Oregon is exactly the kind of place it is in The Goonies: clean and pleasant and charmingly run-down, like a well-lived-in shack or a fraying pillow. I came here to do poetry and ended up falling in love. That 12-year-old adolescent love, just like Goonies, where you'll do anything, just because it's there. I'll tell you all about it.
But first, let's get some mood music. Play this loud:
Ashland is a town of 18,000. It's tiny. Maybe not so small, but I live in New York & can't be trusted.
And it's beautiful. And spooky. Tell me this picture doesn't make you want to dig for hidden treasure & do the Truffle Shuffle:
I landed late Sunday night. It was three hours later for me than anyone else. Rabbi Mark and Claudia picked me up from the airport. Whereupon lots of information was exchanged, but the two most vital things: (a) that Zalman Schachter-Shlomi, the Hasidic rabbi turned Jewish Renewal guru (who's the father of a bunch of my friends and whose books continue to blow me away) was also coming to town tomorrow, and (b) that his wife Catherine was the Log Lady on Twin Peaks. Catherine kindly offered an autographed photo. I never actually said "yes," because no sound would come out of my mouth. I was swooning.
I woke up jetlagged at 4 A.M. By sunrise there were deer on the lawn. Mottel challenged me: "Pic or it didn't happen." Here is the evidence.
Ashland is known as a New Age capital. Here's a Unitarian church (a gay one, I think?) that was having a Purim service.
Wherever in Ashland you are, you're never far from the Rogue Mountains. Here's Claudia and me walking to the corner store.
And here's the corner store's marijuana section. (Pot is legal for medical use in Oregon.)
(I've never smoked, and I still think that pot is dumb, and I realize I'm basically the only one on earth who does, although it is great to have it legalized for medical use. Annyway.)
The room where I stayed was amazing. The whole place was kind of like a shrine.
Next: San Francisco. With special guests Frum Satire and a whole bunch of kids!