A coworker and I got to talking about Reedsport today, a small town on the mid-coast of Oregon. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived…when the sun was shining. Summer arrived in late July or August, with temps topping out at 65 degrees. Suddenly, neighborhoods buzzed with the drone of lawnmowers. Pale arms and legs, long sheltered by flannel and denim, reached out to the most welcome sun. The town swelled with tourists, keen to ride the 40 miles of sand dunes between Florence and Coos Bay, OR. The Umpqua River’s watery embrace dazzled.
Our last year there, we lived in the house pictured above. I looked it up on a whim. It’s for sale, like it was when we rented it. As I scrolled through the latest photos, I noticed something. Someone removed the oak trees in the back corner of the property. Their leaves used to blow for blocks. I often found them at the police station while out running, four blocks east. Some rooms got remodeled and some didn’t. The outside, badly in need of a paint job when we lived there in the late 90s, remains shabby chic. Let’s hope they got rid of the flying carpenter ants.
I met another coworker who goes down to the dunes every April. They make it a several family event, riding their quads and having fun. I will admit it hasn’t been my thing. Nor fishing. Not ever.
I think what interested me about all this is we never fit in down there. We wouldn’t choose to live there. We proved too urban. It never felt like home, try as we might. We had different life experiences and history. We didn’t hunt, fish or camp. We made some great friends at our foursquare church in Coos Bay, but have only been back once when Zac was still a wee babe. The fact that others choose to spend their precious vacation days there amazes me.
“Well”, one older coworker conceded, “I guess it’s different if you live there.”
“Yes,” I said. Then told him about the 90 inches of rain we received our first year.
After all this time, things have come full circle. The Reedsport connection, all the way up here in Shelton, astonishes me. Our old rental house on Winchester Avenue is up for sale again. I hadn’t thought about the place in a long time. Here we are, hundreds of miles north, in another former logging town. And people whom I know visited Reedsport on purpose. Different strokes for different folks, and that’s a beautiful thing. It truly is a small world after all.