Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Preface to A Sign

It was really about eleven months ago. But the flora of Portland seems to be on a schedule that is a month ahead of New Jersey's, so this event feels like it happened a year ago.

It was at the Community Garden. I was at work. Something I've realized since being out here, where I am happy, is how much I miss the rare things that made me happy when I was in my last NJ town, where I was unhappy. It is because those things that could make me happy, in the midst of dissatisfaction (at best; at worst, misery) were special. They seemed sweeter than anything; they were hard to leave. They were fantastic, almost magical, with a hold on me that would make me forget the way things were. I would lose perspective. I'd be afraid to leave or lose these few special things and wonder if the rest of my life--the bad parts--could be adjusted or ignored. Many of these things were physical or natural; alive, but not people. Things that could-let's face it!-not love me back. Such as a dawn redwood growing by a pond. I'd track its yearly cycle of foliage - from chartreuse stubs, to velvety soft dark needles, to glowing bronze, to skeletal winter limbs - but it didn't care for me.

It is these things I sometimes miss. I feel the longing sharply, suddenly, and irrationally.

I feel it when I hear a certain song-usually something by Modest Mouse or Belle and Sebastian-or when I see certain colors. The neon green of oak flowers glowing in the sun; the more dull red of maple blossoms. Pink and white magnolias. Especially when I'm in my car.

I feel it when I catch a glimpse of Mount Hood over the highway and housetops. When I realize I've missed the peak bloom of some flowering tree and think, "I'll see it next year." I feel this sharp sadness when I reflexively know that I've found my place here; that chances are, I will be here next year. I will see the four seasons of Portland again...and again.

This opening paragraph to the post I meant to write, "A Sign," got long. So this is the preface. "A Sign" will be written later. Good night!


Anonymous said...

This is gorgeous. I will catch photos of Maine, specific parts of Portland, and feel the same abrupt absence.

Sarah said...

Thanks! This nice comment made my day!