11 November 2015
portland on film, part one
portland on film, part one, starring all my old favorites. powell's books and annie's donuts and cargo and bollywood theatre and a few old friends and a few old downtown buildings plus the lobby at the ace and my old hood and pretty much every bike in the city. which (and this goes without saying) I have missed, more than I could ever, ever adequately put into words. I mean, I knew I would miss portland when we moved, I just didn't know how much, I had no earthly idea how much. not until the moment I scraped together a few fairly valid excuses to return, found a bargain basement airfare and then was so giddy about it, I could not, would not let myself even think about it. I would not permit myself even a sliver of a daydream about it until the actual day I boarded the plane and flew out there.
and then, as if I'd never even left, there I was-- walking the streets of our old hood, past our beautiful old house, along the ridge with the view of mount hood, past the kids' sweet old elementary and middle school, past my favorite turquoise house, down the stretch of sidewalk with all the dahlias, past our beloved annie's. and then, downtown-- down all my favorite old streets, past all my favorite old buildings, in and out of all of my favorite spots. and powell's, up and down the aisles of powell's, holy crap, powell's. where my reaction was as emotionally visceral as the one I had when I stood in front of our old house. powell's, where the scent of old books and burnt coffee nearly brought me to my knees.
the way I feel about this city, the missing of it, the mourning of the loss of it-- is complicated. riddled with contradiction, teeming with sharp and soft, sweet and sour, a thread I'm careful not to pull at for fear of the swiftest unraveling. four weeks ago, I found myself staring down the barrel of it and the minute I stepped off the plane, I gave in. I let the city unravel me. I let myself fall back into it, into the deep grief of the thing. I savored every painful, joyful minute of it, held onto it as long as I possibly could, til I couldn't any longer, til the view of my former city grew smaller and smaller through the tiny oval airplane window, til I was forced to put myself back together, piece by piece, to loosen my grip and let go.