"Cedar Run" is the summer Oregon residence
of my father, Dick Geib, a retired lawyer and widower. It is 20 miles
east of Eugene, Oregon, and can be reached on Highway 126 which tracks
one of Oregon's most inviting wild rivers, the McKenzie. The river
and the highway are inseparable as they run due east for 60 miles
into the Willamette National Forest and the Cascades. This is unspoiled
countryside, with farms giving way to foothills and forests. The
towns along the highway intrude minimally with a general store, a
filling station, or a tavern: Walterville, Vida, Nimrod, Blue River,
My father's soul hungers for space, silence,
and the seductive charms of nature (among which he includes rain
and rough weather). Cedar Run gives him all these in full measure.
His two-story cedar house sits on a slight rise among 1.5 acres of
first-growth cedars, fruit trees, azaleas, and manicured lawn. The
front rooms of the house open to a splendid view of the river and
the distant hills. The neighbors, the neighbors' pets, and the neighbors'
chain saws, lawn mowers, and other instruments of intrusion are blessedly
distant. Altogether, it is a setting of considerable beauty.
Please do not think that my father is
anti-social. He anticipates frequent visits to Cedar Run from his
family and friends. He envisions grandchildren playing touch football
on the ample front lawn. My father is tired of incivility and metropolitan
noise and gridlock, yearning instead for bucolic splendor and peace.
My father enjoys sittings at the river's
edge, especially at sunset. Here he can appreciate for the first
time the swiftness of the current which makes this particular stretch
of the river a favorite for white-water rafters. He is tempted to
swim in the river before retiring for the night but knows that he
cannot do so safely. Down-stream at the distance of approximately
75 yards, a small wooded island intercepts and divides the main channel;
the two tributaries thus created gather speed as they pass on either
side of the island and dash down over polished river rock. Up-stream,
rainbow trout and steelhead rise provocatively from the river as
if to capture the day's last light. Occasionally a "McKenzie River
driftboat" is carried by the current into this pastoral, the fisherman
casting a favorite lure into the untroubled pools near the shore.
He and my father will wave in greeting or perhaps exchange pleasantries.
Soon afterwards, the line of hills beyond the far shore changes from
blue to black against the horizon. Dusk brings with it a sudden drop
in temperature as a cushion of cool night air rises from the river.
My father stands, folds his lawn chair, and turns back toward the
house with the touch of all outdoors still strong upon him.