One of my favorite places to be on a sunny day is in downtown Portland. I’m trapped for just a little while inside a Starbucks, due to a needed battery jolt for my laptop, but in about 41% charging I’ll be back outside where the sun is shining in a very non-PDX manner and the entire city seems to be wandering around. There is evening a Ben & Jerry’s truck giving away free ice cream. Welcome to summer ladies and gentlemen.
I think my love for this section of Portland is about the potential held in this space, the same way I find great peace at the altar of a church because of the sermons given there. At Pioneer Square, you spot tourists with luggage, musicians hoping for spare change, walking tours staring at the engraved bricks, reuniting friends, and did I mention the free ice cream? With Max lines running on all four sides, I imagine it’s just a little of what Times Square feels like with constant change, constant arrival, and constant movement onward. Sometimes there are festivals set up in the middle of the Square, with music blasting that you can hear from blocks away. I still remember sitting outside for a semi-religious gathering where I wondered at the music that seemed so hopeful yet wasn’t really saying anything real. Two miles away there is commotion taking place for the Blues Festival, but today there is just sunshine, wandering, and ice cream (too bad I’m not hungry).
This morning I ran through part of this same area. I was solo this morning and a bit bored with my normal loop, so instead I wandered to see if I could find part of the Portland Marathon course and the train station. I did have to get Siri’s help once, but otherwise enjoyed the process of getting lost and unlost again. With the river on one side and buildings on the other, as long as I didn’t mix up those two sides all would be well. = )
In the midst of all this potential, and free wi-fi, I’m taking advantage of the atmosphere of potential to consider some of my own future options. I took an hour to research doctoral programs before feeling a bit Ikea-overwhelmed (so many options but none are quite perfect). Next up was airline tickets. This January I’m headed to Maui for a few days to visit my grandparents. Last year I visited family in Chicago in hopes of reconnecting and finding snow; the first goal was achieved while the second ended up just a few pathetic plops in the shadows. So this time I’m hoping for a bit of winter tan, running by the ocean, and getting to see some of the flowers my grandfather has been taking pictures of for the past few years. I’m going for a lot of different reasons, including the fact that on Facebook I said that 31 would be the year of meaningful change. Time to embrace that declaration!