An indoor person living in an outdoor town

I moved to Bend in 2011 for the same reason that a lot of people my age move anywhere…to be with my grandchild. However, I was an unlikely candidate to take up residence in Central Oregon because, you see, I don’t ski, snowboard or snowshoe; I don’t paddle, canoe or swim; I don’t fish, hunt or ride horses; I don’t bike, run or climb.  My outdoor activities include taking my dog on walks, gardening and drinking a glass of wine on the deck. Somehow, I needed to find ways for my indoor self to prosper in an outdoor town.

The Danish have a word—“hygge”—which is really a way-of-life for them. The only words we have in English that come close to hygge are “togetherness” and “coziness.”  More than any other place I have lived, Bend may be the one where this word is the closest fit. There are many cold months here on the high desert, so when I want to be with friends, I don’t ask to go for a hike or go to the mountain, I ask them to my house for food and drink. Whether it is one person across the table or many guests holding plates full of food from a buffet table, there is always lots of burning candles, wine, beer, conversation, soft music and stories. My business meetings are at Thump having coffee, or at any of Bend’s great restaurants for Happy Hour. To make the point: my get-togethers are always indoors.

When I hear the words “Snow Day,” I don’t grab skis and trek to Mt. Bachelor for some of that fresh powder. I get under a comforter with some DVDs and the dog snuggled up beside me. Add a steaming cup of tea and I am in heaven. I love watching films and that is probably my favorite indoor activity. One of the first things I did when I moved to Bend was to become a member of BendFilm. I volunteered the first year to take tickets, and saw some great films I would not have seen anywhere else. Last year I volunteered to be on the documentaries screening committee. That means I got to watch as many submissions as I could. I took it very seriously and milked it for all it was worth. “Sorry, I can’t take a walk, I have films to screen.” I am hooked now; next year I might sign up for two categories and just won’t sleep.

In these past few years of living here, I am finding that even though Central Oregon is a Mecca for outdoor types, there’s plenty to keep me busy, too. I have found good theatre, great music and lots of art galleries. I have a new man in my life. He worked in downtown Manhattan and has never worn a pair of skis. Boy, is he glad he met indoor me.

As the season turns to warmer weather, I will be out there with my dog, walking those trails, and every day I will again and again be knocked out at the beauty around me. Then I’ll go home, sit on my deck and read a book.

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