Happy Birthday, Oregon: A Valentine’s Love Letter to The Most Beautiful State

Image by James Parsons / Extreme Oregon

Dear Oregon,

On this day of love and celebration, as the world shares tokens of affection, my thoughts turn to you, the jewel of the Pacific Northwest, whose birthday intertwines with the universal day of love, Valentine's Day. It is a fitting coincidence, for what is love if not a deep, enduring connection to the beauty, the spirit, and the essence of the beloved? And you, Oregon, with your majestic landscapes, your vibrant communities, and your undeniably unique spirit, have captured the hearts of many, including mine.

Your beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder but in the soul of anyone who has had the privilege to roam your vast, diverse terrains. From the rugged cliffs of the Pacific coastline where the ocean kisses the land with waves of frothy lace, to the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades, standing as silent, stalwart guardians over the land, your natural grandeur is unparalleled. The way the sun sets over coastal towns, painting the sky in hues of orange, pink, and purple, as the charm of historic older towns emerges, is a testament to the divine artistry that sculpted your shores.

But your beauty extends beyond the coastal paradises, into the lush, verdant valleys of the Willamette, where vineyards stretch across rolling hills, basking in the sun's embrace. Here, the fruits of the earth are tenderly nurtured, giving rise to some of the finest wines

in the world, a tribute to the bounty and richness of your soil. The aroma of ripening grapes, mingling with the fresh, clean air, is a symphony of scents that celebrates the life that flourishes under your watch.

Further east, the landscape transforms yet again, into the high desert of Central Oregon, where the Painted Hills unfold like a canvas of nature's own making. The stratified colors tell a story millions of years in the making, a story of time, transformation, and the enduring beauty of the natural world. And amidst this rugged beauty lies the serene, sapphire expanse of Crater Lake, a gem set into the earth, its waters mirroring the azure sky above, a place of quiet reflection and profound wonder.

Yet, your beauty is not solely defined by your landscapes but also by the vibrant tapestry of life they support. From the majestic Roosevelt elk roaming the forests, to the delicate trilliums blooming in the underbrush, each creature, each plant, is a thread in the intricate web of life that you sustain. Your forests, ancient and wise, stand as a testament to the resilience and majesty of nature, with trees that reach towards the heavens, their canopies a sanctuary for the soul.

Oregon, your uniqueness lies not only in your natural wonders but in your spirit, a spirit of innovation, of community, and of a deep, abiding respect for the environment. It is a spirit that is reflected in the bustling markets of your towns, where the ethos of "local, sustainable, and organic" is not just a trend but a way of life. It is a spirit that is echoed in the quiet strength of small towns, where neighbors come together to support one another, celebrating the joys and weathering the storms of life as one.

Your cities and towns, each with their own character and charm, are microcosms of your diversity. From the historic older towns with their quaint streets and timeless architecture, to the vibrant communities nestled amidst your natural wonders, each offers a unique glimpse into the heart and soul of Oregon.

Oregon, your history is as rich and varied as your landscape. From the Native American tribes who first called this land home, to the pioneers who traversed the Oregon Trail in search of a new beginning, each chapter of your story adds depth and dimension to your identity. Your past is a mosaic of courage, resilience, and a pioneering spirit that continues to define you.

As we celebrate your birthday, it is not just the beauty of your landscapes that we honor, but the beauty of your spirit, the warmth of your communities, and the richness of your culture. It is a celebration of everything that makes you, Oregon, a wonderful place to live, to explore, and to love.

On this Valentine's Day, my heart is full of gratitude for the privilege of calling you home. For the endless adventures you offer, for the tranquility and inspiration that are found in your natural havens, and for the sense of belonging that comes from being part of your community. Oregon, you are a treasure, a haven, and a source of endless wonder.

Happy Birthday, Oregon. May your skies remain wide and your forests deep, may your rivers run clear and your mountains stand tall. Here's to many more years of beauty, growth, and the unwavering spirit that makes you uniquely you.

With all my love,

Tyler at That Oregon Life