Climbing Beacon Rock is not nearly as impressive as the story of the man who hacked out the trail many years ago. Another impressive thing is the voracity of the summit chipmunks who stand on your boot and give you miniature high fives in the hopes of winning a wee bite. The northwest jays are in on the racket too, squawking and preening and swooping. I once would have decried this borderline domestication but now I relax into a pleasant cohabitation.
Highway sign state lines are ebullient but meaningless demarcations, the metal remnant of old power struggles invisible in the real world. But there are the subtler signs of a shifting state: the feel of the air, the color of petals and wings, the resident trees. I love coming down from Oregon into California coast, Redwood amongst the Fir, salt in the wind, elk in the grass, and a feeling of being home.