Not Really the City.
2 August, 2011 § 1 Comment
So I’m on holiday for most of August, making the most of an opportunity to escape Houston’s worst heat and to reunite with people I love on both sides of the nation before moving into a new section of the inner city for another 11 months of full-time service and community development.
First destination on the “Get Rested” list? Northeast Oregon to visit family and soak in the sheer wonder of nature that pours over Multnomah Falls, scurries around the fallen petals in wildflower fields surrounding my parents’ new home and whispers in the pines lining the salty highway to the coast. I think the people around me are already getting tired of my exclamations — “The air! It’s so fresh!” and, “The house! It’s so quiet!” and, “The drivers! They are so polite!” — and it’s only been 24 hours.
I have to be honest, though, while I love exploring this breathtakingly beautiful corner of the country and wish I could bottle up the golden-green scent of Oregon summer (I swear I can distinguish traces of running water, moss and wheat in the air here) in order to take it back to Texas with me, I genuinely miss the sense of aliveness that comes from being in the heart of a city. The pulse of the neighborhood is muted to non-existent out here with giant spaces of front yard, curving cul-de-sac roads and tidy garages interrupting the usual overflow of daily interactions I’ve grown accustomed to — and the absence of a steady whooshing from the highway overhead is causing my insomnia to kick in. I guess Houston has entered my bloodstream more than I had realized and while I’m glad to escape its muggy heat, its cracked sidewalks and its non-stop traffic for several weeks, I’m also already anxious to return to its colorful afternoon rhythms, its communal vibrancy and its twanging accents. Who knew?
If we hope to succeed in the endeavor
of protecting natures other than our own,
it will require that we reimagine our lives…
it will require of many of us
a humanity we’ve not yet mustered,
and a grace we were not aware we desired
until we tasted it.
— barbara kingsolver, small wonder