Friday, September 21, 2007

To Live and Let Live

I love where I live.

And believe me, that's an accurate statement.

I spent 22 years, two months and two days in the U.S. Air Force, lived or visited throughout the world and nothing, and I do mean nothing, beats central Oregon.

It has everything I enjoy.

The summers days are hot. There are normally numerous days in triple digits...but with the heat comes low humidity. Several years ago, I went out for a bicycle ride. It was 104 degrees that afternoon and I rode for about 12 miles. When I got home, I was tired, but my T-shirt was dry as an old bone. A look at the local humidity told the story...it was at six percent.

The summer nights are cool. Temperature swings from day to night can be more than 60 degrees. Though I love sleeping on cool a night, I also enjoy laying out at night, watching meteor showers. To do that, I need to bundle up somewhat on the nights of my favorite show in mid-August. And the fact that the night skies are still dark enough for me to setup in my backyard to enjoy the spectacle, makes it even better.

Autumns here are nice. The days are warm for the most part and nights cool. Towards the end of the season, the weather appears more like winter than autumn, but even then, it's not all that bad.

Winters can be full of snow and cold, or snowless and warm. Twelve years or so ago, my nephew visited me in January. His birthday is at the end of the month and he made the comment to me on that day, that it was the first birthday he has had which didn't have snow on the ground. We had an El Nino winter that year and the days were 60 degrees or so and the nights 30 or thereabout. A very comfortable winter it was.

The spring time in central Oregon is really where things get fun. We can have snow, sleet, freezing rain, sunshine and 70 degree temps all on the same day. It's fun and very enjoyable. However, we don't have many storms in my area. I sit in a sort of protected spot. It's not that we never get storms, it is simply storms have several tracks they can take in this area which two out of three times takes them away from me...and I love storms.

But there is also a lot more this area offers. To the west of me are national forest areas and mountains. During the summer, these areas are great for those who enjoy the outdoors. To the south of me are the volcanic lands, dominated by Newberry National Volcanic Monument, one of my favorite areas on Earth. There are lava flows throughout the area, small cinder cones, large cinder cones and further south of some of these areas, the northern reaches of the great basin.

To my north are the high plateau lands with carved canyons showing signs of countless volcanic eruptions. There is also irrigated farm lands which go on forever it seems. Eastward are more forests, more volcanic terrains and more of the northern reaches of the high desert and great basin.

And in all these areas are lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, ponds, grasslands, badlands, hills, canyons, gullies and everything else which makes the great outdoors great for everyone.

And there lies the reason I love where I live. I love going out and photographing the natural world I enjoy so much. The photos on my Flickr photostream from Oregon are primarily from the Redmond area where I live. But there are some photos from areas north and south of me. But for the most part, Redmond is where I live and Redmond is what I photograph.

I'd like to expand my area of operations for photography, and someday I might, but for now, I can still get great shots along the Dry Canyon Trail, or Smith Rock area, or the badlands around the airport, or at Fireman's Pond.

However, there are things about this area which aren't all that great. First of all, the infrastructure was never designed to handle a rapidly growing population. It's slowly improving, but no sooner than one fix is finished, the population growth forces another fix. So road work and construction will be a continuously on-going project.

And then there are the wildfires. Every years brings large wildfires nearby, and a large fire means smoke. Smoke in the air makes breathing difficult, makes eyes burn and itch, gives everything a smoky smell and limits visibility. And in areas near the fires, fears of evacuation and loss of everything is constant threat.

Even with all these problems, for me the good things of the area by far makes central Oregon "God's Country."

And that, my friends, is the reason I love where I live.

1 comment:

Lilli & Nevada said...

Well you summed that up quite well Bear.
We just got a letter from ODOT wanting our permission to come on the property whenever they want to do some surveying for a new overpass
Bend has grown too much for us, would love to sell this place and move on.And come back in the summer.
Hey did you know you were getting a Sonics Drive INN. the one next to us is suppose to be done by mid May