Can't See the Forest for the Houses


It pisses me off how many people have been moving to Corvallis. It pisses me off that the housing development that I have been watching go up the past few years is selling houses far faster than I had dreamed. I watched the bulldozers come through and reshape the land, killing or chasing away all of the animals that lived there. I watch now as the houses go up. The entire crew is Mexican. They work through the horrid heat building these crappy houses that are selling for more than I could afford.


“Hi, I’m Miguel.” I can imagine the workers saying. “I put up the left sides of the house.” Like each worker has that specific of a job because it’s basically a production line. And the houses are so close together I can imagine if you are on the toilet and realize you don’t have any toilet paper, you could ask your neighbor to hand some over like you might in a public restroom. I mentioned this to one of the foremen and he said maybe they should put in a little sliding door to do just that. When I ask him if he’d want to live in one of them he said “No, way. I like a little elbow room. I don’t even live in town. I live out in the country!”


I think about the poor slobs that bought these houses. Some slick salesperson brings the prospective client to the site. The site is bare. The salesperson points to the wonderful view from the top of that little ridge they are now building on. “The view is terrific! There are mountains everywhere! And look, it’s right by a really nice little park.” The prospective client looks around. The ones with little imagination buy into it because they can’t visualize what it is really going to look like: a forest of houses. The only real view will be into your neighbor’s kitchen.


It really bothers me how crowded it will be. I know it’s inevitable and climate change is bringing people here in droves as their houses are eaten by wildfires in California. Some just come because it’s one of those ‘good places to raise yer kids up.’ I know it’s all inevitable and I will just have to accept it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.


So when I drove out to MacDonald Forest to get away from all of that, I was really pissed off that there was apparently a hiking group that met at the parking lot. The parking lot was completely full! It was obvious that there had been no carpooling and that pissed me off even more. I was part way down the road when I had a thought that pissed me off even more: they were probably all Californians!


So I turned around and went back through the parking lot, only to be disappointed that there wasn’t a single California license plate in the whole bunch. They were all Oregon.


Of course, they had probably JUST gotten their new plates….


Anyway, I scrapped the whole idea and went back to the usual park.


But I went back to MacDonald Forest today and it was nearly deserted! Just the way I like it. Izzy and I went off to where I was sure there would continue to be no one.


It was a beautiful day at the time. I knew that it was going to get really hot, but right then it was nice. I had a route planned but took a different road in the end. It turned out to be quite a climb. I thought I knew where we were going and the trail it would eventually take us to, but it didn’t. It just came to a dead end on a clear cut. So, we had to go all the way back down the same way that we came. Ah well, it always looks different going back, right?



At some point, Izzy laid down because she was getting hot. I like having a dog who knows her limits. It was a nice shady place on the road so I sat down next to her. We sat there for 15 minutes. It was great. Just a girl and her dog with no one to bother them. Other than Izzy’s heavy breathing and the constant buzzing in my ears (tinnitus), there was no sound. Then a breeze would rustle the leaves or a bird would chirp in the trees. It was wonderful. I didn’t want to ever go back. I could just stay there forever.


Yeah, right. Of course, I knew that wasn’t possible but it is nice to know that there is still a place to get away from everyone. For now.


I sure hope that doesn’t disappear to groups of people, too.

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