Getting There (or here - depending on your point of view):
It's always interesting arriving at O'Hare and going off to look for the connection to Portland. There you are among crowds of people heading off to all sorts of exotic, perhaps even sophisticated destinations - New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, Prague, Reykjavik,Vienna, Berlin, Beijing,Tokyo - perhaps even Lhasa via Delhi. Everyone tends to dress for their destination. Walking along the broad concourses of the alphabet terminals, maybe even getting to ride the underground people mover looking at the neon light show while listening to Brian Eno's 'Music For Airports', you can imagine being free to go anywhere. Where's the gate to the past you may wonder but I think it's not there to be found. Having stopped at a bathroom where the seat wrapping revolves to a fresh section the minute you finish peeing, buying some candy, rejecting the souvenir Cubs cap, buying a sandwich packaged to go, it's time to get serious about finding the gate that matches your ticket.
Without even checking your boarding pass you know you've arrived at the right place the minute you see all the backpacks with people slumping under the weight. For some reason backpacks, running shoes, baseball caps and birkenstocks are the fashion items of choice for those returning to Oregon. Sigh.. It's a nice city, perhaps even the most Canadian city in the US, but it's a little boring.
Lost Causes (or civic beautification):
We have this great driveway to our place up behind the university hospitals and heading back and forth from shopping trips and various adventures we've seen some strange things. Among the strangest has been observing the fruitless activity of a group calling themselves 'The Friends of Terwilliger' (a wide street that runs below the crest but still about 400 feet above downtown Portland). For some background, I should mention that Forest Park is (perhaps) the largest city park in the country and part of the reason for that is that it's mostly mountainous and largely inacccesible to developers.. although there are some huge houses built mostly on stilts overlooking the city. The 'Friends' have it in mind to remove the English ivy from the park so native plants can return. Now anyone familiar with this kind of ivy will understand that once it gains a little bit of land it will grow forever and wherever it wants. It even grows up trees, for crying out loud. So there you have these hosers spending their weekends pulling the shit up and stuffing it in sacks. We wonder if they're searching for the 'Boss Ivy', the singular plant that when defeated, all the rest will wither and die.. 'Yo, Fred! You'll never guess what I found behind that bush! Bring the magic sword!'
Do Gooders (or please go away):
A few years ago there was a story in the local news about a man who'd been living in Forest Park with his young daughter for the previous 5 years. He actually had a job and the child was in grade school (since he could afford a post office box in a good neighbourhood). He just couldn't afford a house or apartment so opted for a nice little isolated cave and regular trips for books and food. He had a little generator for lights and music and there was a fresh stream nearby.
All was well until somebody got curious and followed him home one day. Then the police came and the social workers took the little girl away to foster care and I've been wondering every now and then what happened to them since?
Great Views (and fascinating company):
One Saturday morning on our way grocery shopping we noticed that someone had set up a rose-bedecked bower in a part of the park that overlooks the city with Mt. Hood in the background. Not everyone can afford the cost of today's scenic countryclub weddings and the young couple had made a nice choice for the event as well as the pictures. But the ceremony wasn't yet and seated on a bench nearby was a gentleman who'd obviously spent the night tucked away out of sight.
I never have a camera close when I see the things that leave the most enduring images in my mind. There are things a camera simply can't capture because they grab everything and doing so, miss the essence. I have a title for this picture never taken and it's: If I build it, will she come?