The Apostrophe Blog
I’m finally back in western Oregon after nearly three weeks in the Northeast, visiting with family in northeastern Pennsylvania; two nights and three days up in Ithaca, meals with friends, a haircut, and seeing the wreck of Ithaca’s small town spirit in the short seven years since we left; two trips to New York to help C. pack up, drive his possessions back to Plymouth to box and ship; then finally a rental car drive with C. to Washington DC to see M. and march in the September 24th anti-war march before flying back to Portland on Sunday.
Nut hatches, chickadees, stellar jays zoom from tree branches to the feeder to the green ceramic bird bath hanging on the stunted pear tree. Organic beef and bean chili simmering since this morning in the crockpot. Flowers on the deck still blooming, The afternoon still sunny and warm and the night, coming more quickly, cooler, half days of light and night, it’s definitely autumn.
There were many more moments on this too-long trip than I can count that were grueling, nearly pushing me to the edge of tolerance. Some had to do with family and family relationships, others with the mean-spirited ugliness of visiting in a place that is definitely on more than a slippery slide down, down, down. And all this with the backdrop melodrama of the Katrina disaster in the Gulf Coast, the flooding in New Orleans, the abandonment of its citizens.
At least I’ve now had my fill of east coast pizza! And read five Kinky Friedman comic detective mysteries. But mostly being back there made me sad. It’s a world that’s in decline, with too-long waits at traffic light, too many people lured into debt for too-large SUVs and cars. There’s not enough silence, there are people who spend too much time meddling in one another’s business or watching the world go by on the screen of a T.V. The price of gasoline was a recurring, worrying topic. Home heating oil and natural gas also appeared on the radar as the bodies were recovered from nursing homes, hospitals, ramshackle shacks masquerading as houses in New Orlean’s 9th ward.
Overall, I could not wait to get back to Oregon. To get back to green and light rail and space and fewer people and people who care about the words sustainable and organic, a place where flowers grow ten months out of the year. So much early on in the trip became me–as so often happens when I go back to Pennsylvania, to home, ancient invocation of that word–putting my life, what I do, who I am on a kind of hold. By last weekend, in spite of the energy of the anti-war protest, I was ready to get on that plane and BE home.
So here, even with the changes of C.’s move and presence, remains better than anything there. Oregon has become home. It’s a good feeling to have this astonishing clarity around that.