March 20, 2010
Arabica and Bard Coffee, browse and buy reading and learning material at Longfellow Books and Rabelais, and buy thread and peruse new prints at Z Fabric. These local businesses are supported by people who care about their community as well as Portland Buy Local, which was formed a few years ago to more formally organize and continue to support the many fabulous local businesses around town.
I thrive living in a place where I travel by foot from the east to the west end in under an hour. When I worked on Exchange Street I rarely had to get in the car and would walk or pedal to work every day. In the past five years, I have spent so much time along these sidewalks. Striding purposefully, ambling along in the sun, searching for answers between every brick or just trying not to slip on the ice. I sometimes forget to really notice the historic brick buildings and the small details, a name, a pattern or element of design which is unique. When I really look around though, I always discover something new, a unique house or an unnoticed name and date on a building (like Walk Over Shoe on Congress Street), that I have never seen before. If I haven't walked around town in a while, I feel the need to reconnect with the sights, sounds, and tastes of the streets as my feet reconnect with the brick sidewalks.
the Pepper Club and the Green Elephant, chocolate truffles from Dean's Sweets and pastries from Standard Baking, pizza from Flatbread and Micucci's, italian food from Paciarino, mexican food from El Rayo, beer from Novare Res and lots of local breweries, and to visit delicious places in the west end like Caiola's and Aurora Provisions. There are so many other good places this list is just a start.
I don't know if it is possible to belong to a place. What ties me to it, or it to me? There are all the faces that I recognize and see over and over. Whether or not I know them beyond the surface, these faces are part of the mosaic of my life here. From time to time, someone asks me why I look so familiar. How do they know me? It could be from the Yoga Exchange, Maples, the community garden, or O'Naturals. But I tell them: we live in Portland, that's how. Its the small town phenomenon of this small city -- I see familiar faces everywhere. Beyond just familiar faces, there are the dear friends with whom I have shared so many experiences here.
First Friday Art Walk, the museums and galleries, creative people and projects happening everywhere. In the summer, the sweet salty smell of the harbor and Casco Bay permeates. Being close to the water, lighthouses, beaches and islands as well as a short drive from rivers, lakes and mountains. Good people who care about the place where they live. Obviously I am just one person out of 60,000 and these are my impressions and the things that come to mind first when I think about my life here.