Coming home to Oregon always brightens my mood and makes me sharply aware of the beautiful surroundings and warm people around me. This afternoon, I was reading a book written by my favorite author – Fyodor Dostoevsky – and he put it like this:

It was just as if I had suddenly found myself in Italy, so powerful an effect did the natural scene produce in me, a semi-invalid townee, almost suffocated by being pent within the city. There is something ineffably touching about our Petersburg countryside when, with the onset of Spring, nature suddenly puts forth all her strength, all the power bestowed upon her; she decks herself out in all her finery, beautiful with flowers… It puts you in mind of some frail and sickly girl you sometimes note with pity, even a sort of compassionate love – one that others simply fail to notice at all, who suddenly, in an instant, becomes inexplicably, marvellously beautiful, while you, overwhelmed and enraptured, are forced to ask yourself what power has made those sad, pensive eyes glitter with such fire; what power has summoned up the blood to those wan, pinched cheeks; what has infused passion into those gentle features; why is her bosom heaving so; what has suddenly conjured up animation, strength, and beauty in the face of that poor girl, to make it glow with such a smile, and come alive with flashing, sparkling laughter like that?

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