Beautiful things don’t ask for attention

Hannah's Haven
Hannah Gray
Express Intern

     In May of 2017, my dad got a job in Oregon. The whole family was ecstatic about it. Oregon is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, with forests, ocean, mountains, and of course, the City of Portland. About a month later, my family took a trip to see him. It didn’t take too long before our visions were turned into reality.

     Everyone thinks of Oregon entirely as a lush piece of land with trees and waterfalls. What most people don’t know is while part of the state has all those things, the other part is desert.

     This isn’t the kind of desert with camels and pyramids like Egypt. It’s the kind where there’s nothing but wheat fields farther than you can see, and one tiny grocery store every 30 miles on narrow winding roads. I swear there were tumbleweeds blowing across the empty roads like a scene out of an old western movie.

     And that’s exactly where my dad lives.

     My family drove three hours from Portland to Heppner, Ore. We were shocked by what we saw. With nothing to do and barely any phone service, we were all thinking this was going to be a long trip.

     To our surprise, it wasn’t a bad trip after all. During our time there, we met tons of people who my dad worked with and their families; we were invited to go four wheeling and swimming with my dad’s neighbors, and sat around a bon fire almost every night with people we just met. The most welcoming, heart-warming people I have ever met all lived in a small town of less than 1,500 people.

     The last night we were there, my sister and I climbed up to the top of the roof of the house to stargaze. Stargazing is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. With that being said, I’ve stared up into a lot of night skies. But the skies I’ve seen back home in Iowa didn’t even compare to the one we saw in Oregon.

     We could see stars to the horizon of the earth and galaxies upon galaxies. Even though it was nearly 50 degrees outside, I couldn’t bring myself to go in. It was one of the most nostalgic moments of my life.

     It was one of those moments when you knew you’d never be able to describe the feeling to someone who wasn’t there. You could take thousands of pictures, but the memory would still be missing sitting on the rooftop in the middle of nowhere, the sounds of the wolves howling in the background and the smell of the fresh air.

     “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention” is a quote from the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” The quote is spoken when a well-known photographer finally has the opportunity to capture a picture of a rarely seen snow leopard, but chose to take in its beauty instead.

     That’s exactly how I felt in the moment under the stars and the rest of our trip to Oregon. The desert had not turned into a rainforest or a beach next to the ocean. The only thing that had changed was our perspective.

     We came to Heppner thinking about how much we wished we were still in Portland and by the end of the trip, we didn’t want to leave.

     That area of Oregon goes simply unnoticed, but if it had city lights the night sky would’ve been a fog instead of stars and if there were more things to do then families would be less invested in each other and more in what to do.

     Beauty is hidden so when you finally see it, it’s even more special than it would be if you were expecting it.

     The stars we saw would’ve shined even if we weren’t looking at them and the waterfalls in the forest will still fall even if no one’s there to take pictures, and that’s what makes it so authentic.

     If 100 people stood in a line, you wouldn’t be able to tell who has the voice of an angel, is a talented actor, or has the kindest soul, but that’s the beauty of beautiful places and beautiful people and beautiful things- they don’t ask for attention.

     Whether it’s watching the sun go down next to the ocean or a screaming the lyrics to your favorite song with your best friends, it’s amazing how one simple moment in time can be engrained in your mind forever.



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