When I open my eyes, I am surprised the air doesn’t match the golden luster I’d accumulated in my mind.
It’s as though with nothing to see, the wind whips the crow calls and leaf piles together into a halo of sound that could only appear as light.
But once I’ve looked a little harder, I can see it.
I can see the way the tops of the oak trees have decided to masquerade as dandelions for the day.
I can see the motley motion of colors in the husks of leaves skidding down the street.
I can see the glowing sunbeam corridors across the sidewalk, that hint for you to look up.
And I know that if I were just to turn the corner and walk down the street, I’d end up at the top of a hill.
It would be a hill overlooking Portland proper; it would be a hill overlooking the world.
The trees on the west hills are warm little pom poms popping their puffs amongst skyscrapers.
The steep drop at the top of Hawthorne gives a bird’s eye view of golden trees even to those as short as me.
And the best part is I know what’s under all those leaves.
I know that if I walked beneath the canopies of Portland I would find the warmest, liveliest little cafes with late afternoon sun still dancing between the window panes.
I know I would find the tucked away little restaurants that host funny jazz quartets live, but without a piano.
I know I would find a parade of sweatered people, and extra-windy weather on bridge-tops.
And yet here, Mount Tabor, Salmon Street, beneath the big oak trees, feels just as brightly imbued with contentment.
The city’s warmth is still shouted by crows and still felt in the bitter black tea in my mouth and still smelt by the hot berry cobbler sitting on the top of the stove.
Plenty of people tramp right past in front of me and the sweet crunch of the leaves is good.
It feels just right.