portland: the water, the heat, the compromise

6 September 2011 § Leave a comment

This trip finally feels like I’m travelling again. There was a two or three week stint in there where I lived comfortably and happily, working every day, sleeping hard and well at night, and taking the occasional trip south on the weekends. What a life some people have. I loved it like I love all things – in intense bursts of passion and living into life. I’m still working on the elusive prospect of a consistent mind – that is, being present and whole from one moment to the next.

No, that’s bullshit. My consistent mind would be appreciating what I have when I have it, instead of anticipating the end of that connection. Not necessarily looking forward to it, but aware of the possibility. It makes for tenuous relationships with people. I wouldn’t like it either.

Reality: yesterday, I lost my notebook, somewhere in the Willamette Valley. It started on the fogblanketed coastline, perhaps the last but of cold I’ll feel for months or more, and dipped down through Corvallis, and back up the other side to the Pacific Crest Trail, and the massive wildfire that looks like Hell’s Chimney outputting noxious chemicals from the Three Sisters (mountains I wanted so dearly to climb, but…) made the fifty miles in the mountains smell like I was spinning brodies around a bonfire. When I realized what I’d lost, I backtracked seventy-five miles to the gas station where I thought I’d left it. Of course, there was no notebook there, only darkness. And where was I to stay for the night? I’d already made the mistake of piping down the Oregon coast, not realizing it was Labor Day weekend until the 25-mph traffic near Cannon Beach let me read two chapters of Mark Twain without looking up. If I ever scold you for texting and driving, you can toss that one back at me.

Today, I’m in Portland, the city people have been telling me I’d love for years. I’m not sure what I expected other than trendy, indiepop people who listen to Band of Horses (who will be here in a week or two – Tyler and Bill, I hope you guys are doing well) and recycle and ride their bikes in skinny jeans, while the dirty post-gutterpunks busk for change in the park. I have no problem with any of that. It’s like Asheville on hippy steriods, with better public transportation and nicer people. I’m comfortable here, which means I could either live here for a bit or never visit again. The bridge that lifts itself up vertically, with all that black iron and ladderclimbing steel – yes, I could skate across water daily.

Alas, the library computer in five minutes will stymie my thoughts and creativity. Time to start another new notebook. At least I wasn’t so far into the other one. I refuse to mourn it: there are always more words to be had.


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