Thank you Portland. Better yet: thank you Portlanders.

It’s been a good week in the City of Roses. Enough good food to overwhelm a poor traveler’s palette, with descriptions that range from enticing to somewhat ridiculous. I keep meaning to copy some down for you, but once the plate arrives such thoughts are simmered into a balsamic reduction that leaves no aftertaste. I fear I would utterly fail a spelling test generated from these esoteric epicurean soliloquies.

But as delightful as it was to reacquaint myself with my dear old friend Brunch, it was the reunions with family and friends that lifted the week to the sublime.

As the train from Seattle slid into Portland and my reunion with my brother, I slid into giddiness. K tolerated/enjoyed my tour guide narration of Portland (non)landmarks in a variety of accents as my spirits bubbled over. My brother met us at the station and we hadn’t made it out the doors yet when the obscure movie references and decades-old inside jokes began. (K thanks you for your condolences.)

We went to the forest. My god, it had been too long. Such power and Beauty in thick forest floors, damp bark and dripping leaves. Green green GREEN!!! We walked a path cut into granite cliffside beside godly waterfalls, felt snow on our faces, saw a deer spotting us from the green abyss, and tried to stare at the Columbia River Gorge but were overwhelmed and insignificant.

We stayed with time-honored friends and their 9 month old addition to the family, saw further friends, from long ago, medium ago, and recent, all of whom are cause for gratitude. Today held a famous Croquet Social, yesterday moved K out of her comfort zone in an unprecedented manner that she dealt with like a champ, and the day before we stood in a quintessential Portland bar/venue watching improv rock & roll make horrible yet enjoyable noise.

This trip is characterized by insufficient time at every stage (see: Seattle) and though Portland is to be the longest, the week felt more like a day. At the end of it we were shocked and dismayed to find that we were not living there from now on, as we had tried to convince ourselves, nor even staying another month, as mere decency demanded. Nearly unacceptable.

I love traveling, and am addicted to the lure of new places and the sense of transition, but oh-me-oh-my, the lure of settling down with family and friends can be strong.  We’re a rather schizophrenic species, with our needs for isolation and socialization, noise and silence, stimulation and tranquility, and in that twist and pull I can find Beauty, but leaving Portland, leaving my Portlanders that is, was hard.