By some great fate, I am an Oregonian. I grew up with Pacific Northwest air in my lungs, Oregon dirt between my toes and under my fingernails, and a vantage point to watch the world start new each day with the sun rising over the Cascade Mountains.
The place is in my blood. While living adventures on pinpoints of foreign maps, Oregon hovers behind my shoulder or calls from the far horizon, an instinctive true north on my internal compass.
Three Sisters Wilderness Area: 1999 (Yep, that’s a pre-Instagram, scanned film photo, people.)
I grew my appreciation of the world’s beauty right here in my native patch of earth: triumphantly summitting Oregon mountains, learning to fish in Oregon lakes, hiking caverns behind Oregon waterfalls, poking my finger into ice green anemones of Oregon coast tidepools, following wagon trail wheel ruts carved in Oregon stone, and learning my identity in the web of Oregon ancestry in the midst of deeply nurturing friends and family.
And now, six(ish) continents later, as I shared in a recent comment to a reader, I’ve come home and fallen even more in love with this place; I know without doubt how special of a spot Oregon actually is. Like anywhere, it has its faults and blemishes, but for locals and visitors with a curious heart and an appetite for nature’s beauty, delicious foods, and friendships with genuine people, this land is absolutely rife with riches to be discovered and treasured.
For all these reasons and more, I’m in this midst of a mad, mad crush on our state Tourism Board’s current campaign: The Seven Wonders of Oregon.
This place on the planet stamped its mark on me from the very beginning, and I’m more proud than ever to see Oregon showcased with such class and style.