It’s almost impossible to believe that today is my 11-month anniversary of moving to Portland. I’ve witnessed every passing season, and the winter wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be, though I was assured this year was very mild and inordinately sunny. Shit. Spring was pretty rainy and yucky, the autumn was stunning and inspiring as promised, and so far, summer has given me untold amounts of energy, though the actual hot day seems a rare commodity, but that’s okay.
This week I started running at the track at the high school near my house. I wear my shortest running shorts, lose the shirt, and try my damnedest to get some sun on my pale, starving skin while I pant through 2 miles. Twice this weekend I took long bike rides around the neighborhood and discovered yet more things I didn’t know about, including Forest Park, a 5,000-acre urban oasis (the largest urban forest in the country), that is, actually, in my neighborhood. Somehow I missed that. This is why I love Portland. In what other city would you not know there’s a 5,000-acre forest a mile and a half from your apartment? I feel like I live in Middle Earth sometimes. I still gasp every time I cross a bridge to the east side of town and it’s clear enough to see Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens looming in the distance like a set of stern but protective parents. I hope I never lose the awe of seeing them as long as I live here.
I’m a different person than I was when I moved here, and that’s a good thing. Calmer, more settled, less afraid, more sure of myself, less afraid of my real priorities and values. Also more unsure in other ways. That’s okay. Life isn’t about certainty. As I’ve decided. I used to think it was. I left that behind. The change of scenery into the unfamiliar has paid off in just the way I suspected (and hoped) it would. That’s nice to know.
I finished my final school project tonight. I still have class this next week, but all of my work is done, so all I have to do is show up. I can’t believe I’m a year down, and halfway through school already. It’s exciting.