July 23, 2013

away home

It has been six years, almost to the day, since we waved the moving truck away from our front steps, climbed on a plane and left Portland. I remember that it was clear and beautiful and a little hot and that I thought, as we flew past the crystal clear view of the mountains, that I wasn't sure about this. This leaving my home thing. Not that I hadn't done it before, but somehow it seemed harder that time.

I have a hard time explaining my love for Portland to people. Neither Will or I are "from" there in the sense that we were neither born there nor grew up there, but if you ask us where we are from, we'll both say Portland. Maybe it's because it's where we are from. The place we lived for our first years as a couple. The city where we brought our babies home from the hospital and spent sleepless nights and days trying to learn how to be parents. Portland is the birthplace not of Will and I as individuals, but of our family.

Or maybe it's like an infection, once it's in your system, it never leaves. Less eloquent, but not less true, at least for me. Wherever I go, Portland is home. I know it's the hip place to be right now. It's so cool to be a Portlander it almost makes my eyes hurt. But it's not the hip that I love. It's not even the weird that makes me crave my city (although that's fun to). It's long evenings with friends, seamless reunions after years apart, it's the never diminishing awe of flying so close to Mt. Hood you can almost see climbers scaling the rocks, it's knowing where to go without a map or even much thought and playing in parks where first steps were taken. It's the homeness of it.

It was a flying visit, this trip. My best friend, fondly known around here as Auntie Kim, got married in a flurry of family and friends and little girls in pretty yellow dresses and delicious macaroni salad.  But in between rehearsals and dinners and bachelorette parties and the wedding itself we visited old haunts and saw old friends, made new, dear ones and threw ourselves back into our city with glee. Like stepping back into your favorite shoes, already broken in and ready for adventure.