I don't usually sleep well. But when I do, like two nights ago (last night was a different story), I'm amazed at the seemingly boundless energy I have at my disposal. So yesterday, after a good night's sleep, I walked with Abe on an errand to the post office. It's only a few blocks away but is down a steep hill. Getting back meant either going back the same way (boooring...I've inherited my hiker-father's wanderlust) or getting up one of the public staircases in our neighborhood. I opted for the latter, pulling Abe in his jogging-stroller (not that I ever jog) up 117 steps. Yes, I counted. This was the view from about half-way up.
Experiencing a long walk on a sunny day in fall made me really think about how much I love Portland. For one thing, we actually have seasons here (as opposed to that other place we spend a fair amount of our time), and fall is gorgeous. Sure it rains a lot, but I don't mind that, as I always welcome the excuse to brew a pot of Barry's tea and bundle up in my orange sweater bought last year in Ireland. I sometimes even bake, like last night's chocolate-chip pumpkin muffins (I'm not a fan of baking, but I really wanted the smell of pumpkin in the house).
When we do have a sunny fall day, the streets of Portland look like this:
Unbelievable. All that rain makes everything so green and fresh. And Portland is full of old, classic, craftsman style houses, each one unique and often with whimsical touches that make taking long walks an exercise in discovery of why those "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers are so popular.
Case in point: On our walk home yesterday afternoon, I found this cat:
Yes, he's in a harness and a leash, tied to the front porch. Why would someone do that to a cat? Well, I've always thought that one can get the most accurate feel of a neighborhood by checking out the friendliness of its cats. Do they scamper away to hide under cars when you approach, or do they come at you for some lovin'? In Portland, the cats are so friendly that some have to be harnessed and leashed to keep them from following strangers home.
When your cats start acting like dogs, you know you're in a good city.