I did a lot of traveling in my thirties, when I was making good money and had good cat sitters. And I discovered an interesting thing: I loved pretty much every place I visited. I could see myself living almost anywhere—southern Indiana, the Ozarks, Berlin, Christchurch, Nairobi, Austin.
So I guess it’s no surprise that I love the Northwest, my home for the past ten years. I am gaga over the San Juan Islands, McKenzie Pass feels like my own personal lava bed, and I dream about Warm Springs’ strange rockpile fenceposts and the frogs singing in La Conner. I am from a family of transplants, itinerate ranch hands and train conductors and builders whose only constant was constant moving. Having grown up on two coasts and the Rockies, I always struggle with the concept of “home.” But I know what it is to love a place.
This time of year, Ashland, Oregon, makes its quick-change from summer to winter, the dry Cascade foothills to the north readying for snow and the steep, green Siskiyous to the south pulling what rain they can get into their deep carpet. And Ashland always in between, sun-snow-sun-snow-sun.