I noticed in the first week of January, bloggers posting “Best of 2012”, or rather re-posting and excerpting from their 2012 posts. Instead of repurposing my posts from 2012, I’ve decided to share some of my previously unblogged journal entries.
Travel is not always long and complicated but may begin with putting on one’s shoes and jacket and walking out the door, into the street / neighborhood / town where one lives. Many people do this everyday. Nearly everyone, in fact. Alain de Botton (The Art Of Travel) writes:
“So on a clear March day, at around three in the afternoon, several weeks after my return home from Barbados, I set out on a de Maistrian journey around Hammersmith. It felt peculiar to be outside in the middle of the day with no particular destination in mind. . . .”
I notice that what de Botton does have in mind are previous journeys, his to Barbados, and the trek Xavier de Maistre made around his room (and wrote about) in 1794. Other journeys, or places, provide context when you set out on your own explorations. Having lived in Alaska over thirty years, I believed I was an expert on winter and having grown up east of the Cascades, I remember months of snow and ice.
January 10, 2012*
Like living in a desert, today, I put on my running shoes and climbed over the top of Overturf Butte, down Troon to Mount Washington, cut up Flagline from the west into newish neighborhoods strangely devoid of people where only a couple cars drove past me and the streets were wide with houses of the same vintage on either side, facing each other, in the stand-offish way of those not yet well-acquainted. The landscaping looked less than a decade old and the effect was of everything very planned, even the pale cement sidewalks with close-cropped lawn strips abutting the curb and street trees, tall graceful white-barked aspen, of course devoid of leaves in January, seeming presumptuous—so many neatly spaced trees too good to be true.
This is how it seems when you come from closer to the river, out of a conglomeration of sizes and ages of houses, yards with or without chickens, some streets with crumbling edges others neatly bound with curbs and sidewalks.
I found the Cascades trail crossed Flagline so was back on familiar ground. Sidewalks radiated heat (where the urban heat island begins) and the leafless aspen gave no respite from the sun beating down. Among houses. Along streets. Until I returned to the east side of the butte into the deep pines, into a cool chill where shade keeps the ground from thawing even on a sunny afternoon. Still I asked myself, what happened to winter?
Sources & Notes:
* The town, for anyone coming across this blog page first, is Bend, Oregon.
Alain de Botton. The Art Of Travel. Vintage Books (2004), p 243.