DON’T ASK ME why I keep returning to Portland in my sleep. Yes, that one in Oregon where all the hipsters dwell. A different kind of people out there, or rahvas, the Asian influence for sure, but the base, the foundation, is proselytizing, starry eyed milk-white Northern Europeans, the radical cousins of the Utah Mormons, who long ago arrived wearing bonnets and beaver-skin hats and bearing soon-after discarded Bibles, wagon after wagon they arrived in droves and then turned the place into a sink pot of radical politics, rusty bridges, vegan bistros, and such. The Oregonians again, and there I am again, lost in the downtown, hands in my pockets strolling past tea houses and book shops. Hmm. And my parents came this time too, and are up a long driveway at some secluded home with her parents? Yet I don’t feel like taking a car back to the house, I would rather walk around, you know, get a good soak of the place, use my legs. I come out of the downtown and then suddenly there is wilderness all around, the ground barely visible for the ferns that crowd it, lush green, but also unfamiliar, maybe even dangerous. I see colors underfoot, but it turns out these are wild gourds growing in the underbrush, speckled in orange, black, and white, like poisonous snakes but tame. Finally, I arrive back to the neighborhood, built high on sand dunes, like the old writers’ cottages of the dunes outside of Provincetown, and there is even an ocean wind in the sand toying with the dunes. This is the neighborhood called Quito, I remember now. After the capital of Ecuador. And there’s the house. That old gray house. Time to go in.
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