Friday, May 22, 2009

A Moment for Mouse House

Sunday Mornings on Mouse House Porch

Can I tear up a little? Tonight is the last night I'll spend in the little house on Belmont that I've lived in for the last four years, which has come to be known as Mouse House (the temporary mouse problem was solved, but the name stuck). When I first saw Mouse House in March 4 years ago, I had moved from Washington, D.C. and was living with my parents temporarily. My sister had graduated from college, and the next day we took a road trip from Spokane, WA to Portland, OR. Knowing nothing of Portland, or Oregon, I found the address, the cross streets, and the house without too much difficulty. Kristy was sitting on a stool on the porch without her shoes on (no porch-couch at this point) reading a thick book, and I thought, this will do for a few months.

Four years later, I'm leaving. I've endured some great roommates, some miserable roommates, and some roommates who I thought I didn't know at all, but when they left their absence was felt like a missing favorite picture on the wall. I grew a garden, which grows thick in the backyard under the tallest pine in the neighborhood. I know which stair is randomly short, so I fall down it less. I know how to be quiet like a ghost in the morning, and how to slam the door so the house feels like it's about to fold in on itself.

I'll miss Movie Madness across the street, Belmont Station with its 1,000 beer choices, being within walking distance of Powell's on Hawthorne, Zupan's for its overpriced but magnificent produce, walking up to Mt. Tabor and its reservoirs (the only metro volcano in the country), Laurelhurst Park, despite the creepy woman whose death in the pond last summer was never explained...Red Square cafe where I got my coffee each morning before catching the bus. The #15 bus line. The way the kitchen is warm and sunny in the morning, even when it's rain and clouds. I'll miss you all.

I'm happily moving on. It's time. But if college equals my formative educational years, 4 years of Mouse House equals my formative, practical grown-up years. Here, I learned to cook with passion. I wrote with passion. I learned to not make excuses for doing what I loved. I learned to ditch the D.C. mentality of anxious, narrow-minded ambition. I came a few painful inches closer to my authentic self. In a falling apart old house sharing my life with a rotating group of semi-strangers. I honed me. And for that, Mouse House, a tear.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Time to Fly the earth he carries his atmosphere with him...
Letter from Robert Lowell to Elizabeth Bishop, 1956