Friday, June 08, 2018

Great Expectations...

The start... our freshest faces, our peak of anticipation and good intentions. I love this part of a trip, and many other parts, really. And, it goes back even further than this. The anticipation, and eager, good intentions, hopeful envisioning, began months before, when I bought our train tickets. My giddiness rose every time I saw an Amtrak traveling north, or south, watched children waving from the train window, and imagined our journey, our train window views. I would shiver with happiness and a certainty, a conviction... when our turn came, it was going to be fantastic.

So here we are, about a quarter after six in the morning, and I am running on about 2 hours of sleep. We took the train to Portland, Oregon, spent a few days there, rented a van, and travelled south to my Mom and Dad's place, before driving all the way home. But that's not how I want to tell the story, or remember our journey. I want to write down all of my impressions, the funny incidences, and best meals, favorite sights. I wish I could have posted from the road, but the Blogger app doesn't work any more. I posted some pictures to Instagram, which I enjoy doing.

From the Coast Starlight, Vandenberg Air-force Base, where we could see the Space-X launch pads (nerd swoon.)

I wish I could have posted from the road, while we were in the middle of our trip... to keep it current and fresh, to stay on top of the details I love so much, to feel caught up, and not fall behind. Now I am home two days... the first day home we were sort of exhausted and turned around, having spent two long days driving, and I was feeling like I was between three worlds... the redwoods, and rose gardens, and the 405 Interstate during rush hour. That is disorienting, for sure. But today is our second day at home, and I am feeling melancholy, and to be very honest... kind of sad. And I want to be clear: I am not disappointed in our trip or about being home, but there's just this transitional phase, where I miss what we had, where we were, what we left behind. And I am a bit loathe to jump back into laundry, cat litter, bureaucratic flaming hoops, spam email, post election analysis. My sweet peas are mostly dead, and I have a garden of things that need attention. In fact, everything needs my attention, and... well, I need a vacation.


The thing is... this is not the best time for me to blog. I want to capture the beauty and wonder of all we saw and experienced. I want to recount the humor and patience it takes to arrive in a city, managing five bodies, luggage and sleeping bags on a city bus, walking to a strange house, and settling into the adventure. I am anxious about forgetting little things, like how every home had a garden simply exploding with the most gorgeous flowers. The air smelled like roses. Not perfume, not a floral shop... just natural, rambling, abundant, sun dappled, home-grown roses. I want to write entire posts dedicated to and celebrating flowers I have never seen before, blossoms whose names I can only imagine. But now is not the time. I am sad, and overwhelmed, and feeling insufficient. Is that the right word? No, but maybe. Inadequate? Scant. Deficient. Yes.

The truth is, I built up an idea, and got on the train with a belief, that I would make this journey and be restored, find answers, and new resolve. It's even more naive and irrational than that... I was going to put ailments and anxiety behind me and jumpstart my life, get fit, reverse aging, make art, restore confidence, connect with new friends, meet goals, find my mission, feel my worth, and discover my destiny, then come home and clean the house top to bottom, and buy new bras that fit, without underwires.

What in the...

Well. It's true. I did that to myself. It wasn't an agenda, outlined and deliberate. It was just beneath the surface, a feeling, a wish. But I think it was pervasive, nonetheless. Bits of the scheme and hope, prodded me on, and led me to believe, to lean in, optimistically. And, naturally, things didn't quite work out as my ambitious psyche aspired.

If I had blogged during the trip, I would have recounted the day we travelled up the Columbia River Gorge and found the Vista House, the same intriguing little structure atop the bluff that caught my attention the first time I was visiting the Gorge. I would have posted about hiking around Latourell Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, before we came to dear Multnomah Falls.

But now, in this little pity party mood, I think... The best horchata I've had in ages, is 1,062 miles away.

This is not the best time for me to blog.

From the road, I would have loved to write about Alberta Arts, and walking to the food pod for our post-Powells lunch, discovering Quarterworld, being in the same neighborhood as Fernie Brae, which truly was a magical gallery.

I'll need some time, a little space, to get through this funk. I started the laundry. There are a few last things to dig out of the rental van, which I return in a few hours. But there's already a long list of things that need to get done, and I have this doleful foreboding that blogging will fall further and further away from my focus and I'll start to lose track of our days in the PNW, motivation to write it all down. I still haven't finished sorting our New England stories. Sigh.

June 1, Sunset Bay, Oregon

I love Portland. I love Oregon. We walked a lot, and there are well over 2,000 new photographs on my computer... pictures that will remind me of the flowers, the smiles, the amusing moments, and beautiful ones, too. Nonetheless, I have not reversed time, or reduced the miles between here, and there. There is where my Mom and Dad live, where the drivers are friendlier and neighborhoods feel like small worlds, that can be sampled on foot, met with a smile. Here... well, for now, here is where I am face to face with "real life" and the things I have not managed well, the stuff I gotta do, and issues I have not resolved, which is why I really shouldn't be blogging right now.

June 2, Coquille Lighthouse, Oregon
Max, Maria, William, Alex, Delia and Ron, Natalie

I was going to mourn and grieve and let it all out... there. That's a big truth, or hope. I am afraid a lot of hard things, and losses have been bottled up inside me, and pushed down for later, and I thought, or believed, that this would be the time when I could talk, and cry, and release, heal, understand. I still have not poured my heart out, opened up, made a ritual or gesture of... I don't know. My grandmother's death still feels so recent, so unreal and tender, that even there, with my Mom, in her home, so close to all of it, it felt too soon, too raw. And I am sad, because of those thousand miles that make it near impossible to try again, to take small steps, linger again over a cup of tea and let the conversation flow.

Sometimes I feel guilty, apologetic, for not accepting that life is unfair, that we can't always get what we want, for hoping I can have more. I know life is unfair. I know we can't always get what we want. But that knowledge does not take away the sorrow, or make me any less frustrated, disappointed. And I see that this applies to many things... even the blessing of my grandmother's long life, 95 years, does not make me "happy" or "thankful." I want her. I want more. I love good things, beautiful moments, meaningful relationships, views, train rides, art supplies, and I want more. And I feel kind of guilty, a bit apologetic for saying so, and maybe this isn't such a good time for me to try to blog about this.

We ran around, and laughed. We got real hungry, ate good stuff, played, explored, all of that. I really do hope to share more, and include links, and more pictures. I would love to tell the stories from our train ride to Portland, the morning at the labyrinth trail.

I want to recall all of it, because I loved our trip, what we saw, and did, the redwoods, and the rivers, the heights, and expanses, even the way we missed our cats, and wished Geoff were with us, or how we ran out of time, and needed to get home.

Now we are home, and unpacking. I have some souvenirs... the pictures, the new ideas and impressions, and some pretty things, like a drop spindle, postcards. The pictures are my favorite souvenir. I always wish I had taken more pictures, and I know it's because what I really want is to bring home a redwood tree. An actual tree, and the riverbank, the smell of Portland, its front porches, and neighbors that say Hello, isn't this a beautiful evening? Enjoy! as they walk by. I want to have my mother's bathroom shelf here, so I can touch the little bottles, and gaze at the pictures, the art hanging above it. My souvenirs are the stories, the details, the smell and feel of places, the sentiments I enjoyed when we didn't run out of gas, when we found the right bus, when the pizza place was closed, when we figured out our accommodations and laughed in the dark, as quietly as possible. Later, when I have time, and the dryer isn't buzzing, when I don't feel this transitional haze and melancholy, I hope I will say more, hold more down before it will drift away, to enjoy, to savor.

If we were Lego figures... we might look like these. Just a funny moment from our last day in Portland.