I was here.
I was here yesterday. I am here, in North Bend/Coos Bay, Oregon. My roots, my growing up, my innate sense of place, is here.
And as I walked the trail along the cliffs at Shore Acres State Park again I thought about the connections between the landscape and geography of my home, and the landscape of my spirit.
I grew up in this coastal logging and fishing community in economic decline in the 70s and 80s. I was well loved, by family and church community.
And I mostly didn’t feel like I fit in. Maybe because I was “the smart one.” Maybe because I didn’t yet understand about how drawn I was to women. Or maybe because I’m human, and which one of us always feels like we truly belong, like we’d truly be loved if we were really known?
And I love the trees, spruce and pine, still standing despite the strong winds and eroding cliffs, bending rather than breaking, storm-carved bonsai. They teach me about long, wide roots. Finding sustenance where you can, even when it isn’t obvious. Being willing to take risks, and surviving against the odds.
I woke up this morning having dreamt that a wise woman noted my persistence, that I wouldn’t let “no” stop me. And this morning I’ll run and walk the Prefontaine Memorial 10k, in honor of another runner who was persistent. That I could get to this place of calling myself a runner (yes, slow. yes, occasionally injured. yes, a runner), the girl who came in last in every swim meet and regularly got cut from the JV tennis team. The hills (Oh, the hills…) will remind me of how necessary persistence is in the face of challenge.
I am here.