Saturday, August 18, 2007

On Oregon.

I did go to Oregon and it was magical. Many, but not all of the things that I wished to happen happened. I went to Portland first and saw the people I loved and missed there. The wedding was beautiful. This was not surprising. I suppose they always are in that holy place, something to do with promises and purity and eternity. Amber looked like a queen. This too was unsurprising.

To be honest, the grass was not as green as I remembered. I mean, in some places it was, but not over all. I think it must just be this time of year, for the grass there is typically very green. The trees, on the other hand, did not fail me. Their abundance and beauty fulfilled/exceeded my expectations. I have always been fond of the way the trees look in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon (especially when driving from Eugene to Florence), because of the light, the way it attaches to the leaves, illuminating some while others remain shadowed. The vibrancy at those moments cannot be duly described, or at least not by my fallible and imperfect language. During this trip I learned that I also love the trees at night time, when the light begins to fade, darkening everything until one sees only the outlines of the trees, their silhouettes against the sky. Those moments are also beautiful, when the moon and stars alone shed light.

Part of the time I was there I stayed at my sister Charity's. I got lost getting there, which was nothing new. Of course it had to be from the reception at the River Road chapel, from which location I got lost in high school at the end of every church dance. We played scrabble. I won all but one of the games. While there we read aloud, The Five People You'll Meet in Heaven, Pablo Neruda, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and I read quietly to myself Ender's Game. It had been so long, and it was there, just waiting for me on her bookcase. I loved reading the familiar words and turning the familiar pages. I loved waking up slowly, not to sound, but the gentle light streaming in through her window.

My second night in Eugene I had a very happy reunion with my friend John characterized by missions and stars and merry-go-rounds. It had been nearly four years. It was lovely to be at that park, lovely to see the sky lit up with stars and to watch the meteor showers, and lovely to talk about the things we talked about, to remember my own mission and to learn more about his. His first mission president was very similar to mine. They were both giants at knowing the doctrine and could unfold the mysteries of the kingdom. His mission president would tell him that he was the one who had to decide. He was the one who received revelation for his area. He was given a mind. He had been given a heart. Resultantly, he was expected to use them. It is so true, and sometimes I am so afraid that its true. It's easier if someone else is responsible. It's easier if we don't have to choose. We might mistakes. That is part of it, the learning and growth that comes from it, in how we handle the mistakes. I believe that doctrine that we are the ones who have to choose and the ones who receive revelation for our lives.

After some time passed I found that I was shivering, not because it was particularly cold, it simply wasn't particularly hot. We found refuge in a place protected from the night air where we could still see the meteors falling from the sky. The conversation that followed would be worthy of Nate's Broken Hearts Club. We spoke of the past year and past relationships and past events. Regardless of the sorrow that such brokenness brings I still believe that things work out in the end, that love really is real and worth hoping for and fighting for.

We used to talk about running and track. He still runs. He still can talk about it. Now I listen, happy that he is living his dream, happy that he is still doing the thing he cares about.

The next morning we drove to Florence.

I found myself trying very hard to keep my eyes open wide. I wanted to take everything in, to notice everything, to remember everything. This is home to me. Those trees and that ocean, as well as the feeling produced in me by their beauty and peace.

So many more simple and beautiful things took place that week. I am grateful for the things I saw and felt and experienced.

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