January 16, 2007.
I was pleasantly surprised this morning by a phone call from the principal saying there was no school today. When I finally rolled out of bed and opened the curtains, I was greeted by fluffy snow falling on the blanket of white covering the ground below. Yes! Time for another round of urban exploration
It boggles my mind why the snow makes me feel so giddy. On beautiful, clear, sunny days I’m not nearly as motivated to go out walking through Portland. But the first thought that crossed my mind this morning was: I want to go outside! Although there was a mere 2-3 inches of snow on the ground, the roads were filled with lousy drivers and the driving conditions were awful. Unlike in New England, where roads are salted, sanded and plowed as soon as the first flake falls, the roads here were left completely untreated. Since I could easily walk to a volcano and a coffee shop I left my car keys at home.
I wandered through the Mt. Tabor neighborhood towards the big hill. Lots of people were out and about. Walking dogs, xc skiing, pulling sleds. It was a perfect little winter wonderland. Most of the crowds were heading in the general direction of the park. I was glad to see that most stuck to the road, so I veered off to the walking trail to make my way up.
I climbed all the way to the top of Mt. Tabor (535 ft.!) and got a cloudy view of Portland lying below. The air was filled with sounds of happy people, adults and children both thoroughly enjoying this rare event. I circled around the top of the park, to the statue of Harvey Scott (sculpted by the same guy who did Mt. Rushmore) and back down the trail.
Next I wound my way down to Hawthorne St. and, finding some coffee shops closed and others packed with people, ended up at Powell’s. I refueled with a large mocha for the road. On the slow, meandering walk back home, I smiled at the big trucks barreling down the streets with tire chains; cars peeling out on the packed, slippery snow; a hitchhiking snowboarder; people wearing all sorts of funny hats; and a lone biker pedaling his way down Belmont. I took my time admiring the unique architecture in these funky eastside neighborhoods. I’ve lived here for 6 months now but I rarely take the time to get a good look at what’s around me here.
Plowing through the fresh snow in the last few blocks before reaching my apartment, I felt really lucky to have had the day off. My mocha was almost gone, my face flushed red from the crisp air, camera filled with new photos of the ‘hood. Another experience collected. And isn’t that what life is all about?