Jan. 30th, 2017

It was a dark and stormy night in the foothills of the Cascades when I, your hero, was thrust into this world. Well, it was night at least, so it had to be dark. Stormy is up for debate, though February near the mountains there had to have been some little gusts or flurries. So, dark and stormy it is! I was born in the hospital of this small town because the even-smaller town in which my family lived had no birthing facilities. It turns out the even-smaller town didn't have much else to recommend it, besides being situated in a truly beautiful location. Sadly, this location is inside Cascadia, and not the state of Jefferson which has always been the home of my heart.

My father, when asked, claimed that we lived in the above small town for one reason and one reason only - he was forced to move there. Somewhat forced. There was another town he could have gone to which apparently was even worse. The force came in the form of his boss, who discovered that my father had been embezzling money and told him to get out of Jefferson or get beaten, and dad chose to get out. Take this story with a grain of salt; I always have. Dad fancies himself a criminal mastermind of sorts, when really he's just a drug addict who's not very good at not getting caught. He is, however, weirdly good at weaseling out of the consequences of his actions, but that's another story entirely.

I spent my childhood going back and forth between the northern towns and the southern valley which I love, the home of my heart. At one point we moved from the very-small town up north in with my paternal grandparents in the southern valley. Three blissful months in the sun, the heat, the orchards, and the barn, until dad packed us back up and we went even north, further away. Though, granted, this may not have been the worst choice, as once you've spent 3 days with his parents, let alone 3 months, you may understand why he was a drug addict.

Cue another round of back and forth, back and forth, north to south, south to north. Your hero here and her older brother spent vacations running up the Table Rocks, where the world began, rafting down the rivers of life, gorging on the succulent fruits of this land of milk and honey. Then we trudged back up north to the gray and the grind. One time, around the age of 9, your hero broke her strong facade and sobbed, "I want to go home," as she was packed into the car and driven north past the shadow of the Table Rocks. "We ARE going home," your hero's parents exclaimed, "We'll be there in 4 hours." Your hero tried to explain that in fact we were leaving her home, the land of milk and honey to the south, to the bewilderment of her family, who did not understand how one could have a home of the heart separate from the roof over one's head.

It was some years later that I, your hero, was able to make her way back home in the presence of her family at the age of 16. But that is also the age when one is going to leave the nest, make the way into the world, and your hero sadly had to leave many times before coming back, possibly for good, possibly not, but at least for now in the home of her heart.

Pictures under the cut, because pictures take up a lot of room )

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