Rain is tapping against the window of the bedroom I'm borrowing from my eighth-grade nephew. While I've visited Portland, Oregon a couple times in the past, I've never spent an appreciable amount of time exploring the city and its surroundings as an adult; in the past I've only passed through with my family on the way to the coast, or Seattle. The majority of my current visit consisted of a relaxing week with my parents in Moscow, Idaho, but for the last two days I've had the opportunity to get a feel for downtown Portland, Oregon: its books, its coffee, and its excellent Chinese food.
Since I grew up in Albuquerque, which gets three hundred days of sunshine a year, I never had the overexposure-driven aversion to rain that many northerners do. So, while I'm a northerner by genetics and, realistically, by mindset, I happen to love the rain, and perceive it as a moody, depth-enhancing treat. Living in Austin, I don't have to have this mindset shattered by overexposure, particularly during abnormally dry years like this past one.
It's been raining nonstop since I arrived in Portland from Moscow, and today I went on a hike that may be the best I've ever experienced. Multnomah Falls, which lies not too far east of Portland, may be the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The dense ferns and moss decorating the massive trees amongst a series of impressive rapid rivers and waterfalls make for an endlessly inspiring series of views. The whole place is staggeringly beautiful, and I can understand why writers and artists have, over the years, traveled or moved to this part of the world for inspiration: the penetrating beauty of this place makes me want to create. I'm hoping to bring this energy home with me and use it to start some new pieces, for Progress or otherwise. Regardless, this trip has been an irreplaceable experience, and I'm already looking forward to my return to the Northwest.