it’s moments like this

my visits to portland during the last ten years have included a string of scheduled and sometimes rushed moments with friends in an effort to pack a lifetime into a weekend or two. but today i got to spend an hour with my godson just because i was here and available for just such moments. henrik and i took a heavenly hot late summer day and played in the fountain at jameson park. while there we ran into dana, one of my close friends from college, and her son milo. portland is just one big neighborhood and i’m thrilled to be back in the ‘hood.

the sounds of home

The first morning after I landed in Portland I found myself unable to sleep past 5:30 being that I was still on east coast time. So I put on my running shoes and drove up to the Fairmount loop. The sun was still underneath the horizon and trying to inch higher and higher with each passing moment. Time stands still on that hill just like it always did.

When I lived here ten years ago I used to jog that same loop in the early morning hours. And in many trips back Lee and I would walk around Fairmount and talk about as much as we could fit into 3 1/2 miles. So on this first morning back it seemed like a perfect way to say hello to Portland. Each curve of the road was different, some were newly sunlit and others were holding on to the damp doug fir forest smell… but my favorites were the ones that reverberated with the sounds of creeks flowing down the steep hillsides. In between I listened to music about home and thought about all the paths I’ve taken that lead me here….

Who Says You Can’t Go Home
I went as far as I could, I tried to find a new face, there isn’t one of these lines that I would erase. I left a million miles of memories on that road, and every step I take I know that I’m not alone. You take the home from the girl, but not the girl from her home. These are my streets, the only life I’ve ever known, who says you can’t go home. There’s only one place that call me one of their own. Just a hometown girl, born a rolling-stone, who says you can’t go home. Who says you can’t go back, been all around the world and that’s a matter of fact. There’s only one place left I want to go, who says you can’t go home.

Another summer day has come and gone away in Paris and Rome, but I wanna go home. Let me go home. Another aeroplane, another sunny place. I’m lucky I know, but I wanna go home. I’ve got to go home.

I’m going home, back to the place where I belong, and where your love has always been enough for me. I’m not running from. No, I think you got me all wrong. I don’t regret this life I chose for me. But these places and these faces are getting old so I’m going home.

Traveling at night, the headlights were bright, and we’d been up many an hour. And all through my brain came the refrain of home and its warming fire. Home sings me of sweet things. My life there has its own wings. Fly over the mountain though I’m standing still.

Celebrate Me Home
Please, celebrate me home. Play me one more song, that I’ll always remember. Whenever I find myself too all alone, I can make believe I’ve never gone. I never know where I belong. Sing me home.

the sounds of boston

As I taxied down the runway at Logan for the last time as a Boston resident I watched the sun rise over the harbor and listened to a few choice “Boston” songs.

Dirty Water
Down by the river. Down by the banks of the river Charles. That’s where you’ll find me along with lovers, fuggers and thieves. Well I love that dirty water! Oh, Boston, you’re my home!

Boston, you know we love you madly. Hear the crowd roar to your sound. Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you. You know we couldn’t live without you.

Sweet Caroline
Where it began, I can’t begin to know when, but then I know it’s growing strong. Oh, wasn’t the spring, and spring became the summer… who’d believe you’d come along. Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you. Oh, sweet Caroline. Good times never seem so good. I’ve been inclined to believe it never would.

Sweet Baby James
Now the first of december was covered with snow, and so was the turnpike from stockbridge to boston. Lord, the berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting with ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go.

She said I think I’ll go to Boston… I think I’ll start a new life, I think I’ll start it over, where no one knows my name, I’ll get out of California, I’m tired of the weather, I think I’ll get a lover and fly em out to Spain… I think I’ll go to Boston, I think that I’m just tired. I think I need a new town, to leave this all behind… I think I need a sunrise, I’m tired of the sunset….

as if i needed another sign

I filled my last day in Boston with all of my favorite things… following a little piece of advice from Julie Andrews of course!

Driving around the city in a Mini Cooper I ventured over to Harvard Square for a dreamy massage to relieve all the aches and pains of moving and lifting heavy boxes. That was followed by a last visit to my favorite accupuncture clinic (Plum Blossom) where I was able to say goodbye to Mark and Julie and thank them for literally transforming me. As Julie said as we hugged in the parking lot, “You’re a new woman!”

Then I decided to visit a few old haunts from the Brookline days… Starbucks in the Village (where Margaret and I first met and decided to be roomies and where i spent many mid-mornings getting coffee with Amy McDermott) and the nail salon near Coolidge Corner (where Karen and I spent many afternoons getting our nails done) to indulge in a little more pampering.

The “sign” appeared while I was sitting at Starbucks reading the news with a photo of the Alvord Desert on my desktop. I’ve been following NY Times writer Matt Gross’ frugal traveler column highlighting his 12-week cross country road trip.
The trip has come to an end and his final journey took him through the deserts of southeast Oregon where he visited Burns, Malheur County, and finally my favorite desert at the base of the Steens Mountains – the Alvord – where like me and many others before us he took a long soak in the hot springs.

I can’t believe that one day soon I’ll be able to stand in the middle of that beloved place once again and feel the utter remoteness of that landscape. It brought home that I’m a study in contrasts – I’m in love with the dense city and the open expanse of the remote desert, I’m in love with the east coast and the west, I’m in love with staying still and being on the move. And given this love of contrasts it looks like I’m in for a life of movement and pauses – propeling me to my favorite places and then enjoying them to their fullest when I’m there.

on the road again

the best way to follow a three-day trip to new york city is a long weekend along the massachusetts shore! we drove to the hoover house with finn the wonder dog and had three fabulous days to relax, play tennis, eat lobster, and sit on the beach! thanks to amy for hosting – it was a heavenly way to end my days in new england.

2007 US OPEN

Last year while walking around the grounds of the US Open I was interviewed and then quoted in the New York Times about the “it” bag I was carrying around. I wish I could say I knew how hip I was, but the truth is I had no idea I was toting such a coveted item. I still don’t know why it was so sought after since anyone who bought something at the Ralph Lauren store exited with one. But far be it from me to stand in the way of the opinion of the Style reporter for the Times….

I was quoted as saying, “It’s perfect because you can hang it off your back and leave your hands free to take photos or get an autograph from Rafael Nadal, not that I’ve been able to find him yet.” Due to the incessant rain delays in 2006 I never did see Nadal.

2007 was going to be so much different! Not only was the weather forecast divine – sun for each of the three days I had tickets – but Nadal would be playing matches on two of those days and hitting balls on the practice courts for all three. Plus I’d come up with the idea to get Nadal to sign a copy of the NY Times article. Seeing him play was the easy part, even though I had to sneak into Arthur Ashe to see his first and second round matches. When I observed how protected the players were I realized getting the autograph would be nearly impossible.

The only time I could hope to get Rafa’s signature was in the brief moment when he exited the practice courts. But of course nearly every teenager had already discovered this special spot and the area was usually several rows deep. This was no exception when about mid-afternoon on my second day at the Open I got a call from my scouts (Amy and Robin) who had spotted Nadal hitting balls with his coach, Uncle Toni. I dashed out of the match I was watching and scurried over to catch a glimpse of him and realized this was probably my only chance to get an autograph. However, the throngs of teenagers who’d been waiting for hours was huge and I didn’t think I had a chance in hell. But somehow the newspaper caught his eye and he scribbled his initials on it. The deed was done and I was still in shock when I peeled myself away from the mob. Thank god I never have to do that again!!

It was definitely a highlight to see him and so many others play tennis for three straight days. At times our seats were right alongside the courts so you could smile back as Bobby Reynolds celebrated a great shot or Mikhail Youzhny comisserated over a missed opportunity. Even though I loved watching Nadal compete on Ashe, the intimacy of the side court matches is unmatched. The quote of the tournament game from an 8 year-old spanish boy who cheered from the heart for Carlos Moya – Vamos Carlos! Vamos!

I can’t wait until next year!!

like a chicken with my head cut off

I spent my last full day in Boston running around town doing errands that took nearly twelve hours and forced me to get reaquainted with the town (well, towns) that I was leaving! I drove to every nook and cranny of my life in Boston these past five years – my office, my old ‘hood in Brookline, Fenway Park, and on and on and on. I went from Cambridge to Charlestown to Watertown to Boston to Brookline to Chestnut Hill to Somerville to Winchester. Whew! But I had to pause in Cambridge as the moon was rising over the Charles near the Harvard boat house and take this one last shot.

expressing experiences as a travel-passionate landscape historian and artist about place, spirit, history, dreams, and fears

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