Well, went to Oregon for Thanksgiving and visited with my old roommate and his family. It was a friend of mine and I driving up there from So Cal. (So Cal sounds so commercial, like one of those generic supermarket brands. Ick)
Oregon is a different place. In Oregon the fog hangs onto the trees like spiderwebs over a dark corner in a house, or an old man's wispy beard, unperturbed by sunshine or wind. The road out of northern California twisted up and down, past the far off and mysterious Mt Shasta. We were driving through that area going up at about 5:30 AM, so the mountain's shadow appeared to us like a phantom. In fact, at first I thought I was hallucinating. Finally, as we drew closer, its snowcapped peak loomed on the horizon, like the pillar of God's presence over the sleeping landscape.
Further into Oregon, the sunrise refused to come. Six o'clock, six fifteen. Jeff said, "We're pilgrims in an unholy land."
In Oregon I think my beard grew faster. Perhaps it was the wind, or that mountain man feeling when you can walk on occasion through trees and grass that aren't plotted by the city council. All I wanted to do was trounce around in hiking boots or sit in a park and read. TV sounded boring. I liked that.
While I was up there I read Melville's Bartleby. It's somewhat a disgruntling tale to me. That character standing there like some stubborn ghost, refusing to leave, refusing to work, refusing to do anything, even move or take money, simply on the basis of preference. Yet annoying as he seemed, I could not help but gawk at his bravery in jealousy. There are times that I long to do the same. I think that's the biggest draw of the story. Green eyed laziness.
I wanted to ride a horse up while I was up there. Funny thing is, we really didn't spend all that much time in the country side. It was just the knowledge of that presence; the river flowing through Portland under the bridges as if the very city was built from the bones and blood of a sleeping giant. We visited my old roommate's cousin's house and they had quite a few horses. The cousin simply refused to believe that I really wanted to ride a horse. Said it was the romance of the idea. "Everyone says they want to ride a horse, but no one really knows what they're in for. No one really knows..."
I've wanted to ride a horse since I was a young boy, but the smirk on horse cousin's face repelled me from the idea of riding one of their horses, even when the offer was placed before me willingly. Maybe next time. I'd rather not have an experience tainted by the rusty cynicism of superiority. Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh.