Life is easy here in Bend, and I am enjoying the relaxed and friendly lifestyle in this small remote city, perched on the Deschutes River between fifty miles of high mountains to the west and a hundred miles of high desert to the east. There is a little ribbon of humanity sprinkled along the mountains north and south, but we are isolated from the seven billion people swarming the rest of planet Earth.
This city has prepared itself for the rush of retiring Boomers by making everything as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The old downtown has been thoroughly upgraded and the river park is a beautiful venue for the frequent public gatherings. The newer parts of town were built over the last fifty years, up until the housing crash of 2007, but everything is still new enough to be clean and modern. Because of the availability of space to build, the city has an abundance of open areas and developed parks, and even some operating farms within the city limits. We have fifteen sheep grazing across the street in a large field, and on our walks we discovered a large field with five head of cattle living only five blocks away, and when I get up early enough I hear roosters crowing. Almost everyone has a unique understanding of what to do with their front yard, but they must create their homestead with freeze tolerant species. That is very limiting compared the my old digs in Berkeley, which has an extremely mild climate, but within those temperature created limitations there is enormous opportunity for creativity.
After a short morning walk and breakfast, I fiddled with trying to learn some CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), staying current with my email, checking the news, and rereading some of the classic book, Swindling and Selling by Arthur Leff, a professor of law and ethics at Yale University. Even with the turn-off title, it is a great book because it emphasizes the necessity in human interactions for all individuals to benefit from their ongoing transactions. The idea is for each individual in the transaction to benefit and for humanity and its total supply of value to increase. This is a rare book, and I got this copy from Oregon State University, Corvallis via inter-library loan and discovered from the call card that it was only checked out five times from 1977 to 1995. That’s a pity because it is a very helpful book for understanding humans and morality.
We had lunch in our back yard patio, mostly delicious leftovers from last night’s party, and a baked corn-on-the-cob. Then Debbie read aloud for half an hour from Microstyle, by Christopher Johnson. After lunch we went to the ReCycle center and picked up some scrap lumber for mounting a pair of elbow lamps which are to be used for a photo stand. I succeeded in mounting them for a copy stand. It will be used for photographing books, and small items. Before dinner we went for another short walk in the sunset gloaming, and then she settled down for some television and I to some more internet fussing around. And the writing of this blog, and checking my email again. It was a pleasant day and as the native Ainu of Japan say at the end of their stories –
We lived and lived and nothing happened.