3500 steps: A travelogue

It was spring and time to go home. I walked roads I had never taken to get to a place I had been many times before. One road led me to a tunnel; I didn’t really know what was on the other side, but had an idea. Even if I was wrong, it looked beautiful there, and the tunnel felt safe, with its graffiti and darkness . I came out the other side, slightly confused.

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Familiar/unfamiliar territory. Gigantic trees. Children playing in a park I didn’t recognize. Street names weren’t familiar. In the near distance, I saw downtown and made my way toward it.

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I crossed the freeway, rush-hour cars honking below, moving with purpose. Mt. Hood in the distance; a clear day in February is rare and cherished.

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Mt. Hood and Tillikum Bridge. Not too bad for a rush hour view.

I arrive at familiar territory; Portland starts to look like a city. There’s street art, food carts, and semi-tall buildings. I see an old friend, and we embrace; she has no idea what’s going on in my life, and I don’t know hers: social networking can only fill you in so much. A few hundred steps later, and I see a protest march across my path: “We work, we sweat, for fifteen dollar checks.” Graduate students demanding pay, possibly recognition: I wonder if they’ll get either. They make their way to our mutual destination, and march up the same steps that I planned to use. I sit back. Boos as the door is barred, as the marchers are met by police, not the university president.

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I know the building well and use the back entrance, underneath the building, hidden from the sun.  I see another friend,  and get my second hug of the day. This time, sorrow is expressed for my loss. I run my errands, and take the bus home to another completely different part of the city, this one more familiar.

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