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December 31, 2004

A Taste of Portland Today

This morning, we woke up to a bit of an ice storm. Actually, it wasn't as bad as anticipated, and in fact, Chris bravely forged out in the storm to take Jurgen to little kid school (daycare) on his way to work. I slept in, but when I got up and took the dogs out, I noticed the telltale shine of a layer of ice on the concrete. THAT isn't Portland weather.

But this evening, I went out to do a little grocery shopping, and I didn't wear a coat. Okay, I often don't wear a coat, even when my mother wishes I would. But, it was almost balmy to MN standards, and moist from the day's rain. If I closed my eyes, I could have been standing in the parking lot of Safeway in Vancouver, WA, not the parking lot of Lund's in Highland Park. I could be thinking about how in two weeks I might be planting primroses in a little pot outside my door, and watching slugs slowly make their way across my sidewalk. I could be drying off wet paws that sunk down in muddy grass instead of sliding on patches of snow and ice.

So, I miss Portland a little, I'll admit. It's hard to leave a place you like, not really knowing if you'll ever get to be named one of its citizens again. It's a little painful talking to your friends on the phone, knowing that as time goes by, the distance gets a little wider, and that while we all promised frequent visits, practicality dictates otherwise. It doesn't help that Minnesota hasn't been easy on us, either. Not that every place should have to be easy, or that life lessons haven't been learned thanks to the challenge. But has it really had to be this hard all the time?

We crossed the Rocky Mountains once on our way out west. It was winter time, and we were a little nuts driving through the snowy passes with a U-Haul and a car in tow. As we headed over those mountains, I sort of thought I wasn't looking back. Then, not so very long ago I found myself coming back over those mountains in a U-haul, with a different car in tow. I guess we don't always know what turns life takes us on.

For the first time in my life, I'm feeling a little impatient to be done with school, and yet, there's so many forms left to file, exams to take, and dissertation pages to write. There's no U-haul in the foreseeable future, and I'm not sure what direction it'll be headed when (and if) it leaves the Minneapolis skyline behind. In the meantime, I'll breathe in the damp smell of rain on the pavement in December and be thankful it reminds me of Portland.

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