an ode to Eugene in autumn.

written in my journal, on 10.5.18; typed here with some additions.

I’m sitting in Townshend’s Tea Company in downtown Eugene. Outside, the rapidly changing leaves on the trees are waving about in the wind, and rain comes down intermittently. It’s finally October, finally autumn, and I relish every morning that I wake to clouds, to rain, to the cold and wet and color and mysticism of fall.

This season wakes something ancient in me.

Toeing the line between life and death, between past and future, inhabiting the numinous–it is here I remember my power, and my ancestors whisper in my bones, and the future sparks at my fingers. Mortality and immortality dance in my chest, yet I finally feel wholly calm. My soul has been parched. Now it drinks.

Speaking of drinks, I now have a mint-earl grey creme oatmilk latte in my hand, the smell comforting, the warm glass lovely and cozy in its simplicity. A warmed croissant sits beside it. Feeding my body like this, in a cafe on a rainy day, is and always has been a feast for my soul as well.

People tend to look at my oddly when I lament that I don’t much like summer here in central Oregon. In the summer heat, I miss my homeland of Alaska desperately: its rain, its lush summer damp, the hot-cold of the sun and wind as whales and otters cruise the mountainous, pebbled shoreline. In comparison, I feel ungrounded, anxious, and out of touch with my soul in Oregon’s dry heat. It’s only when the rains return that I feel once more that this is home as well.

And it is home, now, I suppose. When I allow myself moments of quiet, like right now, or at sunset or sunrise from a high point (the buttes, perhaps; or the top floor of a certain tall parking garage), I feel suddenly overcome by the depth of love I feel for this city, for its tree-soaked streets and story-filled buildings.

I was remembering, recently, that before we moved down here, Luna’s dad Mackenzie said to me, “Just watch, it’ll be like a second Maui for you” (referring to the deeply transformative two years I spent in the middle of the Pacific Ocean).

His prediction was a premonition, though I doubt he remembers saying it. I’ve experienced so much–some difficult, most wonderful. People have entered my life that drastically altered my perceptions of myself and the world in which I move. So many feelings have swirled in me, intricate and complex yet oh so simple. I would say that I am a different woman now, but I’m not: it’s more that I understand myself far better than I did in 2016. In fact, I’ve come to think most adults don’t truly change. We just become more whole. More wholly ourselves. More holy.

Two years in Maui had the same effect on me. If I’m honest, if I left Eugene now, after only two years, I would yearn for Eugene as much as I often yearn for that Pacific paradise. Like Hawaii, Eugene is a place that seems to inhabit the numinous, and it attracts those who yearn for such spaces of possibility. Between mountains and sea; between forest and desert; between revolutionary and conservative; Eugene is a place that pushes and pulls, that is never content being entirely one thing.

I do not think I’d love it so much if it wasn’t so indecisively itself.




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