It’s a comfortable night, with a twinge of breeze, and I started walking to enjoy it. And I kept walking…and I kept walking…and now I’m home, having gone over three miles total. I walked and read – I’m talented that way – the first volume of Anais Nin’s diaries. Milwaukie Ave., to the 9th Street Pedestrian Bridge over Powell, through industrial areas, and finally to the Eastbank Esplanade. Which I hadn’t been to in years, and which was on my mind, and now which I’ve walked along again.
The 100th Annual Portland Rose Festival is happening on the west bank of the Willamette, but from the Esplanade, only the loudest noises from the festivities were audible. Boat traffic and, when the boats were elsewhere, the lapping of small waves were the main noises, with occasional bicyclists chiming along as they shared the path. Above all of this was a messy checkerboard of small, splotchy cumulus clouds, catching the sunset colors; the sun was already well behind the West Hills that are the backdrop to downtown. Looking east, I could see thunderheads along the Cascades and other large clouds, also catching the night’s final sunlight. I sat down once to appreciate the view.
I did not linger when passing under the Morrison Bridge, however: I do not like that bridge. It’s a bridge where too many people have died – most recently this Monday, when a motorcyclist fell from a ramp above it. It is the equivalent of a freeway bridge right out of downtown, and scary for pedestrians (also, unfortunately, the victims of multiple fatal accidents on the bridge). It is not a human-scale, “friendly” bridge, the way the Hawthorne Bridge manages to be. So, not wanting to be near it for too long, I continued north on the Esplanade.
I got as far north as the Burnside Bridge, then returned to SE Grand and started south for home. I detoured slightly to go past Le Bistro Montage, near and almost under the east end of the Morrison Bridge and one of the few high-profile late-night eateries in Portland. Mainly I wanted to remind myself it was still there; I’ve only been there once, for a good group meal in spring 2001. I stopped walking, temporarily, just south of the Hawthorne Bridge, and I rested and read and waited for the #33 bus, which got me to within reasonable walking distance of home.
I have treated myself since then: grape juice, a shower, and ice cream. And taking time to write as I wind down from the day.