From the Blog

New Old Familiar

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Today in Portland, it was one of the chilliest days yet this season. It was a deeper, stronger chill. This cold felt like the outskirts of winter. It was the first cold that was more than seeping or annoying or unpleasant. This chill had an edge. I needed to go for a quick walk today, and it gave me a little time to spend in this new chill.

I grew up about 200 miles south of this latitude, but on the east coast. It was a considerably colder climate than this. I remember it wasn’t winter until it hurt to breathe, and temperatures in the teens made your face hurt, and your fingers turned into ice and made them feel like they would shatter. I grew up with cold winters, but as I got older, the cold became less recreational and more grumpifying.

I think it was a snowy Boston day, and I stepped onto what I thought was a curb, but was actually a snowbank hiding a knee-deep puddle of wet slush. I decided that day that I was going move to the west coast. California. Southern California. With sun. And palm trees. And flowers. And green grass. And no snow. What a wretched traitor I was.

I lived in Southern California for almost seven years. It was longer than I needed to know, despite many fantastic qualities, I didn’t like it very much. Once the novelty of the nice weather wore off, the reality of the lifestyle settled in, and it never fit quite right. But it never got cold like home, and if I was a grump (which I was), it wasn’t because of the weather.

Today’s cold in Portland felt like home. It felt familiar. An old familiar. At the same time, it had the novelty of change. It was a reminder of movement. The wet puddles, the spits of rain, the sharp breeze, they felt new and sharp and awake. The city I live in still feels full of possibility, even after almost three years of living here. A chill in the breeze was the reminder.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I grew up in the midwest and we had real winters there! Snowbanks you couldn’t see past and temperatures that frequently dipped below zero. I’ve been living in the DC area for over 15 years and it still never feels like home… Except for those few times we get a foot or more of snow, and those mornings when the windchill helps the temperatures drop below freezing! Enjoy the weather!

  2. Ah, the slush puddles masquerading as cement. I live in Chicago and you never forget the first time that happens to you. I do love the cold though. It was 67 here yesterday and it just didn’t feel like Thanksgiving was upon us. Today it is 29 and despite the 30 degree+ swing, I’m in a great mood and officially in the holiday spirit! I love the crisp (& sunny) weather!

    I used to live in Seattle and loved the weather there, too. I guess I just love crappy weather, what can I say!

  3. love this time of the year. scarves and coats and gloves and mittens. boots. its awesome. i do not like it when my face stings. all i can think of is all the tiny capillaries expanding and contracting and bursting. but if i was ignorant of that effect, it would be all good! we might get snow tonight! supposed to be 23 degrees. yippee.

  4. This weather gives me an excuse to wear my Timbers scarf! Wooo!!!

  5. just visited old acquaintances. they have a Casita. small, shaped like a pill, made to your specifications. not sweet like an airstream, but more affordable and can be pulled with a v6.

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