Portland #6: A Look Back

(written Sunday night)

Driving down I-84 into the Columbia River Gorge Friday night I felt my chest rise and breathe a little more easily. Portland feels like a stable vantage point to look back at the course I’ve plotted since the spring of 2011. A step back from the (suddenly insignificant) concerns I choose to carry in the day to day of Missoula.

Hello Oregon.

Hello Oregon.

Life seems nice here. Maybe it’s the options for breakfast, but more likely it is the deep relationships that have already weathered time and distance. The bigness of the city reminds me of the smallness of my life, like my brother that reminds me not to take myself too seriously.

Mark and George. Trouble.

Mark and George. Trouble.

My foot is healing.  I’m back in regular shoes, but walking with a limp. Workouts still aren’t a priority, and some of the nerve ends still aren’t firing correctly. Many cups of coffee and brilliant Portland food accompany a description of my life that plays on repeat, every two hours meeting a new old friend. David has an xtracycle that makes riding around town feel even more familiar (I still miss that bike). Being back here seems to lift the self imposed limits I’ve put on my life in Missoula.

Many cups of coffee.

Many cups of coffee.

A little too much fun?

A little too much fun?

I mostly made it back to spend some time with Mark and Kylee before they move to Philadelphia. Upon arrival, my priorities seemed to multiply, and I filled every possible minute seeing people. The farther I am from living there, the more I realize how that place affected my adult life.  Thanks to everyone there that continues to support me, David for putting me up (with a real bed and everything), and George for putting up with me.

Barb, the Doctor, and Gleb (if he weren't in Mongolia).

Barb, the Doctor, and Gleb (if he weren’t in Mongolia).


I’m excited to be back in Missoula. In many ways, this is the harder path, but there’s space here for consequence. Space to try and fail and success and explore. Maybe I didn’t challenge myself to take my Portland life to the next level, but it seemed obvious. I left to follow my journey, and I’m glad to come back here and find I’m still on it.

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