A mile a day in May has been easier than I thought. It’s a mile. It’s a walk at night with the dog. It’s a jog around the block. It’s an intentional stroll through the airport. It’s exploration in a new city.
Last week brought me to Portland for the first time for work. You know when you feel like things unravel in a specific way because there’s a higher purpose in mind? Do you ever get that feeling? I was supposed to go to Portland last December for a work conference, but it didn’t happen. I sometimes wonder what my first impression would have been had that happened. I wouldn’t have been in the same place in life, had the experiences I have to date and hello, December?! Cold!
While I can’t speak for December Portland, May Portland kicked ass!
My parents moved out of Brooklyn to the suburbs of New Jersey before I was born to give us a better life than the one they had. My dad wanted us to have a backyard, to not worry about crime. And all I wanted growing up was to live in Brooklyn. To walk down the street to get fresh bread everyday. To fall asleep to the sounds of the city. Someday, I will do that. But it probably won’t be Brooklyn. Humidity and my hair just do not mix.
I try not to look at Timehop too much. Who needs to be reminded everyday of where you were last year, the year before that and so on. It goes against my whole goal of living in the present, but it sure is fun to look at. Was my hair really that color? What ever happened to that person I used to hang out with or that guy I dated? For some reason, I looked at it today and was remind that last year at this time, I took a day trip with my friend Marie to Montezuma’s Well.
Now, if you live in Phoenix and you’re like the rest of us who try to escape north any chance they get over the summer, you’ve passed the exit. Many of you may have been to Montezuma’s Castle (one exit beforehand) where you can see the ruins of the houses that the Sinagua Native American tribe built high into the side of a cliff.
Now, I’m not a Native American expert, but I did take Spanish in high school and college and I assume that Sinagua means without water? That’s my best guess…and this is a desert so…
The Well is a giant hole in the ground filled with water, surround by cliffs (which also hold the ruins of past dwellings) and the land is considered sacred, though I didn’t know that until I looked it up just now. What I can tell you, is that it is the most chill place I’ve ever been to.
A calm washed over me and I just felt like everything would be alright. My dog, Fosters (we’ll use her real name since her middle name is “poops”) was with us and I have never, in her ten years, seen her calmer than in this spot. I sat on a rock, overlooking the well and contemplating life. Fosters lay at my feet and I’m sure did the same, or maybe she was dreaming about giant bones made of peanut butter, but whatever it was, she chilled out. People walked by to pet her and she didn’t even jump up to great them. She just laid there and took it all in. I remember thinking how odd it was and even took video of her. But I understood how she felt. Like there was reason among all of the chaos. Like the wind flowed around you just to embrace you and tell you everything would be alright. Super hokey, I know! But you had to be there.
I felt a very similar feeling in Portland. Like the air was supporting me, telling me to have courage to do whatever the next thing in life is that I have to do. It made me want to write. It made me want to live in a loft and walk to yoga, to take Fosters to grab organic coffee. Who knows. Maybe someday, I will. It’s good to have dreams.
I walked around the Pearl District and into Powell’s Bookstore . It’s the largest independent bookstore in the country, says my Portland friend, and she should know, right? It felt good to be surrounded by that many books. It reminded me of a library. I don’t know when the last time was that I was in a library. Im sure I’ve been in one since working at the ASU library in college, but I can’t remember when. I also found a cute little change purse that had a girl floating away on a cloud that said “Bitches Get Stuff Done”. I went back the next day and purchased it. Duh.
One of the days I did my mile jogging in my friend’s neighborhood. So many flowers! I wanted to stop and take pictures, but I waited towards the end of my run. I’ve been doing Charity Miles every day during my mile a day. It’s an app that you can download and for every mile you do, money goes to a charity of your choice. Mostly I run for Autism Speaks, but there are a ton of places to pick from. I love the idea that my Mile A Day In May isn’t just for my own benefit.
I am replacing the flooring in my living room and main hallway, which means that I have to clean out the floor of the hall closet, because let’s be honest, it would look super tacky to have the closet a different flooring. I bought this house eleven years ago and today felt like a further catharsis. Photos of people who no longer have a place in my life. Things that no longer have a sentimental tie that must have been important at one time to have been in this closet in the first place.
Bags and bags of things, I tossed. Five garbage bags in all. Things from a past life that no longer bear any resemblance to who I am or what I consider important.
I went to walk my mile tonight with the dog, right around sunset since it’s getting warmer and warmer. We passed a man going through the trash, a very common occurrence in my neighborhood. Mostly they are looking for cans to cash in, but I’m sure there are people looking for food, or clothing. He had several things in a pile that I’d gotten rid of not six hours ago. Things I could have cared less about: an old toaster, posters, old blankets, a salad serving set that someone had given as a wedding gift. A giant twinge of “what are you doing with my things!?” washed over me. I watched him open the box the serving set was in and examine the silver spoon and fork that were intertwined with stones. I’d never used it.
I remembered that things are just that – things. I kept walking, hoping that whatever I’d given up today could maybe give some help, some joy, some peace tonight to someone else.
Montezuma’s Well. May 9, 2015: