Our visit to Oregon or “The Ocean’s in Sight!”

Elena Tucker
6 min readSep 27, 2023
A photo of an actual sticker of an outline of a state of Oregon

The light is different in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

This may seem like a self-evident statement. The light is different no matter where you are. The light differs in California from New York state, and it’s different in France than it is in Cuba. That’s why French croissants are so much better there than anywhere else (along with that sunlight, the quality of soil and water should also be noted). Perhaps I should be more specific. And also, less enigmatic.

My husband, Jeff, and I just returned from a trip to Oregon. We went there for a two-fold reason. First, we both needed a vacation and wanted to visit with family, and B) we needed to fulfill the last of my deceased brother-in-law, Glenn’s, wishes and spread the last of his cremains in some beautiful place that he also loved. Jeff’s sister, Amy, had lived in Oregon for the past 20 years, and Glenn had visited her there — he was even thinking of moving there, until he got too sick.

Oregon is beautiful. Well, western Oregon. Eastern Oregon is high desert, all scrub bushes, sand and rocks, a lot like eastern Colorado. But the western part of both of these states … wow.

Even flying over, I saw mountains with lakes nestled in the grooves of their peaks, reminders of their volcanic origins. These aren’t the Rockies I know, I thought, these mountains are not as craggy, somehow gentler — save for the big, cone-like volcanic peaks.

First, we flew into Portland, and as it’s known as the City of Roses, we went into their famed Rose Garden. My nose barely works, but even I could smell the air redolent with a heady rose scent. From there, you can also see the downtown and, on a clear day as the Rose Garden sits atop a hill, you can also see Mount Hood in the distance.

Some of the roses in the Rose Garden. I have done no editing of colors.

And then there’s Salem, Oregon, where Amy lives. Even though it is the capital of Oregon, it still remains a fairly small town. It felt, no matter where you were, by the capitol building or on a residential street, you were never far from nature. Greenery overflowed fences like emerald waterfalls, and the greens were all different…

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Elena Tucker

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.