Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again . . .


Remember that age-old axiom, "you can't go home again"? Silly. Ridiculous. Absurd. Of course you can. I did. And it taught me something, too.

I was born in Portland, Oregon, during the halcyon days of spring in 196... Well, let's just say I'm an Oregonian and leave it at that. For me, growing up in the Pacific Northwest was a dream. Rain was my favorite season. (Let's face it, when the sun did make an appearance our joints creaked more than the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz.)

A few summers ago, our family took a road trip back to my hometown, and I was the human equivalent of that dog we've all seen. You know, the one with the canine grin who blissfully sticks its head out of the car window as the wind whips its face. So great was my joy at seeing the Columbia River Gorge, I felt tears gathering at the corners of my eyes—from unrestrained emotion, not the wind. We stopped at Multnomah Falls, took the kids on a short hike, and then drove into the city.

We had no more crossed the Willamette than an angry motorist flipped us the bird. That put a momentary damper on my nostalgia. The weather was also chillier than I remembered. I'm not kidding, the Portlanders at the zoo wore woolly Peruvian sweaters and thick socks under their Birkenstock sandals.

In August.

Yes, that's the month we, in Utah, call The Hot Time or The Big Heat. (Okay. Maybe I'm the only one in Utah who calls it that. But we all think it, right?)

The Oregon beach was absolutely gorgeous. However, I am not the daredevil I used to be. After trying to body surf with my older children, I realized I couldn't tolerate the water temperature as I did before. Honestly, this water was freezing. My children ran in and then away from it.

How cold was it, you ask? Cold enough that you'd prefer to go skinny dipping in the North Sea in January than test it with your toe, cold enough that you wouldn't be surprised to see a polar bear doing the back stroke in the nearest tidal pool, cold enough that even the migrating whales wear wet suits when they pass through those waters. Alright. Maybe I'm exaggerating. Slightly.

Obviously, everything changes. Portland and I both look different after all these years. Truth be told, I've discovered that I prefer warm weather since living in the desert. I will always be a Portland girl. But maybe, I'm also a Wasatch Front, Utah county girl as well.

Revisiting the past is worthwhile. It illuminates the present. It helps us realize how good things were and often, how much better they are now. Home is a relative term, after all. When we're with the people we love, our roots settle, and we're there. I'm home each time my husband and kids walk through the door.

And yet, a bit of my heart will always belong to that beautiful City Of Roses.

Can't go home again? Hah. The next thing you know, they'll be saying you can't change a leopard's spots. Silly. Ridiculous. Absurd.

Do you have any vacation plans for this summer?

8 comments:

  1. I live where I grew up so I'm still home I guess.... A weekend trip to Maryland is planned but nothing else yet. :O)

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  2. I visited Portland, OR last year. My little sister lives there, now. We're from Minnesota. It was beautiful. She brought us to the Rose Gardens. Do you look like a Rose Garden with a giant bookstore in your backyard? Then, hey, you're lookin' good, Mama!

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  3. Awww beautiful Roxy!!! What a lovely evocative post!! I love the thought that you will always have a bit of your heart forever entwined in the City of Roses!! Take care
    x

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  4. Robert and I just came back from Seaside, OR. It was beautiful and yes a little chilly. We had an amazing drive through Oregon along the Columbia River and we were mesmerized. We drove through Portland and the spent a day there at the temple during our week. A very memorable trip. Love this post!

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  5. I'm not far from where I grew up, so no need to go home. I'm already there! No vacation plans.

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  6. Good post Roxy, for all that I complain about wanting to leave and travel when I'm at home. I often find when I'm overseas that a certain pang for good ol' Sydney and Bondi come back to me. Everything just seems simpler at home.

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  7. Oregon is such a pretty place - I drove through the state when I was in high school, and STILL haven't forgotten how pretty.

    Have a great holiday weekend. :)

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  8. Can't go home again? Hah. The next thing you know, they'll be saying you can't change a leopard's spots. Silly. Ridiculous. Absurd.

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