"We know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand!"
Okay, so that song was actually written about the state of Oklahoma, but to be honest, we probably all feel that way about our home state. I know I certainly feel a deep connection with Oregon; although I was actually born in Pennsylvania, we've lived in the same house in Oregon for about 17 years. I may not technically be from Oregon, but it is all I know.
And what a wonderful place to live! It's been such a blessing to see the variety of God's creation right in my home state: The rugged coast fringed with rainforest, the mountains with an abundance of waterfalls, the verdant valley, and the stark beauty of the high desert.
Oregon's got it all, or so it seems. Good grief, we were even right in the path of last year's eclipse! Sometimes I just can't believe that I got to grow up here.
Plus, living in Salem, I'm in the capital city. It's too easy to forget how neat that actually is. I'm only about a 10-minute drive away from the Capitol and its beautiful grounds. In the spring, I can enjoy being in the Cherry City, as all the cherry trees at the Capitol Mall explode in a mass of pale pink petals.
That reminds me. Being in the capital city means that I'm a little more aware of what's going on in my state politically. It's a mixture of heartbreaking and happy. My parents were able to homeschool me and my siblings, which is great. However—and I'm not going to turn this into a political article—I have to admit that I'm not a fan of a lot that's happened in the past few years to our state.
But then, Oregon is state populated by humans and run by humans. It simply isn't possible for everything to be all right; it's just a consequence of a fallen world. Regardless, that doesn't mean I can't love the land and the people who live in it.
Oregon is my home. I can't imagine living anywhere else, though perhaps that's because I can't remember living anywhere else. The natural beauty of the land is breathtaking. I've put down very deep roots here.
If you were to ask me where I would live, if I could choose anywhere in the world, I would answer: Oregon. Much as I love to visit other places, I only want to live in Oregon for the rest of my life. I don't have grand plans for setting out and starting a new life somewhere else.
Of course, if God would have me be somewhere else to do his work, that's another kettle of fish. The only thing more important to me than staying at home is serving God, should those two go in different directions.
Oregon isn't perfect. A massive earthquake could strike any moment. It's a fear I've struggled with for years. Once I accepted that there is no truly safe place on earth, that made it a little easier to deal with.
Where am I going with this? I don't know, exactly. I just felt like sharing how I feel about my homeland, in all its faulty, awe-inspiring, messy beauty. I won't say "Oregon, no matter what it is"—rather, I say "Oregon, because of what it is." There is so much to admire and so much to improve and so, so much to care for.