Out, brief particle

Oh, hey, so I’m in Oregon at the moment. It’s kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing; my lady has been up here shooting various locations across the state for the past two weeks and makes the long drive back to San Francisco tomorrow, so I thought I’d tag along and accompany her home. She’s being sent off to the Midwest next week, so after Monday I won’t see her again until August. I figured sharing a road trip together was worth the price of a one-way ticket, because there is a secret streak of romanticism in my soul. Shh, don’t tell anyone. If would help maintain your image of me as a soulless mechaniloid, please know I am also using this time away from the office to complete an epic amount of planning and organization for work as well. There is no such thing as “free time” in my universe.

Oregon’s interesting, though. We’d been to Portland and, of course, the Goondocks a few years back, and thus I had a view of the state as a lush, forested, wonderland. Having cut diagonally across Oregon from Portland to its southeast corner yesterday, I see this is not really the case — it’s quite diverse, and for the moment I keep looking out the window and thinking I’m in the foothills of New Mexico. They have summer here, for one thing. Living this coddled existence in San Francisco for so long, I’d forgotten all about your earth “seasons.”

The one moment of the trip that’s most stuck with me happened last night after the sky had fallen dark and we were cruising along a black stretch of forested highway an hour outside of Bend. The stars were clear and bright in the cloudless night above us, and for a brief while all other traffic faded away to let our eyes adjust to the darkness. I looked up into the sky and in that moment a vivid falling star plummeted toward the road in the distance, a brilliant streak of light marking a line perpendicular to the horizon directly ahead. We both saw it, and both gasped in surprise at the same moment, and already it was gone. In an age where everyone carries a camera in their pocket and nothing is too mundane or trivial to be tweeted, it was nice to share this simple yet profound moment — witnessing a piece of space rock that travelled untold millions of miles so that it could burn up in a flash of light too spontaneous and fleeting to be captured except by our wandering eyes. Something about it truly moved me.

Of course, I was doped up on cold medicine at the time, so take that as you will.

17 thoughts on “Out, brief particle

  1. Oregon is my childhood stomping ground, any chance of checking out Crater Lake? :)

  2. Hope Portland treated you guys well while you blew through. Better that you didn’t stick around for very long, as the Voodoo Donuts would’ve busted your diet and Powell’s would’ve busted your wallet.

  3. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired, but I originally read ‘soulless mechaniloid’ as ‘soulless melancholoid’.

  4. You were in Bend and didn’t visit me? I am going to friend you on facebook and then immediately unfriend you.

  5. Portland, man. Did you see the local state park while you were there? One of my favorite places in the world, that.

  6. Oregon is my homeland and is much too clusterphobic for me. I went through the state twice in ’07, and both times I felt suffocated and hemmed in.

  7. Damn, Torgo. Where do you live that Oregon seems suffocating and hemmed in? Alaska? The Moon? Wait, I guess that last one is just suffocating.

  8. Point in fact, I did live in Alaska for eleven years. But no, I can’t explain it really. I’m mainly really thinking of the Portland area. My distaste for population centers combined with the dense forest more or less ensures that it’s Not For Me.

    Eastern Oregon though is just scrubby and not really appealing, and I wouldn’t have believed we were actually in Oregon if there hadn’t been signs telling me so. It was better then the chunk of Idaho I’d just driven out of, at least.

  9. Portland is the perfect city. It’s cheap, relatively clean, it has a perfect transit system, fantastic bars, restaurants, music, and it has a-maz-ing local coffee and beer. And there’s a beautiful forest or ocean or mountain always within an hour’s distance. The only disappointment is the ever-present lack of diversity: mostly white people line the streets.

    I’d recommend living there (or here, rather, since that’s where I live), but of course, there’s work! And we all know there’s plenty to love about San Fransisco, anyway.

  10. Yeah, the fact that you could visit snow-capped mountains, an ocean, vast gorges and a desert within a few hours’ drive really makes Portland feel like a real-word Springfield. Now all we need is a statue of Jebediah downtown…

  11. thanks,parsih! it oes my angelino-based soul alot of good to read a romantic account of the state i grew up in. Ahh… oregon. if only the rest of the country knew to properly pronounce your name…

  12. Re: Mudron

    The real-world Springfield is just a tad farther south – in Springfield, Oregon, where a statue known as “The Pioneer Father” on University of Oregon campus was the basis for Jedediah Springfield. Groening grew up in Springfield/Eugene and his history is pretty well soaked into the local atmosphere and lore.

    Visitors to Oregon should always attempt a stop in Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where you can watch Shakespearean plays in a giant outdoor theatre under stars very similar to the ones Parish described seeing in Bend.

  13. Jeremy, have you ever been to Ground Kontrol in any of your visits to Portland? I recently relistened to the arcade episode of Retronauts and my brain kept yelling “Ground Kontrol!” over and over and over. It’s a really great arcade that serves beer, has bands and also sells classic games (for way too much; 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.)

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