26 August 2009

Portland, Oregon: The City of Roses

Here in Portland, Oregon, chickens are all the rage. They roost in folks' backyards; the cocks are slaughtered while the hens plop out eggs. Those who raise chickens bike to work with their tattooed calves on display. Folks compost here, and wait for the “walk” sign before crossing.

Portland works!

And there is Sauvie Island, where kind neighbors come upon you while you sunbathe on a tattered dock. “Feel like wave-boarding?” they ask. I have no idea what wave-boarding is, but I know it involves a boat. I nudge my friend, “Yes! Yes!” but he vacillates. When he comes to his senses, off we go, wave-boarding down the Williamette. He is jumping wake, then releasing the rope, easing back into an artful, bobbing repose. I raise the orange flag. Later, there is a garden with tomatoes that are ready to go, and a tree of need-to-be-picked plums. I feel a little like Eve might've, pre-Original Sin.

Portland is full of surprises. Like my dear friend #470 who conquered his first Olympic Distance Triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run), killin' it in 2:47. I sat on the sidelines, watching the wives and the husbands and the parents and the grandparents and the children cheering on their own beloved athletes. I got teary-eyed thinking of me and him, me and 470, those fucked nights in New York City, the Sahara with its ceremonial burial. I never in my life wanted so badly to yell out to someone, “I love yooooooou!” -- to shout it. So I did. “I love yoooooooooou!” I screamed as he cycled past, a blur out of earshot.

Love is like that, I guess. Sometimes difficult to detect; impossible to contain.


kelley said...

Okay, not that you were asking....but there was this great thing on NPR (maybe on "tell me more" or on "the world" which is actually PRI) about people in urban areas raising chickens for all sorts of different reasons. It was completely fascinating and supports your idea of "portland works".

It makes soooo much sense and I am shamed that I excoriated my husband several years ago for saying that he wanted to have some chickens in our small-town, urban-area, gentrified garden. "oh Kelley, ye of little faith."

Hope you are well and having a great time. I love reading your work!

Sarah said...

So happy you're enjoying the blog, Kelley! Although I gotta say...I'm kinda with ye of little faith. I mean, I *know* raising your own chickens "works", but really? a bunch-a stinky chickens in the yard? I mean, doesn't communinism make sense, too? I need to check out that NPR segment in order to be totally won over. Thanks for recommending!