|Love-in-a-Mist, May 2012|
This week, while running around downtown after work looking at pricey (for my budget), closet-sized apartments, I've been waxing a few drops nostalgic over the things about my current space I'll miss, mainly flora from the yard (though one of the many reasons I'm moving is to wriggle out of the contractual responsibility for yard maintenance, something in my opinion only trained, paid landscapers should do, not the average tenant who doesn't know a weed from a native plant). This top-floor flat is rather a nice spot during the few sunny months of summer—airy and open—but fairly miserable the rest of the year: cold, dark, and boxed-in (though much of that could also be said of the entirety of Portland and the whole west-of-the-Cascades region in this land of low-hanging clouds).
|unknown garden flower, May 2013|
|self-seeded orange nasturtium|
Being downtown on foot so much lately has also underlined just why I want to move across the river to the city center: errands without a car are quicker and easier—even in the rain—since everything's more densely sited: from my credit union to the Central library branch to Powell's (for last-minute gifts) to the TriMet office to grocery stores and pharmacies and stores upon stores, whether chained or local and independent.
|gleaned hot-pink wild sweet peas|
Moving out of inner Southeast to the west side of the river, I'll mainly be giving up a balcony and free flowers and berries. But this time, unlike the last, moving feels more sweet than bitter. So in the spirit of gratitude, here are a few things I will miss about living in this Brooklyn house:
- the hot-pink sweet peas picked for free all summer down the street under the SE 9th Avenue overpass
- the orange nasturtiums that reseeded themselves from last year
- the raspberry canes transplanted a few years ago as starts from friends—and free handfuls of fruit each June
- free strawberries, even if slug-holed
- a garden that blooms with something new (and often, to me, unknown) most of the year
- a balcony for informal meals on sunny days
- the garage as photo backdrop
- sunrise views
|June raspberries, Portland, Oregon|
|daylily, June 2013|
|unknown garden flower, April 2013|
|Portland sunrise, April 2013|
This, the last week of the school year, for two whole days instead of drilling kid-friendly sound-labels, sight words, and spelling (i.e., all the dusty dull stuff required for basic literacy), I sat in a green beanbag and read books to my students, modeling the kind of expressive reading I want one day for them, these children with severe reading difficulties, to achieve for themselves and their own kids. One of the books I pulled from the shelves was Eric Carle's House for Hermit Crab. Because the theme was relocation and the adventures that come with change, I settled in and read to a wild-haired first-grade student who, even after a year of intensive one-on-one work, still has trouble telling "b" and "d" apart. But really, I was reading the book for myself, just as on the bus I've been reading Wilkerson's Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, a history of the mass emigration of black southerners north in the 1900's to escape Jim Crow—both, stories of places outgrown and gambles that life could be better elsewhere.
How could I be leaving all these lovely flowers for a bigger rent check on a studio whose kitchen may be not only closet-sized (as at present) but possibly in a closet? (Such places exist, both vintage and new, such as the $800 "microloft" in the Pearl District touting a microwave but no stove—maybe because the Pearl has so many restaurants?) Well, remember I'm an introvert and we need privacy, even if it means less physical space. Or maybe I can blame it on my restless gene pool or that I was born an astrological crab, forever torn between the safety of the rocks and the wide-crashing sea.*
|Love-in-a-Mist, June 2013|
*No, I don't believe in astrology.