September 17, 2017

It didn’t get warm today. For the first time in I don’t know how long, the clouds kept the cold in and even brought some rain. I stayed all afternoon in a chair with a novel I’ve read twice before and got up to make dinner too late because I wanted to finish the book before I moved. Seven years ago today, I careened onto Portland’s un-navigable streets with every material possession I could cram into my car. Four apartments, four jobs, and countless gains and losses later, here I still am. “Do you ever think about leaving?” someone asked me the other day. It’s a question I’m asked far more often than I think to ask anyone else. Perhaps I have the look of one who is unsettled. “I don’t know where I’d go,” has become my answer, the thrill of the hunt gone out of me. I’ll take the chair and the blanket and the warm cup of tea. I’ll take the quiet I love and tuck tight into my world of books and trees, and I won’t even put up the pretense, like I did in my younger days, that this is enough. It’s not, but it is what it is, and it has been worse, and we humans like to pretend thoughts like these are comforting. The Gorge is burning. Over 30,000 acres have been destroyed, and I haven’t hiked it in four years. What have I been doing? Everything and nothing. Working. Turning thirty. Watching seasons turning. Counting down the days as if they held some sort of promise. Earlier today, I finished Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, a book I started to read last summer because I had encountered this line in another: “And were it true, we do not think all philosophy is worth one hour of pain.” Here we lie, Portland, you and I, after all this time. We do not look the same as we once did, and good thing, because now there can be no mistake: we are not the same at all.

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