Leaving Portland: Last Go-Rounds

There’s been a lot of “lasts” lately. The last time seeing this friend and that. Last cooked meal in this kitchen. Last hike from my home in Portland.

They aren’t real lasts, of course. I’ll be back this summer, after all, just not as a resident, and not for terribly long. But knowing that it’s the last time you’ll do something brings a certain awareness and appreciation to it. You know how you look back at things, people and experiences in your life after they’re gone and wish you could relive them one more time? What if, the last time you did something, you knew it was the last time?

Well, I can tell you. You sit across the table from an old friend at your favorite old brunch place and think, “This, right here, this I’m going to miss.” You soak it all up, drink it in, maybe even take a moment to tell that person what they mean to you.

The last coffee at Stumptown. Last time driving over the Marquam Bridge, remembering when South Waterfront wasn’t there. Last Timbers home game as a Portland resident. Last time on my futon, watching my TV. Last time in my bed, looking up at my artwork.

Soon, it will be time to turn to firsts. First night without a fixed address. First night at the Wyoming AirBnB. First time buying an annual pass at a national park, because I plan to be there a lot.

Starting in six days, every time I go hiking, every view will be my first time seeing it. Every bend in the trail will reveal new country. Every person I speak to will be someone I’ve never met before. I’ll be breathing new air, exploring a new town, dreaming new dreams.

And sure, as an old expression I heard in recovery goes, no matter where I go, eventually my baggage will arrive. I’ll still be me, and the world will still be the world. But I think it will all seem new, and I hope more interesting and inspiring.

Meanwhile, it’s last round in Portland. Last walk through the neighborhood as a resident. Last Blue Star donuts. Last time making popcorn in that pot on that stove, and eating it on those back steps.

I guess that means the next bowl of popcorn will be the first, whenever and wherever I eat it. It will come from the new grocery store, be cooked in a new pot, and eaten on new back steps. Perhaps it will be looking at my first Wyoming sunset, with a completely new day headed my way in the morning.