Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 350

i feel there needs to be mention of this morning's church and second consecutive afternoon feast cookout. this time a new group of friends gathered at the gohricks and ken somehow managed to produce another batch of gourmet speciality, oven stone pizzas. the sun was out and the low lawn held cut lines and a green smell and there were hammocks and talking and chilling. dozens of fishing boats bobbed in the backyard lake in celebration of opening season.

over lunch i met a musician who'd impressed me this morning at church and he told me about his professional career in various symphonies and bands around the states. his shiny, round forehead and long white beard and laugh were as jolly as santa. i guess mostly just his personality would have been jolly, but he told me stories about music and traveling and then said that when he reached the age of thirty or so he started to get tired of the moving around and constant uprooting of the adventurous life. he told me to enjoy it while i can. and i am.

i'm especially excited right now because i'm sitting in portland, oregon, at a coffee shop often cited by writer don miller as one of his favorite places to write his books. and i can see why. the place is big but not wide and single sections of tables and chairs border the windows. there are dozens of college students hunched with computers in the dim, yellow light and i'm really just happy to be here. i don't even think i'll be able to read my book here tonight. can't concentrate.

parker's house is only a five minute walk from this place but i think i got here in four. a full moon is cloaked in mist above downtown and patches of sky and moonlight hang a heavy blue between the branches of trees on these neighborhood sidewalks and streets. the air is warm and smells like flowers; i think tulips are popular here. several flashing cyclers whizz past on the asphalt and through shadows and past parked cars.

parker is experiencing his own community and renting experience, maybe somewhat like my fernie, and he's invited me to stay for a bit. the guys he lives with all seem cool so far and most of us had hung out over the weekend while riding bikes and going to the concert in seattle.

it's ten p.m. and palio doesn't close for another hour. i'm so stoked to be here right now. just over a year ago i'd bought a discounted road atlas from a borders bookstore in illinois and had reviewed and explored what highways would bring me from rockford to portland. i'd spent weeks looking for rooms for rent in the shared houses section on craigslist. i'd even talked to the manager at my sporting goods store and he said that a transfer to the new portland store could definitely happen. that was back in march 2008 and still it somehow didn't make sense then.

and i'm not saying that just because i'm here right now that an omnipotent understanding has suddenly arrived. to be honest, i've stopped looking back on the past 350 days as a lump sum and have grown to value each step and day and relationship and risk and success and failure and opportunity.

so tonight from edge of 16th and next to the massive roundabout circle outside the window i want to tell you that i'm stoked to be here for the next month. my new musician friend up north had asked me what i would do if i could do anything for the rest of my life. i told him i'd play music and write non-fiction books and do photography in whatever ministry or cause would be appropriate.

so here i am in portland for the next few weeks. then there's a reunion with some fernie and montana friends at the sasquatch music festival in eastern washington. and then to illinois.

and by then who knows what will have happened.

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