By all rights I should be unconscious... I had a night of four hours of sleep followed by a night of no sleep and an eternity of hauling heavy boxes down flights of stairs. When I got to the airport for my flight to Los Angeles I was more living dead than lively. But it seems a fifteen minute nap at the gate–serenaded by Pachelbel's Canon in D picked out on a red Gibson, accompanied by a chorus of ululating adolescent murmurings in Thai and dreams of an American Disneyland vacation–was enough to revive me, at least for a few hours.
I got a left window seat, which was brilliant; my favorite Oregon places were laid out like a map before my eyes. As the plane climbed the air layers I was given a sweeping view of the entirety of Portland in all its cheerful glory, towers and bridges and hills, forested parks and two great rivers. I caught the very edge of Sauvie Island as the airplane completed its spiral and swept southwards.
As we rose through the clouds, so did the great Cascadian volcanoes: Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, and beloved Mt. Hood, snowy slopes glistening in the midday sun. Hood's bulk was changing the weather in the Hood River Valley, holding back the marching clouds, and the white was so pure I could see the specks of Timberline Lodge and the ski slopes against it. I looked down on the Cascades, and the snow highlighted ribbons of highway and quilted forest, a patchwork of firs where the logging trucks had and hadn't been. Mt. Jefferson passed directly below me, and I looked down on its bold ridgelines, and the round mouths of
I followed the lines of the highways as they left the snowy passes and slid down into Central Oregon's high desert, and I retraced the roads taken by shichahn, look_alive, and myself, intrepid explorers, only the weekend before. The town of Bend, Central Oregon's hub, clinging tightly to its winding riverbanks, and Highway 20 forging off across the lava plain towards Millican, disappearing as we had into Horse Ridge. 97 driving south, and a flashback to an adventure months old; only this time Paulina Lake was partially frozen over and framed in snow, Paulina Peak overlooking the great masses of the obsidian flows, stark white where before they'd been in grayscale. Further south and it was last weekend again: Big Hole and Hole-In-The-Ground more visible from the air, the intertwining shapes of the four-by-four tracks we'd followed exactly as I remember them from shichahn's road atlas, dun-colored lines and arcs cutting through Jeffrey pines, and I could almost smell the vanilla rising heady from pine bark. And there was Fort Rock, jutting up from the flat ground like the worn-down crown of the last molar in old Oregon's gum. The towns of Fort Rock and Christmas Valley, and beyond, the hills where Crack In The Ground would be if I could see it. Flat Top, the marshy smudge of Silver Lake, and finally the breathtaking expanse of Summer Lake and the snowcapped bluffs seen from the perspective from which they'd seen us. I could see where Paisley would be, as far south as I've been in the state east of Oregon's Cascades, and beyond that Lake Albert and more snowy bluffs and more lakes....
Ye GODS but Oregon is a gorgeous piece of dirt. I'm really going to miss that place.
...So that brings to a close the Portland, Oregon, chapter of Angela's life. After that the scenery became less recognizable, and I glanced out only occasionally to catch glimpses of California's sprawling farmlands and rugged peaks. As we approached our destination the earth crumpled into smooth wrinkles which became mountains patterned in bold colors and crazy angles, striped with the strata of the prehistoric seabed. A crescent of white gold sand came into view, and a slice of blue blue ocean, marred only by the black, splotchy canopies of the kelp forests. Malibu Beach and rich mansions in the hills, and I gazed down at the canyons and wondered which one was Topanga, remembered the box in my room of shells-turned-stone I had disinterred from its fossilized cliffs.
We looked down at the sprawling City of Angels, the city of concrete and asphalt and swimming pools and sun tans, and already I missed my City of Roses, my city of trees. Nor did the angels seem pleased to see us; the turbulence we experienced on our descent was less than friendly. I watched out the window as a Southwest airplane hovered adjacent to us, nearly motionless, and our two planes set down in synchronicity on parallel runways. Los Angeles, I'm yours.
Descending from the Alaska gates, I rescued one of the Thai kids when, his arms full of packages, he became ensnared in the grasping arms of a manually-operated revolving door. His shy, softly accented “Thank you” made me smile. L.A.'s rat maze of an airport made me yearn for my portal gun, but the Los Angeleans proved themselves hospitable, jumping in with offers of assistance whenever I showed the least hesitation or uncertainty. Honestly, though, there's no excuse to make us go through security a second time. LAX, I despair of you, but least you can rest assured that you're not half as absurd as Frankfurt.
The flight to Honolulu was uneventful. I slept through all of it. And Uncle Gary picked me up and I hung out with him and Auntie Susan and Cousin Darian, and we played old rock songs with an electric guitar and ‘ukuleles, and then, because my timing is BEAUTIFUL and I've arrived in Hawaii in the middle of the Merrie Monarch Festival, we sat and watched the Merrie Monarch hula competition on the television LIKE I HAVEN'T DONE IN YEARS, and I ate fried noodles and ohmigaaaaawd. T_T And then my friend Adam came to pick me up.
GUYS. GUYS. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THE STORY HE TOLD ME. He works for this audio-visual company that operates out of a local hotel, and a couple of Hawaii Five-0 episodes have been filmed there. And so, after the P. Diddy episode, the cast were hanging out in the hotel club getting trashed, and Adam was up in the booth doing sound, and P. Diddy came up into the booth and started DJing, and then P. DIDDY AND GRACE PARK STARTED MAKING OUT, LIKE, PRACTICALLY ON TOP OF MY FRIEND, like seriously, he had to try to edge away, it was really awkward.
...XDDDDDDDDDDDD BEST TRUE STORY YOU'VE EVER HEARD, RIGHT?!
And now I've seen my Doctor Who, so I can FINALLY GO TO SLEEP, OH MY GOD.