When Catrina invited Laura and me to carry forth the BGTB torch, via The Poet, we were stunned by her generosity. Disoriented, even.
And our shock was a bit shocking. Not because the fine residents of Bend are ungenerous, as a rule, or unfriendly, but because we may have become a bit too accustomed to the inherent agenda that seems to be at the core of so many conversations in Bend, poster town for the modern Entrepreneurial Economy.
So, while Laura and I are indeed Bend entrepreneurs, and I harbor many an agenda, I want to say this blog is an exercise in generosity, in sharing the real experience of life in Bend, Oregon, with whomever is interested.
We made our move to Bend 20 years ago, come April. Our first Saturday in our Westside rental, I watched the snow fall, wondered what cultish Scandinavians could invent a Pole Peddle Paddle, what sort of human was taking shape in my 5- month pregnant belly, and what the hell my husband and I were going to do for money.
From where I stand today, I can see that I spent a lot of time early on banging on doors I did not necessarily want to pass through. I smiled doggedly at groups of mothers at story time who persisted in greeting me like a stranger every time we met. I attended all the fairs, parades, and kid-friendly events like religion. I figured my people would reveal themselves there. Once, at a release party for a children’s CD, when I commented out loud that my free-styling toddler was a piece of work, a younger, more self-assured mother in better active wear corrected me, “She’s a piece in work.” It was a busy, lonely, stretch.
Still, it was a few years in before I identified what I felt as joy, upon stepping out of Roberts Air Field after a slog to Arizona or Nebraska, to an unimpeded view of snow capped mountains, and a snootful of clean, clean air. Welcome home, indeed.
I don’t ski worth a damn, can’t run for my life, and hold zero ambition to enact down dog on a paddleboard. I could walk for days, however, and often credit the River Trail for what sanity I enjoy.
Where Bend is concerned, as in many other areas, I am an Eternal Beginner. Our Editor-at-Large has reminded me that in 20 years, I have yet to see the inside of the Sons of Norway Lodge, though I know it’s the place to learn the best Norwegian drinking songs.
Sure, we all gotta make a living. And this ski town/river town/tourist town/beer nirvana east, the perceived Bend lifestyle, can be, and is being, commoditized. One cannot live in a commercial, however, and we are more than our marketing. This is the place to share the big picture, the small moments, the real deal that is Bend. I am happy and grateful to be here.
***Moving to Bend? Check out the OG Catrina Gregory’s post about moving to Bend and see if, based on her personal filter, this place might be up your alley or your creek.