A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Taking the long view on a winter ride

Written March 3rd, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The view across the wintry landscape on a bike ride Saturday in Southern Oregon.

Sometimes it’s good to get away. A bike ride is one way to do that, especially if it’s on a route you don’t often take.

Somebody sent in a reaction recently to all the griping that overflows in the comment section of hh-today. And most of the time, criticism of government decisions and other contributors is all that’s in there.

Disappointment with government action or inaction is often justified. But all this venom and bitterness in the comments on social media, and on local news blogs like this, gets tiresome nonetheless.

So you try to tune it out.

I’ve been in the local reporting and commenting business for nearly 60 years. One thing I learned the hard way is that it pays to exercise restraint.

Sometimes I didn’t do that and went off the deep end instead. The times I remember, that turned out to be a mistake. Didn’t persuade anybody and sometimes caused unnecessary grief.

I’m not persuading anybody now. I’m pretty sure I’m not.

Just know that when you badmouth somebody’s decisions and question their motives, you’re not causing them to change course so that they agree with you.

In other words, you’re not doing any good. Telling somebody how stupid, shortsighted, greedy, self-serving or ignorant they are has never worked.

I was thinking along those lines on a day that started with me walking through wet snow and ended up riding the bike through the countryside in an area of the state where I began the Oregon part of my life a long time long ago.

A bike ride doesn’t change anything. It has no bearing on what’s wrong in the country, our state, or our towns.

But it was a chance for a short time to get away. And to appreciate what a great place we live in, and how free most of us are. (hh)

15 responses to “Taking the long view on a winter ride”

  1. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Very astute observations…

  2. khss says:

    Positive vibes go a long way. Thanks!

  3. Cap B. says:

    “Not saying anything” also does not change anything. I think speaking up is more likely to change a few things, or make a dent in it, than keeping quiet. After all, you have been in the “commenting” business for nye on 60 years, as you said. I don’t think all those years were for naught. Not speaking up when their neighbors suddenly were missing did not help discover and close down the “Nazi death camps” in the 30s and 40s!!

  4. chris j says:

    While I agree that the people that govern are not likely to change because of the pain they cause others, but some are very attached to their appearance of being right and no one calling them out when they are not. All injustices that have been corrected have been hard won. When the weakest among us have no voice and the voice of reason falls on deaf ears, what choice do people have? Walking by a person that has fallen does mean he did not fall or falling was their fault, it means no one cares. As someone that has fallen into hard times more than a few times, I understand and refuse to just walk by without offering them aid. If I have to get all up in society’s face a little bit so be it. My momma told me if I didn’t want to get called out on bad behavior, don’t do it. So don’t complain if you get what you ask for, that is part of being a grownup.

  5. Joanna S says:

    Yes – and how very privileged we are to have such minor complaints and problems – just watching the news regarding the loss of life and homes of so many people in Ukraine and the middle east should help us realize our great fortune. Thanks Hasso.

  6. Cap B. says:

    Another great photo at the top of your story. You could have published one of those coffee-table books of your outdoor photographs!

    • Jon Stratton says:

      What “could have?” He still can. A book of photos with his bicycles would be great.

  7. Bob Woods says:

    Thank you Hasso. “People that govern” are just like everybody else, with the small exception that they got their jobs, not from a business owner, but as a result of all the people in the community.

    Whether elected or hired, they work as a result of the choices made by the community. Just like everyone who posts on your blog, they all make mistakes from time to time. But with only one exception that I have seen, it was never done through malice.

  8. Dee Wendler says:

    Very well said!

  9. Matthew Calhoun says:

    It’s not criticism of government that’s at issue, it’s the unbridled venom and the constant putting on airs that the dozen or so most prolific commenters seem to exercise here at will. It’s exhausting and for some Hasso’s words just flew over their heads because, despite Hasso’s many past pleas for civility, they are also likely to never change their ways.

  10. chris j says:

    The people who base their quote “positive” opinions solely based on limited knowledge of other peoples experiences are seeing life through rose colored glasses. When people lose their homes, jobs, health and someone else benefits from their losses you view it as making lemon-aid when life gives you lemons. It is not a positive outcome for the people who were given the lemons when other people get the benefits of the lemon-aid (such as buying the home that was lost inexpensively etc.) and the unfortunate are left with just the lemons The spelling of lemon-aid is correct in these cases because the aid you get is is just more lemons and no aid. So the people who enjoy the lemon-aid of those whom have suffered losses are the ones who feel blessed by their good fortune and do not deem it as malice.

  11. chris j says:

    PS: In the old west when people were lucky enough to find a dead body they took their gold teeth, boots and the money in their pockets etc.. Now we don’t wait until they are dead, just weak enough not to be able to fend off professional looters .

  12. Michele Harris says:

    Your point was well-made. Thank you, HH!

  13. Jim Conard says:

    Hasso, I really enjoy the stories you write about that get posted on internet. I lived in Albany from birth to 1993, 40 years. I look at the pictures and remember Old Albany.
    We moved to Eastern MT in 93. My father used to 1/2 own Valley Appliance Service on Lyon St. Lots has changed since we moved.


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