Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why I Love Portland: A brief list

  • Because this was what the sky offered me at 6:20 last night.
  • Because my neighbors seems to own no curtains though they do own chickens that are housed in their front yard.
  • Because this is February and rather than being crushed by the weight of winter, I'm tripping on the sidewalk while looking up at the spring blooms.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21st

Sweet air. I stand beneath these early blooms and inhale and inhale. If I take enough of that gentle scent into my lungs, maybe some of the heaviness there will dissipate. The hard, bitter ball of winter starts to soften. In the afternoon, my cat uses a tuft of ornamental grass as a pillow. I dig into the soft bed of dirt beside her, uncovering worms and the earth's cool breath. Gloom sulks along the sidelines under this kind of blue, under this kind of persistence. Here I am again...SPRING... Spring...spring.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Routine vs. Ritual

This is the feast of a hundred take-out containers, otherwise known as our friend's Chinese New Year party. 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, a year predicted (by who? the stars? the tigers?) to be full of change and upheaval. That doesn't mean we had to go and mess with tradition straight out of the gate. Instead, we did what we always do: pick up a little take out from the Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant of our choice and head on over for some serious snacking, imbibing and firework displays.

I know I've missed a couple of these parties over the years, but compared to all the other traditions in my life, this is probably the most consistent. Christmas varies wildly from year to year depending on where I am. Thanksgiving suffers from the same randomness. Today's Valentine's Day but I honestly don't give a flying fuck. What else is there? Sean used to cook breakfast for a large gathering of friends every year on his birthday, until he realized how much work this was. Then he switched to watching movies in the backyard but that tradition's been thrown off course too. We never celebrate anniversaries, solstices, St. Patrick's Day or any of the days of the lord (or any other deities for that matter).

My father used to insist that we all NEED traditions either ones that are handed down or ones we create ourselves. He thought regular celebration was an important way to mark time and take note of our lives. In many ways, this makes sense to me and yet anytime I participate in a tradition part of me feels a little odd. There's no way to remove the inherent sense of obligation. Even in the most benign, most loving celebrations, I'm aware of the coercion as much as the comfort.

Maybe this is a result of being forced to go to church for much of my youth. Or it could be a lingering remnant of my teenage personae that reveled in opposition. Maybe I just want to believe that small daily celebrations can be enough. Every morning, Sean makes breakfast while I make coffee. Almost every day I walk within the 10 square blocks surrounding my house to go to the library, the bank, the grocery store (for a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter). We regularly take time to confuse the cat and then, at night, we sit on the couch and eat dinner. These are routines, but to me they're as beautiful as any ritual.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Go. Outside. Now.

Here we are in the first week of February and we are lucky enough in this little damp patch of the world to be experiencing the first shy signals of an early spring. A gorgeous park full of lush greenery and sweeping views sits 10 blocks to the east of me. There's no reason I'm not up there every day. There's no reason why, after 16+ years in this drizzly climate that a little rain spittle or a dash of cool air should stop me from getting the hell out of my house (except for the fact that I still don't own a proper raincoat or a working umbrella at the could this be?).

Last week I had a client bemoaning the passing of her 25th birthday. I barely stifled a laugh. I try to remember that someday I'll be wishing I was 40. Every time I head out into the world to run errands or enjoy the sweet mossy goodness of our little city I remember to take note of the swing of my arms and the slap of my feet. Take note of the ease of it. Don't squander the seemingly simple ability to walk down the street and carry home your groceries.