God may know the plan for me. But I'm not religious, so I don't go to church or ask to find out. I just wander through each day waiting to see what sort of crazy bolt of an idea pops into my head and then decide if it's wild enough to consider.
That's how I moved to New Zealand, backpacked SE Asia and ended up an unemployed, I mean on sabbatical, squatter at my little sister's house in Portland. It all seems like it was in the plan.
Just the other day, I was walking aimlessly around downtown Portland, mulling over options for the next step. The thought that the stress of attempting to plan and hike a section of the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail at this time are too great popped into my head. What if I skip it? For now at least? I can do it later. It felt nice. Calm. Peaceful. Freeing.
So now I have a little more time in Portland, to see friends, work on Carrie's house and fix up my old yard that's being cared for by renters. I can leisurely make my way to Nodak, and enjoy the scenery on the way, rather than rush along in the American way.
What is it about the States that makes us all feel like we must be productive all the time? We must hurry? We must be accountable?
Though I've been back only two weeks, I've been busy nearly every day. I could make a list of all the things I've done (and I sort of want to, me with my love of lists.). It's considerable. People ask me, "What have you done today?" with the expectation that I will provide them with an adequate answer. I've been asked how can I be unemployed, wandering and thinking and working on whatever project I deem needs to be done.
It's not hard. Ask a teacher who has the summers off. I'm sure they're not sitting around twiddling their thumbs thinking, "Woe is me. I'm so bored." No, I think not.
I'm having the time of my life doing whatever I want.
Somedays, it's just simply noticing that there are birds in Portland. Or seeing the layers of bluish clouds in the sky highlighting the greenness of the hills and the colors of the downtown bridges.
Visiting Portland is like visiting an old lover. I know why I was here for so long and why it was so hard to leave. I don't know if I'll ever move back, but forever Portland is me.