It’s been a fine few days here in the Rogue River Valley – where everyone’s intestinal microflora are fastidiously curated and the man-buns floweth over. As a point of reference: Ashland is the Oregon town right off of the Pacific Crest Trail into which Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) stumbled in 1995 only to discover streets filled with hippies in collective mourning of the recently late Jerry Garcia. I wasn’t there but from what I understand, not much has changed.
When I first rolled into Ashland last August, the Valley was filled with smoke from nearby wildfires. But the wild sweet pea blossoms, blackberry bramble, and local charm seems to have withstood the heat nearly a year later. I was lucky enough to call this place home for the autumn thanks to the firey wild bosslady pictured below. My “Aunt” Lisa is my mom’s best friend of 30 some-odd years – a union first born in the granola hills of Berkeley, CA way back when. Lisa is my Soul Mama, tango dance idol, life guru, and bacon Brussel sprouts red wine empress. That chance brought her to Ashland for work at the same time I was finding internship hours in that area is one of the happiest coincidences of my life. Lis put a roof over my head and we supported each other through the roughest stretches of her new job and my clinical rotation. You’re the bees-knees, Lis.
While here in autumn, I made some of my very favorite friends thus far in my little life. New Hampshire transplants Charlotte and Zac were my gateway and then through a few lucky frisbee games, potlucks, and board games at Oberon’s, I found my tribe. These past few days in town were spent reliving the Dream: copious foosball at O’Ryan’s, train-track trespassing, the best beer and ‘bucha, hiking the hills above town, and just plain relaxing in the park at the end of the day. At the end of the autumn, most of us scattered like shrapnel across the country and have come back now and then. These weirdos all consistently inspire and double-me over with laughter. I can’t wait to see where we all go.
I was also lucky enough to catch up with two of my revered dietitian preceptors while in town. These two women represent everything I love about the dietetics profession. Lindsey and Katie are at once compassionate, professional, and down right hilarious. If I may speak with the authority of a former intern of the now presiding President of Oregon Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, these two are the BOMB. Without Lindsey I surely would never have withstood the pressure-cooker that is the clinical rotation of a dietetic internship. Nor would I have known about @12catslady. Without Katie, I never would have taken the final leap to apply for the Peace Corps. Thank you both for your guidance and reassurance. Oh, and all the snacks and treats. As Katie once taught me, “you can waffle pretty much anything.”
And with that… time to leave again. Hugs have been given, 8-balls have been sunk, and I’m already way behind schedule today. I love you, Ashland, gutterpunks and all. Even with my little tribe constantly on the move and on to incredible new things, I trust that you’ll stay enchanting. And crusty.
It’s time for a very special great uncle to celebrate his 80th birthday. Time to head to Tahoe!