Friday, April 3, 2009

Home -- 70 Days In


3-27-2009
Just South of Division Ave.
Portland, OR

Home a week.

I’ve slept for most of it.

And I’ve walked. Home again to the neighborhoods, to the stretches of bank on both the east and west sides of the Willamette River, and to the downtown streets – careful, clean and bustling. Aaaaahhhh. Portland, Oregon. Home sweet home, indeed.

Right there with me in my walks and in my sleeping dreams are the echoes of American highways, American landscapes, and American voices.

Out from summers across the 1980’s comes a memory of the nights that would follow a full day of sailing in a tiny SunFish on the wide and shallow waters of Lake Texoma – aptly named following its excavation at the border of TX and OK as part of the WPA in 1938. After a day of tacking and jibing atop 89,000 acres of Red River waters held captive by the Denison Dam, my body and mind would continue to sail in my sleep and through the next day. It’s the sea-legs, land-legs thing. The experience is a perfect metaphor for my past week.

In the company of memories, old and new, I took a short trip north to Seattle. Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is 10 degrees cooler than usual for early spring. Snowflakes have been dancing between raindrops, maintaining the crystalline white regalia of Mt. Ranier to the east and the Olympic Range to the west. I spoke with a few bundled Seattleites about Change. In their words I heard sustained energy and optimism, but also a re-emergence of what may be fatigue and may be fear.

Back in Portland, a conversation with a social services administrator began with words like uncertainty and holding pattern. This administrator, Mohammad, is a man who was raised Palestinian in Jerusalem. He immigrated in his early 20’s and is now a U.S. citizen of well more than a decade. Using his clinical and management skills he supports services to populations who benefit least from public enterprise. Most directly, he supports professionals who provide these services. “People are tired and fearful,” Mohammad said. “Our patience is being tested, and now is a time when patience for change is most necessary.”

One hundred days cover a lot of time. Enough time for Change to take on new meanings.

Marking time from the Inauguration of our new President, there’s a month of days left in these first 100. In that time it is likely we will have more to tell ourselves. Our sense of the content and possibilities of Change – our forecast for the endurance, creativity and conscious action that together and one-by-one we are ready to put toward its realization.

The rumble of the road and the vitality of the people and conversations along the way stay with me. They are becoming fundamental to the way I am making sense of this time – the way I am answering for myself the questions I’ve been asking. Like Nick said way back on January 29, “It’s Ex + Change and it equals exchanging points of view. It’s communicating and doing.”

He’s still right. This is our opportunity and it is our responsibility – together and one-by-one.

2 comments:

  1. Hello Mary Clare,

    I absolutely love that you gave yourself this experience! Something to truly build on, with and for, for a lifetime!

    Thank-you for it being a project that includes us all, and thereby provides this beautiful outlet from which to connect with one another, "all over this land!"

    Blessings!

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