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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A sense of place.


You are looking at Cape Blanco Lighthouse, at the tip of Cape Blanco, the westernmost tip of the contiguous states. We are in the Far West, and the myth about the West lives here still.

Around us are ranches, forests, cranberry bogs, pastures, and tiny towns, of which Port Orford and Langlois are the closest. The land is rugged. Only one highway, US 101 parallels the coast and connects California on the south, to Washington,  on the north.

We were the last frontier here in Oregon. The Oregon Trail moved people from the East to the West through many territories. We all have ancestors who came this way and settled here.  My husband's family started out in the Carolinas, and made its way west, landing in Utah first before settling in in Willocreek, Montana, and in Oregon and Washington.

My great Uncle Giuseppe arrived in San Francisco as a youth, to make his fortune in California during the gold rush. He settled in Fresno and Los Angeles, where I landed as a seventeen year old from Italy.
We were all drawn to the open land, the sense of adventure and opportunities that the West promised.

Right here and right now, our young people are moving away from their family ranches to seek their fortunes in big cities, East, North, South, to Europe, Asia. They'll join a fishing expedition in Alaska, go raise cattle in Utah, dig for oil in Louisiana. The West offered much, but it is still a wild place, full of natural beauty, but lacking in jobs and opportunities.

Retirees are moving to these small places. They are enchanted by the wild rivers, the spectacular ocean views, and the thundering sound of crushing waves. They are also amazed at how little this place has changed since it was first occupied as Fort Orford, a military outpost to protect ships and lumber workers as they loaded up and moved lumber down the Pacific to Eureka, and San Francisco.

We are still on the frontier, in a sense. We must be prepared to live without electricity for days after a major storm as the highway may be impassable, and no truck or car full of provisions can make deliveries or bring repairmen.





20 comments:

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

It sounds absolutely wonderful, Rosaria, and so true: we're retiring away from cities to open land and small towns and it's a perfect fit.

Helen said...

I love reading your posts about the part of Oregon you live in ... nice to share Oregon with you!

Brian Miller said...

i really need to visit out that way again soon...enjoyed my time...mostly northern oregon and out through bend...the trends do not surprise me...i think though they will find as i did when i took that journey that it is nice when that road turns back close to home...

Kitty Cat said...

I remember you & Ken took me there when I came up to visit. It was one of the highlights of my visit... besides your cooking! (I still haven't found anyone that can make homemade minestrone like you!)

Sightings said...

Seems a little remote for my taste, far away from friends, family and medical facilities. But then a lot of retirees (like you!) are more adventuresome than I am, and probably the better for it. So enjoy your piece of paradise in 2012!

Eva Gallant said...

I'll bet you have the "larder" well-stocked when you "hunker down" for the winter!

janis said...

Hi Rosaria~
I have been thinking about you a lot, lately. You and your family have been in my prayers through this Christmas and during Thanksgiving. I hope that you are doing well.
Also, through Pinterest I have found some amazing photographs of the beautiful Oregon. Sometimes I am so amazed at the beauty this majesty country has for us. I need to get out there and explore it all before it is too late. I do love when you speak of your lovely home as well as travels.
Thank you for the wonderful Sense of Place♥

yaya said...

It's interesting what draws people to live where they do....whether it's purposeful or fate...do they grow up there and leave or are their roots very deep and they live there forever? You have found a spot that suits your retirement dreams and are willing to sacrifice some comforts and maybe family to be there. I can tell you love it and I hope it continues to make you happy and peaceful. It sure is beautiful!

becky said...

Sounds so much like roughing it...but I know it's not. Not really...

Rubye Jack said...

I love how you understand "a sense of place" Rosaria. Where you live in Oregon is one of the most beautiful places one could ever hope to be.
Like you, we have to stock up for the winter since the nearest town with a decent grocery is one hour away. That is my plan for tomorrow since our blizzards seem to come within the next couple of months. Lots of cans and lots of water, and oh, maybe even an extra can opener and a few more batteries. Others see it as a hardship but I see it as life in a beautiful land.

dianefaith said...

This is at least the third time I've had to google Port Orford after reading your words. Every time, it's fascinating.

Cloudia said...

Seems like rural Hawaii on the neighbor islands. . . .



Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

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#1Nana said...

We're heading to the coast tomorrow for a few days of relaxing in the rain. It's a good way to start the new year...feeling small beside the glory of the ocean. Happy New Year!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. you have great stories to tell .. it would be wonderful to hear more of them .. have you thought about writing your memoirs?

With many thoughts - and a very happy 2012 ahead .. cheers Hilary

the walking man said...

Though I could I won't leave Detroit. This place needs me and them like me still.

You know Rosaria if the 101 is the only road through Fort Orford I must have been there at least for a hot minute because traveled it by foot or thumb from Big Sur all the way to Chilliwak way back when the back and legs were stronger.

oceangirl said...

We are continuously moving and our frontiers shift. My husband was originally from Charlotte, NC. His Dad was borne in Bangor, Maine. His Mom was borne I think in a town in the Charlotte area. She told me the name but I could not remember.

Dawn said...

Sounds a beautiful isolated spot.
You are blessed.

Anonymous said...

The only place we like is where you live in Oregon, we live in Washington and go to tiny places along it's rugges coastline, our only child lived in Whatcom county for school at WWU western washington university, it had a neat vibe, old lumber town, coastal native american fishing etc..Where you live, the sun does shine and the view uncomparable in all we think in Oregon..Praying for you, follow your blog, maybe the sea will help you to heal and feel some relief of your grief, we seem to feel so, pondering moving to a coastal town in washington state or back to a small town in and near denver, I am soon to retire and I would love to see the sun before I leave this terrestrial..Keep calm, sweet thoughsts and peace to you and sending our prayers and love..mjs&es from the tip of washington state...

rosaria said...

You should all know that we moved here from Los Angeles! Yes, it was the natural beauty and a sense of peace that drew us here in the first place. I don't miss anything about big cities.
I don't miss the daily sunshine, either.

I only miss seeing my family.
So, we schedule get-away trips down to L.A. for a couple of weeks in the winter months, to soak up the sun, to catch up with family, and to be reminded of what it was that got us moving.

Happy New Year to all of you.

the walking man said...

And to you dear unseen internet friend!