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Nature's Elixir and Fooling Fish
A Good Citizen Realignment in Central Oregon.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
— Albert Einstein
Oregon gets a bad rap because of the Portland area. And Eugene. And a few other cities. It wasn’t always like this.
From the beautiful cascade mountains to the rugged coast in under two hours, Oregon is a natural packed wonder. It was once a low-key secret promised land last century, as it had been since European settlers risked it all to travel the Oregon trail and claim land that was home to native tribes, and legally nobody, in the name of manifest destiny and all those other stories we tell ourselves.
Once a working-class stronghold of sailors, port workers, and lumberjacks, the region succumbed first to mechanized industrialization, then environmental spotted owl fanaticism, then globalization in the 1990s, and then the usual influx of millions of Californians with surplus money from selling their overpriced two-bedroom bungalows for insane prices and bringing with them their terrible driving habits and lack of good sense, which is sometimes curable. Everyone across the west who once lacked good sense was at one point a Californian. The most detested state in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona?
They wouldn't have a reason to leave if Californians had the good sense to look after their own once magnificent paradise. The mass exodus to surrounding states hasn't improved them much, driving up property values, and other unwelcome social metrics. People there sense that California is just not sending their best. If you plan to leave California for any of those mentioned states, at least be smart and change your license plates as quickly as possible. It will help in making new friends.
The city of Portland drowned in weirdos also lacking good sense two decades ago and became a national magnate for the dregs of the nation giving it the reputation it now deserves as a dysfunctional outpost of drug-addicted, naked cyclists and destructive joyless Marxists only happy to shit on house stoops and destroy small businesses in the name of sticking it to the few remaining hard workers who set their alarms in the morning and resolve to do something productive with their lives. These suckers pay all the taxes and accumulate the brunt of blue-state government tyranny.
There are two ways to live in Portland: self-destructive and socially destructive, or to bear the burden of all the government-endorsed destruction.
You can shoot up heroin (now legal) on the streets of Portland, shit on a few stoops when semi-conscious with functional bowels, then smash car windows to steal private property for your next heroin fix and pay absolutely no price for your destructive actions.
You can get up at 5 am to open your store to find a few Antifa gifts that came through your window overnight, get absolutely no help from the city, work hard to clean up the mess, and then return to your car at 10 pm to find the windows smashed, some items stolen, a parking ticket for $180, then to the filling station to find prices crossing six bucks a gallon due to state and local taxes to subsidize free heroin needles, then home to your mailbox to find you didn’t pay enough taxes to the city and your water bill is now $40 more per month because “climate change”.
People are often shocked to learn that Oregon was a solidly Republican state until 1992. The Portland area and Willamette valley are responsible for changing all that. A Professor friend with family ties to the city once cleverly opined that by Y2K Portland became too self-aware. In the years before Money magazine and a few others named it the nation’s “most liveable” city. When the secret gets out it’s time to call the realtor. It’s those kinds of accolades that portend the quick turnings.
Slowly at first and then all at once early this century, the city dissipated. By 2010 Portland had flatlined and officially overdosed on weirdos, druggies, vagrants, bums, losers, commies, criminals, and even great people like Brett Weinstein and Heather Heying who thought it a good idea to move there after their Evergreen reeducation experience but still refuse to admit they were wrong.
There are a lot of good people suffering cognitive dissonance in Portland who still refuse to accept what it has become. It takes some liberals a long time to learn the truth about what has happened to their liberalism. It has been thoroughly hijacked by radicals with a penchant for ugliness and destruction who are useful degenerate brown shirt tools for the regime in power to sow discord and mayhem and be front-line providers of managerial state Anarcho-tyranny in urban areas across the failed republic. Such is the paradox of a liberal’s nature: too much tolerance of the intolerable.
The medical theatre is still everywhere, a comfort blanket for the neurotic urban masses who refuse to see reality and prefer to live in fear because it gives their empty lives meaning.
I took my father to an eye appointment recently at Kaiser Permanente and nowhere in Portland is the plandemic madness still so omnipresent. I hadn’t worn a mask in nine months and didn’t bring one with me so the reception provided one of those Chinese-made paper face diapers with microplastics to be inhaled. I pretended to wear it while going around taking photos of the blue state sadness. The signs and YUK stickers were everywhere.
For your safety.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as so many nations (and states) have returned to normal. I was told in a medical setting that this is to be expected but that’s completely false. These signs are part of a new normal neurotic medical corporate state that seeks to keep people fearful and suspicious by embracing collectivized risk for invisible harm reduction at the expense of personal liberty. Everyone is a potential vector of danger and all risk is to be averted at all costs, and those who do not play along with this mental illness are dangerous.
The further away from Portland one gets, the more sane things appear to be, and as one ventures out into the stunning beauty of Oregon’s natural wonders, all that civilizational destruction and madness quickly fade away into a forgotten bad memory. The medical theatre disappears too. There are fewer masks on faces, no social distancing, or neurotic people around to spoil the mood. Life has, for the most part, returned to normal.
Men argue. Nature acts.
On a trip to Central Oregon last August, I spent a few afternoons revisiting the Metolius river where I learned to fly fish as a boy. It’s one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the nation, meandering nearly thirty miles through the pristine Deschutes National Forest to a lake in the north and eventually the Deschutes river. Its cold stable temperatures and clear waters are the perfect habitat for various species of trout, whitefish, and spawning salmon. Its banks are lined with towering ponderosa pine trees with needled tops that rub together and sing with the lightest gust of wind. The song is most calming and serene the further away one gets from the flowing river’s own beautiful music.
Among fly fishermen, the river is notoriously difficult to fish. One waiter at a restaurant in the charming enclave of Camp Sherman once said that his colleague rose early and went fishing, every morning and caught nothing, for six months. After fifteen years away from fishing, I found that out again last summer as it took five afternoons to get a few bites, and eventually land an average-sized rainbow trout. It was a lot of work and patience to make the rust disappear and see some skills slowly emerge from a long dormancy. But it wasn’t the fishing that caught me. It was the place.
As I released the trout back to his home (it’s all catch and release) clipped the fly, collapsed the fly rod, and stared at the river I was hit with a profound sense that the magic and wonder of the place, the very hole where I caught my first fish long ago, was having a positive effect on my being. So right then and there I endeavored to return again to that magical spot sooner than another fifteen years.
Two weeks ago the promise was kept. I knew I was going back not for the fishing but for the experience of standing in the cool river for hours at a time, alone with only the occasional hiker or fisherman passing by once an hour. I knew the draw was really the smell of pine forest, the rare visitor like a mink or red tail hawk, if quiet enough a doe and her fawns, and the longing that with focus and attention on the art of using a man-made fly to imitate a current hatch of real flies that eventually a native trout would be both hungry and fooled at the same time.
This is the transformative effect of Nature’s Elixer on our soul which has a way of realigning and resetting whatever’s gone off course.
We evolved not in front of screens consuming propaganda, or in cars at traffic lights waiting for some mechanized sensor to determine when we’re free to move again, but to be in and one with our natural surroundings as close and often as possible. Doing so has a way of putting all the madness and gloom of our present civilizational decline in perspective.
It is essential to realize there are things in this world that can never be subject to the whims of odious tyrants masquerading as philanthropists. Nature and her laws don’t obey any white paper agendas of Oligarchs or social engineers or their parasitic foundations. Nature will always be the wisest teacher we have because she is the oldest, and she is untouchable. If we let her wisdom guide us by staying closer to her, we will be well served to negotiate any internal or external turmoil that comes our way.
Much of what I’ve published here the past month was fully conceived and partly written before this much-needed realignment trip. If you sense a different tone in subject or writing or even detect some rays of optimism not common around here lately, and you appreciate it, you have the natural beauty of Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest and the magic and wonder of the Metolius River to thank for it.
I know I do.
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