Monday, August 02, 2010

unpotted roots

When I started thinking about retirement, one of the places high on my list was Powers.  A little place in southern Oregon I have always considered to be my home town.

It is small -- only about 500 residents.  Most of them retirees or Forest service employees.  Almost all of the other industries were linked to logging.  And that died out decades ago in the shadow of the Spotted Owl.

And it is peaceful.  Tucked into the Oregon coast range, it is almost at the end of the road.  With great scenery.  Mountains.  Rivers.  Forests.  Joe Meek and his mountain buddies Wildon have felt at home there.

I eventually struck Powers from the retirement list.  Most of my relatives have moved away or died.  And the town offers very little in services.  No doctor.  No dentist.  No banks.  Limited access to food.

Instead, I decided to head to Mexico where I would have great scenery and a sense of isolation.  The lack of infrastructure in Melaque does not bother me.  Probably, because I expected so little when I thought about moving to Powers.

All of that came back to me on Sunday when I attended a picnic for anyone who has ever lived in Powers.  According to my mother, it was a small gatherings -- about a tenth the usual crowd size.

I had just finished the third grade when we moved away from Powers.  Most of my classmates have found their futures elsewhere.  In fact, I have seen more of them in Salem than I saw at the picnic.

There was the sister of my best friend in the third grade.  A friend of my cousin.  And the older brother of a friend.

That was it.  I had a good time.  But I certainly did not re-live very much of my past.

Some people are people of place.  Their very soul seems to be identified with a patch of ground and its connective community.

I am not one of those people.  I do not feel rooted in any specific place.  I could enjoy myself as much in Greece as I do in being retired in Mexico.  The place does not make a difference.

Well, it does to a degree.  I would not want to live in Sudan or Afghanistan.  That would make me a person on not-some-places, I guess.

But that leaves a big world out there.  If Mexico is not The Place, there are plenty of choices.  Paris.  London.  Los Angeles.

But, for now, it will be Mexico in another three months.


Anonymous said...

This time you will be arriving on the coast at the proper season. Unless you decide to go galavanting all over the high country....I would wait for the summer to do that. It gets chilly at seven thousand ft. plus in winter. Either way enjoy Mexico and all it has to offer.

Tancho said...

You gonna stay there this time?

Leslie Limon said...

I hope you do decide to stay in Mexico. Life here is simple. And wonderful!

I can see why you would choose Powers, that view is spectacular. :)

Anonymous said...

One sentence is not a paragraph; you know that

Mike Nickell and Cynthia Johnson said...

"Some people are people of place. Their very soul seems to be identified with a patch of ground and its connective community."

Dats's me. Don't know exactly why. I tried to leave (a couple of times), but I had to come back.

Seattle is home.

Steve Cotton said...

Francisco -- Winter on the coast is for me. Highlands later.

Tancho -- For the foreseeable future, Yes.

Leslie -- It is Mexico -- for now.

Anonymous -- Oh?

Mike and Cynthia -- I doubt I will ever have a place.

Anonymous said...

You often talk about a "person of place." But what does that really mean? It's more, I think, than a mere affinity for a spatial location.

I would hazard that it is about routines a place forces upon us. Montaigne talked at length about the influence of geography on the development of a government. I think it influences the individual in the same way, imposing upon us the selective pressures we must adjust to in order to survive.

People of place get accustomed to the disciplines of a place, feeling their way from day to day, season to season, by means of them -- performing the summer discipline, the fall discipline, the winter discipline, the spring discipline. Each season with its own set of special demands.

It's a way of counting time, or feeling time, or staying aware of one's being.

Too long away from home, folks of place not only miss their routines, they begin to lose themselves as well.


NWexican said...

Yeah, "Any place I hang my hat" is the way I like to live. Well as long as it is not over the top of a land mine or an AK47.. Mexico, Alaska, St. Louis, (Hmmm, ummm, maybe not St. Louis) I could do desert, mountains, coast, just about anywhere. I even thought about Israel at one time. I love Israel, just cant afford it. If I can just get my better half to break free from her Oregon roots, we are gone.. I really like the Mexican west coast in the winter.

NWexican said...

Other (better) half is scheduling a Spanish class through her work!!!
"One giant leap for mankind"
See you in a few Steve...

Jane said...

Wow, that's really profound, ANM. So, why'd you choose Anonymous?

Steve Cotton said...

ANM -- As always, you have defined the term exactly as I use it. Of course, we have had the conversation several times. I have trouble remembering which of us slapped the label on the concept. Not that it matters at this point.

NWexican -- I just saw the Spanish class notice this morning. I was going to sign up -- but I am heading home before it will get in high gear. And I want to leave room for my colleagues who can use the training in their job.

Jane -- Profound he is.

NWexican said...

My wife will appreciate that you left room for her..

Is that like, "If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood. "

Anonymous said...

Why does it always come across that you are talking yourself into moving to Mexico?

Steve Cotton said...

NWexican -- I get called a lot of things.

Anonymous -- Quite the reverse. I am already in love with Mexico. I just need to get back there after my temporary stay in The States.