Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love the city of Portland, Oregon. But this trip — #5? #6? — was especially lovely. Of course much of that has to do w/ my son’s wedding :). And vacation always offers rose-coloured sunglasses to the tourist.

But Portland really is a special place. One night, walking home from a very long  and full day of wedding festivities, my husband and I stood at a street corner, trying to make our dying cell phones speak a few last words of GPS. A nice young man offered to give us a number to a cab company, stopping to help us figure out which way to go. A few moments later, as we walked down Broadway, another tall, tattooed & pierced young man shouted reassuringly (as he ran up on us and past), “I”m not stalking you — just in a hurry. I can’t wait to start laughing at the Comedy Club!” (just up ahead)

Portland is full of small stories like this — the waitress in the hotel restaurant who talked about her Maori necklace w/ me, the doorman at the wedding venue, the cab driver who told me about his young daughter. The woman on the bus who gave me two perfect roses (and this in the City of Roses) when I admired them. My beginner’s heart is wondering if I need to treat Oklahoma more like a vacation destination — trying to make time to listen more, let people offer up their stories. Perhaps there are as many nice people (although certainly not as many tattooed ones!) at home, as here in Portland.

But Portland still seems magic to me — stitched together w/ 10  bridges over the Willamette River alone, and countless other smaller ones here and there. Water and greenery are everywhere: parks peek from every street turn, and there are food carts readily available with that great Portland commodity — amazing food — to turn a working lunch into a picnic. You can walk out of class on a Saturday morning, smack dab into one of the country’s largest (and best) farmer’s markets. Yes, you also can spend beaucoup $$ for food (& micro-brewed rootbeer :)) in Portland, but you don’t HAVE to.

All of  this is by way of saying it’s not just my son’s wedding, or the cooler temps, or the fact that it was vacation. Portland really is its own reason for visiting :). Well, that and the best coffee in the universe…

Here’s to you, city of bridges and beer and public transport and tiny bakeries and classically trained street musicians and parks hidden behind a turn. Live long & prosper :).

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