Sunday, February 20, 2011

week-long days

It's a lovely Sunday in Portland, soft puffy white clouds hopefully keeping a little warmth down here on the ground. I haven't ventured outside yet, but it's the kind of day that I want to stretch out as long as I can, into the week-long days that Alice Walker writes about, "days of enormous trees and mellow suns" that she tells me still exist, "still beautiful, still mysterious, still with week-long days (if you turn off TV and radio for months on end), still profound." (Walker, Living by the Word)

I'm house/kitty sitting for my sister and brother-in-law. They have a small condo right in the middle of what people call an up&coming neighborhood, so there are cafes and little thrift stores in walking distance, as well as some kind of treatment / recovery center for women across the street. The women there take many, many smoke breaks on the corner, hard women who have had hard lives and weren't taught the emotional tools to cope, a real-world reminder beyond the world of the wine bar Kir, Le Pigeon and the 20something quasi-hipsters at the Doug Fir. Sometimes I'm wary of them. The women, and actually, when I think about it, the quasi-hipsters. But mostly the women, that they're looking at me and not understanding me, thinking I'm soft, privileged, judgmental. Maybe I am, and that's why they make me nervous. Their looks seem to be a constant "Fuck you," telling me to keep my distance, but my sister reminded me that non-violent communication would ask "what are they trying to say they need with their fuck-you looks?"

It's a Powell's books day - I'm reading a collection of short stories by Pam Houston, and want to go pick up another. She writes about horses and dogs and the prairies, and that's part of the reason I haven't left the house yet. I'm not quite ready to leave wide-open spaces to shuffle so close to others and their unspoken needs that I can't always read.

Courtney, originally uploaded by Elspeth and Evan.

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