Fall semester has begun. I’ve been to the first two of the three classes I am registered for this term. That I am in art school at all is an amazing thing. Often I question the reality of my life right now. It’s pretty good. In fact if I really stop and give it more than a moment’s reflection, it’s actually pretty great.
Yesterday I found myself wandering through the Park Blocks headed to the Art Museum to purchase my student pass. I have fallen in love in Portland. Perhaps that’s evident in my previous posts. I wax on about my love of my neighborhood ad nauseam. I know. But the truth is I do love Portland and I often feel as if I am in the first stages of a romance. All that is good is especially good…all that is quirky and weird is endearing.
My trip to the museum was cut short as I forgot it was Monday and the museum isn’t open on Mondays. The news didn’t spoil my trip though. I was one of many wandering those city blocks yesterdays. The park benches were full. Dogs were being walked; musicians played for everyone who passed; an old man smoke a pipe. It was a vibrant city, my city.
I have lived in Oregon for 16 years now, but only in the city for the last three. It takes time to know a place, I have said this before, have lived it more. Last year I thought about leaving, moving up to Bellingham to be close to family. But the past year has brought me something I can’t describe. I feel home here. Feel it despite the fact I am alone. Feel it even as my children have left, gone off to college to new lives of their own making. Perhaps that is it. I am living a life of my own making. No longer is the pull of another or the gravity of societal expectation. No pull. Just living.
A friend of mine told me a story of his life after his divorce a few years ago. He was ordering a sandwich and was able to choose the ingredients of it without any influence from outside of himself. He piled the sandwich with everything he wanted, as simple as that. And then he marveled at how wonderful that was. I get it. I marvel too, constantly, at the discovery of who I am, alone.