregon is horribly uncivilized compared to the Willamette Valley.* (I mean, we only have 2 Starbucks, 1 Dutch Brothers and, like, 4 local coffee joints. Our coffee store per capita is way too low...)
But I like living Out in the Sticks.
So here, on a snowy Monday morning, are reasons to love the Sticks. (Or at least La Grande, which is a particularly nice part of the Sticks, if I do say so myself.)
A snow storm is not the end of the world. Portland has shut down today because they got a couple of inches of snow. Schools have closed only once since I've been here, and that was because it was snowy and blowing so hard that the school buses were being blown off the road. (If I were still a student, this might be a reason I hated living in the Sticks.)
A block and a half from my house, our road heads up a steep hill. When it snows, the city closes the road so folks can go sledding. There are several places in town where this happens.
There are folks whose family has been farming for generations on the same farm.
With the local university and its very impressive music program, we have very gifted folks in town. Yesterday, at a concert, I heard two extraordinarily talented students sing a piece from a Puccini opera. If you haven't been to a concert with third- and fourth-generation farmers listening appreciatively to Puccini, then you just haven't lived.
I can look out the windows of my house and see mountains. And the largest wilderness area in Oregon is 15 miles away, offering 565 square miles of land left just as God intended.
Jen and I can walk to work, to restaurants and the movies and to (some of) our friends' homes.
Speaking of movies: We have a downtown, 3-screen theater and a drive-in that's open every summer which shows a double feature every weekend. I'll take that over 30 screen monsterplexes most any day.
With only a little work, we could source most of our meat (and a lot of our fruits and veggies) locally. We regularly have conversations with people about buying half a cow/sheep/pig etc., and which local ranchers are the best. I never had a conversation like this where I grew up.
So, that's part of it. But, it's time to get ready to head out into the 8 inches of snow to go to work. And then I can come home and go sledding for an hour or so.
much peace, much love, etc.
*For non-Oregonians, "Willamette" rhymes with "dammit."
5 months ago