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Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Our Nature

We native Northwesterners are a hardy lot, no doubt about it. We’re legendary for our indifference to months of steel-wool skies, salmon migrating across flooded highways, epic power outages and garden-crisping droughts, not to mention zombie armies of ravening slugs on a scale exceeding anything envisioned in a Roger Corman movie.

After half (I hope) a lifetime here, I’ve decided to write a little about adventures, misadventures and daily life with nature here in the Great Pacific Northwest. From salmon sandwiches in my grade-school lunchboxes to waking up with tent caterpillars on my pillow during a particularly severe outbreak on the island where my husband and I now live, I’ve come to appreciate this unique place. I’ve been abandoned in the Oregon desert during a college whitewater rafting trip, snuck around the Mount St. Helens Red Zone roadblocks to visit Harry Truman less than a week before the big eruption, and huddled under my office desk while showers of plaster and marble cascaded around me as my old Downtown Seattle building twisted and groaned during the Nisqually Earthquake. But I’ve also camped on a tiny sailboat in a Puget Sound cove where the dome of stars was so perfectly mirrored in the still water that the effect resembled a perfect snow globe. I’ve marveled at the tiny tree frogs in our pond, the chrome-yellow goldfinches in our cedar trees, and the view of the distant Pacific from the tops of the Oregon Dunes. From flickers drilling perfectly circular holes in our siding and pulling out beakfuls of pink insulation, to chipmunks crawling under our cabin door to eat all the nuts out of a tray of cookies, I’ve never tired of life with my fellow Northwesterners of all biological persuasions.
Satellite photos of a firehose of winter rainclouds streaming straight toward us can still give me feelings best described as “mixed.” However, I hope to turn a tiny portion of that rain that falls into reservoirs and spins through turbines to generate the power flowing into my home and through the cord to my laptop into a few words to share about my beloved Northwest.

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