Portland was still Portland - green - wet - leafy - rose-scented - awash in beer - mounds of good food - and still a gateway for tectonic life events.
In 2012 - I escaped frozen death on a snowy mountain road that snaked up and over the Cascades. My son who was driving at the time, had a steely competence which prevented us from tobogganing off that slick road. It’s good he had a steely competence too - because the steel-belted radials on the plucky little Corolla had only the faintest memory of tire tread… During the most ‘exciting’ parts of the ride, I took proof of life selfies in case the worst came to pass.
Right after we crossed over - the road was closed by the state.. To celebrate - we drove far out into the high desert - no water - no blankets - no food - no tire tread. Deserted buildings - taxidermy signs - an occasional eighteen wheeler - and - at one point - a little coffee shop that served as a school and a post office all in one. Think of a high-altitude True Detective vibe. Massive snow squalls rumbled through.
Driving around the Cascades to get back to Portland, we avoided snow, but ran into the most blinding rainstorm I’ve ever been in. Again - the driving was impeccable.. Later that evening - there was one last near-death experience that involved a Chinese dish called “Pepper Drunk Chicken"
In 2013 - I booked travel to Oregon with Doff. Soon after booking the trip - I was laid off - which led to two years, three months and 20 days of amazingness…. Cathedral of The Great Wide World, nearly dying of blood clots, MANNA, the whole schmear.
2016 - The first day of the visit starts out cool, crisp, clear. There was a long winding walk through Portland that ended up with meeting my son at his place of work. I was so smitten by Portland I didn’t drink anything all day.. By the time I meet Andrew at his work, the outside temperature was 90. We then proceeded to walk so much more - I almost passed out from dehydration. By the time we got to his apartment - it took every bit of will I had to just put one foot in front of the other. At one point - I had to lay down on the grass of his neighbor’s lawn - which as it turned out - was not that comfortable.. It took about an hour guzzling gatorade and smart water to feel like I could walk around. Later that night a carnival of titanic leg cramps paid a visit from about midnight until three thirty in the morning..
It’ll no doubt be years before I go out there again - probably just out of respect for the spirit medicine of the place - one needs to sit with the teachings before asking for more lessons…