personal landmarks

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I've been in Colorado for the past few days. Which means I'm all aflutter with feelings about going 'home'. Tonight I was driving back up into the mountains, on 285 South about to head into the canyon. In the mountains of the canyon, there is a huge lit up cross. I've been thinking a lot about personal landmarks lately, and so I got my camera ready to take a new picture of the cross. But it wasn't lit up. The mountains were dark. I wondered aloud why it was off and my brother said, "Why? Are you going to write a blog post about it? Like how home isn't home anymore. I can feel the bullshit coming. . . er, I can feel the 'meaningful words' coming." 

But it's true. The cross was always was a symbol of home for me as a kid. When I saw it as we drove towards home at night, I would know that we were almost there. This place hasn't been home for a few years, and every time I return I feel farther and farther away from it, my memories feel more diluted.

Still, even coming back to this house, with my fading memories, and the shell of my old lives, the cross has always been a comfort. I hope that it's not off for good, and that I can return to Colorado and see it in the dark, and know that I'm almost home. It will remain a personal landmark, the same way that a few other places in Portland have become. 


My Portland landmarks are mundane places and scenes I've been stuck looking at, day in and day out. At first they're quite ordinary, but over a while I realize how familiar and comforting these scenes have been. The few that come to mind are as follows:

The Ross Island Bridge sign from outside the apartment I shared with Molly on Grover St. I photographed it repeatedly, over the course of the two years I lived there, and only towards the end consciously realized that it was a personal landmark for me. 


The telephone wires on view at the 23rd and Burnside bus stop for the 20 going up to school. My last year at school was spent waiting at this bus stop, so I'll always feel a fondness for this particular telephone pole. (It's also just so strange and beautiful.)



And lastly, these three wires strung up outside mine and Steele's current apartment. By the time we moved into this place, I felt like I was collecting all of these landmarks. And I knew that there would be one from this place, as there always is. I just didn't know what it would be. I recently developed a few rolls of black and white film, and one of the frame is of these wires. I do find them quite beautiful,  have also photographed them repeatedly and just like the lighted cross in Colorado, they mean that I am home. 


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