The sun was beaming down as the bus I was on cruised over the Ross Island Bridge towards the garage. At the pinnacle of the bridge, one of the tallest to span the Willamette River here in Portland, Oregon, I could see two of Oregon’s highest mountains. Mt. Hood, the iconic pointed dormant volcano off to the south east, has been gracing my views from the driver’s seat daily since taking this job. She is the closest to Portland, and the details you can see of the mountain are pretty fantastic. To the northwest is Mt. St. Helen’s, also covered in a thick blanket of snow. I sat there, gazing upon them, and got this very odd feeling in my gut. After a moment of pondering, the best I could describe it as being like was homesickness.
For some reason, those mountains, and the breathlessness that I feel when I get to enjoy them in my view, had me thinking about all of the places I’ve been to over the last decade.
2004 saw me living in Maine.
2005 was us (Nathaniel and myself) moving back to New Hampshire, while I earned my teaching certification.
2006 sent me to England.
2008 brought me back.
2010 had me living back in Maine.
2011 send me to Colorado.
2013 kicked me to Portland, Oregon.
2014 has me here still, and still in amazement, still settling in.
What I can’t, for the life of me, is understand fully just how I got this far away from where I grew up. The thousands of miles I’ve covered, the people I’ve met, the connections I’ve made all seem to be finally coming into focus. It’s as if I’m finally not feeling like an object that one might send flying from a slingshot. The whiplash of all that movement has come to a pause, and is now catching up to me.
Today, Ray and I will be taking off on a hike. We haven’t decided whether it’ll be the coast, or the Columbia Gorge, but we do know we want to get out of town. I have a feeling I’m going to be pondering this weird feeling in my guts, and trying to make sense of it all. I do get the feeling that I’m putting down some semblance of roots here in this place, and maybe it’s that – that sense of grounding, of placement, that has me feeling strange. It’s been so damn long since I stood in one place for any length of time. With a job, a decent home, and a person of interest in my life again, suddenly staying in one place isn’t as scary as it may have once been. I’m not running away from anything anymore, either. That might have something to do with this too.