After a few hundred miles, things started looking familiar. Road names and exit ramps sporadically conjured memories from yesteryear. Beers in the woods at parent-less McMansions in high school. Dark thirty to departures heading up to Mt. Hood in the back of a friend's family van. Tween soccer games at a roadside field. The closer the Syncro marched towards Portland, the more the memories flowed. "Portland International Airport, 20 miles." No stopping them now.
As I drove north on I-5 through Northern California and Southern Oregon, the trees changed color by the mile. No more dodging fall by zipping up and down the California Coast. Leaves littered the sides of the roads and rain beat down in proper northwest fashion. At 4:30, the sun set over the hills. "Fuck daylight savings," I mumbled, adjusting the windshield wiper speed. Five hours later, I pulled off highway 14 at a familiar gas station t0 fill up. Dressed in shorts, a sweater and barefoot, the 38 degree, rainy night caught me off guard.
Needles and leaves.
A morning hike in the woods.
Tim on Prindle Mountain.
Harvesting beats from the garden.
For the first time in five years, I was back in the Columbia River Gorge during the height of fall. Visiting the northwest once or twice a year, in the summer and around the holidays, limited my view of the place I where grew up. Just like a new haircut making a familiar person look different, a change of season makes an old place look new. Try it sometime.
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