Friday, July 25, 2008

Farewell, Portland

The rugs are up, the pictures are down. Bare floors and walls give an echo to every heavy box thud and pull of the packing tape roll. There’s no doubt about it anymore…it’s time to go.

My earliest impressions of Portland were negative. It was a stopover, a place to grab a coffee or perhaps some dried mango and move on. Each time, I came in via the seedy section of Congress Street, turning up my nose at Maine’s “biggest” city.

You could almost call it fate. Other options having failed, Portland was a choice more of resignation than inspiration. And yet, it didn’t take long for the city to open itself to me, revealing treasures that only local eyes could see.

What will I miss about Portland?

That fishy smell that greets me as I step out the door? Yes.
The lovely manicured lawn outside my workspace window? Yes.
The skyline, spiked with church steeples? Yes.
The fine variety of eating establishments, some say the most per capita of any U.S. city? Yes.
Evening walks through the Old Port. Yes.
Those damned cobblestone streets? Sure.
The flocks of seagulls, yelping into the night? Probably, but not for a while.
The tourists on Commercial Street? Well…
My daily morning bun from Standard Baking Co.? Hell yes!

Nine and a half months. That’s all it was. But I’m happy to count Portland among the cities I’ve lived in and to which one day I could return.

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