My husband got a great job making Facebook games at Playdom . So we’re leaving the Sage Brush and Juniper of Central Oregon’s High Desert and moving back home to the ultra-fertile Willamette Valley and Eugene, Oregon.
Eugene is home to Nike, thousands of hippies who show up for the Oregon Country Fair, the late, great Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, and giant moss-covered oak trees and ferns.

As a 5th generation Oregonian with roots in the valley, I do feel a certain happiness well up inside me when I smell the rain forest of my youth. It’s a Pavlovian reaction, I think. I can’t help it.

The earthy smell reminds me of camping and fishing along the McKenzie River as a kid, picnics in the woods and searching for fairies at Hendrick’s Park with my kids when they were little, and running on Pre’s Trail, one of the best running trails in the Northwest.We’re looking for a place to live, so I packed the kids up and left Bend on Friday night and drove to the grandparent’s house in the McKenzie Valley, about 30 minutes from home. I got up Saturday morning and took myself out for a run along Deerhorn road.

After months of winter snow on the gray-brown rocks of Bend, my eyes had to adjust to the new emerald green palette of the valley.

It was easy to talk myself into 4.5 miles since I was rewarded with a spectacular tree or two at every bend in the road. The running was easier, too, since I’ve been at a higher altitude for so long. I wasn’t expecting the difference, and my lungs were as surprised as I was.

I wonder how long it will take before these trees and colors become ho-hum again, as part of my every day landscape. Never, I hope.