silverton, oregon

October 23, 2007

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It seems strange to be looking around Oregon for a new place to live when our current residence in California may be threatened by no less than three different fires, fanned by Santa Ana winds. Information we’ve been getting from friends and family, the media and the internet, seem to indicate the whole Southern California is going up in flames.

Being hundreds of miles from home and feeling completely helpless, we decided to try to make the best of it. So, joined by our friends Tim and Paul, we headed back to Silverton, the quaint little town we visited yesterday.

We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a dream and this idyllic town really did exist. Tim was at the wheel and we directed him to the neighborhood where the house, that Tom insists he will die in, could be found. It was still there in all it’s glory. So Tom got out and took a few photos, doing it quickly, hoping no one would get creeped out.

We drove by another house that caught our fancy, still trying not to be intrusive. The owner saw us and beckoned us in. He, his wife and daughter were so nice and hospitable, it took us cynical Californians a little by surprise.

Afterwards we headed down to the little downtown village area for some espresso. We were accosted by an old-timer, or “moss back” as he described himself, named Ray. He assaulted us with folksiness of the likes I’ve never experienced in California.

After freeing ourselves from Ray’s über-friendly grip, we ordered our espressos and sat out on the deck overlooking the Silver Creek. It was a sunny warm autumn day. The creek shimmered, the leaves on trees glowed orange and red and the coffee was delicious. It just doesn’t get better than this.

We finally tore ourselves away, and decided to head back home. As we walked away, to the smiles and waves of more Silverton residents we passed, we decided that this place was just too good to be true. Surely the entrance of the Black Lodge could be found somewhere in the forest nearby. This kind of serenity and euphoria couldn’t be real. It could only be masking some insidious evil, the stuff of Lynchian nightmares.

How jaded our we Californians anyway, that we can’t take all of this for face value? Maybe it isn’t just a dream, maybe we actually could find nirvana in the tiny bucolic town of Silverton.

But first, let’s hope our home in California survives this latest firestorm.

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