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Out in the World Again

It's been so lovely to finally go out into the world again.  My husband and I have stayed pretty much to ourselves on our farm during the pandemic, never getting into Zoom meetups of any sort.  So the outdoor Bonnie Raitt concert in Bend in August was absolutely magical.  It was a gorgeous  evening, perfectly temperate, the skies clear of the wildfire smoke that would blanket the area just a week or two  later.  Eight thousand maskless Babyboomers rocking out, getting drunk and high on busting out after two-and-a-half years of the pandemic.


Last week we finally made it to the Hult Center in Eugene to see the touring production of Hamilton.  As everyone has already figured out, it's a phenomenal show.  Credit to Lin-Manuel Miranda for his WORDS, because that's what the whole thing is based on, this brilliant script. The leads are good, of course, but  I love to watch the various ensemble members in turn as they dance with such incredible energy, and it always amazes me how each individual is doing their own part perfectly, everybody's dedication adding up to one big glorious bang


And then yesterday, a quieter but no less enjoyable outing: We joined a group of other Benton County tree farmers for a tour and picnic at an impressive tree farm out off of Bellfountain Road, about 1500 acres of farm and forest held and worked by the same family  since their ancestor's donation land claim of 1850.  In Oregon, that's as far back as you can go unless you can claim to be the descendant of an indigenous person.  Although the original land claim was filed by a man, the property has been handed down through the maternal line, and the current president, who led the tour, is a fiftyish woman assisted by her mother, the recent president, and her first cousin.


After the tour, my husband remarked what a nice change it was, having the commentary delivered by women,  and I wholeheartedly agreed.  I mean, you have to love tree people in general—everybody standing around debating about how long to let a stand grow before you cut it, trying to make decisions about a forest  for which they are going to be present for such a short time.  And the feminine take seems even more skewed toward the long-term philosophical.  Sarah, the president, pointed out one stand she could date definitively because she helped plant the baby trees when she was pregnant with her son, who is now 24. At another stop at the top of the hill, she halfway apologetically explained that she'd laid out the edge of a small clearcut with a curve, just so it would look better.  "It's a little silly, I guess, " she said and I called out from the back, "I don't think it's silly at all!"  She and her cousin talked of deciding which species of native plants they could interplant to encourage the wildlife.  Wild rose, flowering currant, elderberry? It's a huge job they're trying to do, sustainably managing all these differing age stands of timber for both lumber production and wildlife and to keep happy the visiting East Coast family share holders who come inspect the forest, thinking maybe they have better ideas.


When  a guy was introduced as the neighboring farmer who takes care of the flat grass-seed part of the property, I recognized his name.  I sidled up to him. "Did you happen to be born around August  12, 1979?"  He looked at me in amazement. "Wow, how'd you know that?"  I laughed and explained that his mother and I had been in the same birthing class and had ended up at Good Sam Hospital together. Before I'd been put to bed with high blood pressure and had to stop going to the classes, I'd been impressed with Sharon, who was so calm and down-to-earth and had married into this large, well-known farming family in the south end of the county.  I correctly nailed her boy's birth date because I had my son first and was laid up  after a C-section when she came into deliver. I remember watching with envy as she waltzed down the hall to the nursery, having  delivered with no difficulty.  And now, 43 years later, here was her son and her 14-year-old grandson, learning the ropes and getting ready to take his place in the family business. 


Well, seeing other human beings out in the world again is a very good thing!  We will get our super shots this week and hope we can keep it up!

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