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covered in moss & caught in the rain.

Looking up.

I am covered in moss. That is to say, moss is growing all over my body, and the moss is Portland and my body is my heart. That's called a metaphor, folks. It means that Portland is growing on me.

After a couple weeks of fatigue, general malaise, and bouts of homesickness, I'm feeling much more like myself. This Friday post-acupuncture, I could feel my energy getting more hummy and buzzy again. The excitement and Lust For Life without the steady, sometimes complementary, zap and drain of anxiety. The feeling prevailed the whole weekend, and now I'm sitting outside of Grand Central Bakery in Multnomah Village, just down the road from where I'm living. There are buttery croissant crumbs on my plate, and layers of dried latte lining the inside of my spent mug. It's a comfortable 61 degrees, with a sprinkling of rain in the forecast, but right now it's blue skies with dense, cotton candy clouds.

My battery hath been recharged. Hallelujah!

The practice of creating a new set of bouquets each week for my little altar has turned into a beautiful, grounding ritual. Each week, it seems, something new is in bloom.

And I've made some new friends along the way. On Tuesday, my good friend Caroline's pal Ethan met me for a walk up and down Mt. Tabor with his sweet diggy dog, Cosmo. As Cosmo bounded ahead after his splitting-at-the-seams tennis ball and ping ponged back to his person for another throw (and another and another), Ethan and I chatted about our current journeys in life, our pasts, and our maybe-futures. I got so high off of this in-person interaction with someone new and friendly and open to life, with similar interests and values. It filled me up. We settled on a grassy hill on the way down to watch the sun sink lower and lower over the city. Ethan split open a bag of snap peas and passed me a sparkling water. I sunk into contentment and inhaled warm, pollen-filled air, almost buttery. Cosmo grew progressively more fond of me every time I flung his ball down the hill.

The full Flower Moon, watching over the world while she sleeps.

I felt so energized after our hike that on my way back home, I stopped by Circuit and bouldered for an hour or so. Yeehaw! Litty.

Other exciting stuff that happened last week;

1) I'm getting better at yoga! I went to a Yoga Foundations class at Circuit on Thursday and noticed that I could hold moon pose for much longer than many of the other students around me. The full wall mirror in front of us meant I could see all the staggering and wilting of several of my peers, petals falling to the Earth in a breeze that I couldn't feel. Am I bragging? Perhaps. But I felt this strange surge of self-confidence and inner knowing in these moments, and that's mostly what I want to convey. Considering that I could hardly walk down the block without significant pain just a mere three years ago, I feel I have the right to at least some amount of pride. To regain the use and strength in one's body after years of constant cramping and shooting and zapping feels like being reborn.

Early May blooms.

*pauses to locate some toilet paper in the restroom to attempt to dam the flow of blood slowly seeping out of left nostril. Note to self; Google whether one should be concerned about bi-weekly bloody noses.*

2) I had some significant shifts in perspective, thinking about how to pursue writing and poetry in a way that makes sense for my lifestyle, my needs, and my purpose. Thank you Alex, Mom and Dad, and Diarra for helping me talk through it all <3

3) I made great progress on my book! I have now completed a very very rough first draft and am very very excited about this!

4) I decided that I'll be coming back to Ann Arbor mid-July! I am still unsure of whether or not I might want to stay in Portland longer term (I figured ~ 3 months was a good amount of time to wait for some Sign From The Universe about all this), but it felt like a fine time to come back to Michigan at least for a bit and spend time with all the family and friends I've been missing so dearly. Plus Michigan summers are kind of the best??? The most exciting part of all this is that my Dad's gonna fly out to Portland to spend a week or so with me in early July before we head back in the CRV cross-country style on our very own Daddy-Daughter road trip. I couldn't be more excited and grateful to get this opportunity for quality time with pops, and for our own kinda adventure across the country. Plus plus PLUS, trip planning is one of my absolute favorite things and gets me so juiced, so this weekend I had a blast starting to piece together a vague itinerary of Things To Do and Places To Go.

My Constant Companion. Good 'ol Scotty.

I already knew this weekend was gonna be good because of how the tides of my physical body had turned so drastically and with such positive momentum, but in addition to that I felt like the puzzle pieces of this journey really started fitting into place in really interesting and exciting ways. I met a whole host of new friends at Ethan's grill n' chill (brought homemade guac as a potential avenue into new friends' hearts) at him and his partner Shelby's place last weekend over a puzzle and chicken wings (one of the greatest ways to make new friends, in my opinion). I learned how to make a half-finished origami tyrannosaurus rex. I met some fellow boulderers, and am actively planning some gym time with them sometime soon. I went to my first Portland music venue (Turn! Turn! Turn! Yes, this is the name of the venue) and heard some super west coasty peanut butter and jams through $1 earbuds I bought at the bar (I'm really treating myself these days, not pinching pennies, ya know?) with said new friends. I drove home sing-yelling with the windows down, stars peeking in, belting along with Sierra Ferrell on the stereo. I made myself a mug of Rooibos tea and a bowl of ice cream at home, watched one episode of Charlotte (self-restraint is everything, friends), and fell asleep in absolute bliss. And hope. For the Future.

I'll buy you a donut if you can tell me what's happening in this video (spoiler alert; I have no idea so it's an easy donut).

Sunday, while I waited for bread to rise, I biked to Gabriel Park, poetry and sketch books in tow, and parked myself on the edge of the shadow of a beech tree bordering a grassy field. An anonymous couple in the middle of said field alternated between yoga, an unusual martial arts/dance/baton wielding activity I had never seen before (welcome to Portland), and puffs of their joint. I sniffed up as much sun-warmed polleny air as possible, and made my way back to the ranch to finish the bread and cook up a new quinoa and veggie-based recipe for meals this week.

I leaned into life.

Sue (my landlord, housemate, and new pal) and I schemed a trip to Seattle to attend this years' annual Folklife festival Memorial Day weekend.

I learned how to play Farkle and won.

I helped Sue get Bo up to her self-made bunk bed in her sunroom so that they could camp there together.

I drew and painted late into the night and fell asleep.

It's raining hard now as I wrap up this post, and I look forward to a refreshing walk back home through the lushness.

Talk soon friends. My quinoa beckons and my belly rumbles. I must answer the calls.

xoxo grace

Reverse-peed my pants on my way back home.

*sprints home in the now-pouring rain across rapidly-pooling water and through flashing lightning and cracking thunder because the steady pour became a full-blown spring storm within a quarter of an hour and I appear hunchbacked because I have buttoned my high-end rain poncho (i.e. it has one real pocket and one fake one) over my backpack and myself in an effort to save the electronics buried within. I am laughing. I am a child again. I splish splash through the eddies with white dancing shoes back home until I realize I am already home.*

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