About 5 a.m. Saturday morning I was awakened by a roar. At first I thought a truck load of timber passed. I went back to sleep. Then it happened again and a third time. Finally I sleepily looked outside and saw and heard nothing but peaceful cold, gray clouds and floating bits of snow. I waited a few minutes and this time saw it, or rather heard it again. 

The wind gust that sounded like a passing load of quickly moving timber, even a freight train, however but it turned out to be gusts of wind, courtesy of nature herself. She went from rumbling screams to nothing but silence in seconds just as quickly.  

She had grabbed me by the lapels to awaken me to the fact that the community was about to get busier. Like the gusty wintery wind nature had thrown my way in chin music-like fashion the end of the year holiday celebrations were upon me. 

I admit that I am ill-prepared for the type of the level of intensity the community experiences each year. I am used to seeing hundreds of people waiting in line for hours on end waiting to bully their way into a mall department store, something I always avoided. 

When the holiday intensity picks up I admit to getting a knee jerk reaction to seek solace in a far away or in a hidden place. But the opposite feelings peak my interest here in Lakeview. 

This is my first holiday season in Oregon and I am looking forward to observe and learn from the experience. I am assuming an entirely different experience than what I am familiar to seeing, hearing and touching.

Thus far I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on the planning – as a reporter of course – on the community’s Festival of Trees event. That dedicated behind the scenes work brought me pause I’ve never experienced during a holiday season.

Now I have helped organize events, but never one involving a recognized commercial holiday. For me holiday was always defined as vacation, a day on the water, a baseball game, Election Day but nothing more. 

This year is different for me. I no longer live in a large community where people can easily go unrecognized which is not completely negative. Within a larger community it is defined as blending in or maintaining privacy.

On the opposite shore being recognized has its rewards and requires adjustments if you are not used to the environment. Please bear with me as I am still in the process of adjusting. 

I’ve learned through my life’s experience that removing a learned culture is impossible as it is the major point of reference a person has to grasp onto. We all have our point of cultural reference.  

As for this year I am anxious to learn new definitions of experiencing life in Oregon. The fast approaching end of the year celebrations will be a learning experience for me that I am looking forward to seeing and hearing. 

The Festival of Trees is not the beginning of my learning curve, actually. That start is the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot walk/run event at high school that I cannot wait to cover. 

In between and around that event I will be seeking more information about the Festival of Trees and many other Christmas scheduled events for the community. 

—Robert Meredith

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