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Am I a rural urbanite, or an urban ruralite?

  • I moved from the small city of Portland Oregon to Coos Bay, on the Southern Oregon Coast. “Why’d you move here”, I’ve often been asked. My answer is always, “We were tricked.” I met the Coyote shortly after I met my guy. We’ve been together,  John and I, 19 years as of April 2013. The Coyote made his appearance a short while later. Well, let’s just say I finally came to know the Coyote, the trickster spirit, as I understand it.
  • I’m not Native, nor even well schooled in Native lore, so don’t expect my reasoning to be very reasonable. I just noticed when things weren’t going right for me, it was usually because I was trying to do something exactly backward from the way the thing should be done. Tricky, right? So, in 2007 I made a sweet profit on my PDX home, just as the market began to tank. I sunk all of that profit on 5 and a half acres of swampy hillside 10 miles out of the not so thriving coastal town of Coos Bay.
  • My parents retired in 1995 to a town 50 miles south of here, in Port Orford Oregon. They were advancing in years, and I had a vague notion of moving closer, to be able to help them out easier. My friend and co-worker was about to leave on her lifetime adventure in the Navy, and she encouraged me to change my life along with her. Yes, she suggested the Navy, if only I wasn’t so old.
  • In the meantime, I tossed the idea around with  John, who is always very indulgent toward me. Soon, I was cruising reality websites, and found a number of properties to look at near Port Orford. I decided Coos Bay would be the best place to look, because jobs would be easier to find. My guy has his own internet business and could establish anywhere, so I assumed. And I thought if worse came to worse, I could begin styling hair, a career I left back in ’99.
  • When we came to look at our future home, almost bare land with the exception of well and septic, we drove for miles and miles up the Coos River. I remember thinking, There’s no way we could ever live this far out. The road was washed out to one lane in three different places. The home site was an overgrown swamp. The land had a county road running through it and was mostly steep, tree covered slopes.
  • The Realtor never showed us the property, gave us the most minimal of directions to find it, but she had mentioned halfheartedly the previous owners had thought of building at the top of the hill. I knew we would never take this blackberry infested swampy hillside, but I am always up for a hike, so we got out and climbed to the top.
  • We could tell there would be a nice view, if not for the many alders in the way. John  found an old logging road leading away from our start point, but insisted it would be a better way down than the falling down road we took up. Low and behold, it switched back and, with much tip toeing through the stickers we made it back to the car and drove off to look at other properties in our price range.
  • But it was the swampy hillside that had captured our imagination. We came back to it, enjoying the peace and tranquility. Just as John asked me to notice the quiet, a cow bellowed from the pasture below. We carefully hid our path through the brush. We didn’t want anyone to buy the place out from under us. We were hooked.
  • But I said I was tricked didn’t I? I sure was, and continue to be. My parents, the reason for the move, decided to move to Eugene just as we began negotiations for the swampy hillside. That would put them the same distance from us as if we just stayed in our sweet little Portland spot. It was sweet, too. We were close to the 205 and the airport. I could drive out to the Columbia Gorge for a hike after work in the summer. It was an equal distance to the beach as to Mt. Hood where we enjoyed snow skiing in the winter. Sigh.
  • However, our neighbor across the street took an unreasoning hatred toward John, and began to launch a campaign against us. Even though we could have pulled out of buying this land after my parents moved, he was a big reason we moved forward.
  • The Liar was the other reason. We had no way of knowing he was a pathological liar as he spun figures around about how he could develop the land for us. They were nice figures. We had no idea that they were too nice of figures. I’m not a complete idiot, but I do have my moments.
  • After we bought the land and went about the business of putting a home on it, we learned what a realistic figure was. Let’s just say, I grossly miscalculated, thinking I could get financially ahead with this move. In fact, I am still, six years later, trying to get down to the debt I had in Portland.
  • There are lots of other ways I have been tricked, but I’ve learned to honor my idea of the coyote spirit by taking a second look, checking myself, making sure all the pieces are working, and spinning together in the right direction. As I begin my new business, I think this is a good thing to keep in mind.
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