Update from the road: Ashland – OR. Day 4.
Already 500 miles into my journey (only 5,000 to go) and I feel I have not even started yet. Bellingham, Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Ashland. I have crisp mental maps for these cities, as though I currently lived full time in each of them. I have favorite coffee shops, yoga studios and libraries along the way and dear friends I can call up for a drink or a walk. I know good stealth level areas to park my truck for the night. I blend in perfectly under the grey Pacific Northwest skies. This is my current territory, and I have covered it well.
I rolled into Ahsland a few hours ago on undulating roads through a perfect shire-like landscape of farms and fields, then treated myself to an organic, locally grown, freshly cooked lunch at the food Co-op. The breaded squash with mushrooms, garlic and bacon was miraculous! I waltzed through carts in the crowded grocery store, noticing handsome men and hippy-chic women with nice wrinkles, the kind you would get after a lifetime of laughter, younger people pierced, tattooed and polite, and free range children with dirt on their faces and grass stains on their knees. These are my peeps. I could so easily park my truck here and call it home. I could forget about driving around the country and forget about New Hampshire and ice climbing. I could fall in love with a farmer, one with green eyes and a nice porch on a quiet piece of land, grow Oregon roots, put one of those OR-love stickers on my truck, and find a new kind of freedom in the release of my self-image as a roaming bobcat, epic adventurer, and whatever else I sometimes immodestly claim to be.
Yes, I could, but, that is likely not my fate. So, I’ll just be here at the library working on my book for a few days and when it is time, I will leave the Shire, as better, braver Hobbits than I’ll ever be have done before me.