I want to remember this.
I know I say that a lot. I know I forget a lot. But I felt things tonight that I want to remember, so I will try to record them to the best of my deeply flawed ability.
1. I actually look like a grown-up sometimes. I felt like I was masquerading as a journalist today, but it turns out I actually *am* a journalist. I can legally call myself a writer. It takes a surprising amount of effort to remember I'm technically a grown-up.
2. Oregon is beautiful. Orchards are beautiful. Pears, dammit, are beautiful. And that piece of fruit, that simple pear, is a complex marvel. There is a man awakened at 2 in the morning who drives 20 miles to the orchard and sets fire to hundreds of smudge pots, just to make sure your pear doesn't die on the vine. There are fences set up to keep elks from tenderly lipping that pear off the tree.
That pear, friends, is a work of art.
3. Sometimes, I pretend to eat your oh-so-holy pear. So there.
4. There's also a barn. It is very pretty. On one side, there is a pear orchard. On another side, there is a plot of medical marijuana guarded by a stoned-looking dog. On another side is a boat, and beside the boat is a chicken coop, and chickens, and they're all standing under a pink umbrella. And that, too, is beautiful.
5. Sometimes, dinner is more than food. Sometimes, food is a gift.
Tonight, I tasted so many amazing things that my synapses feel like they're braided, curled and twined as intricately as honeysuckle. The red cow beef sandwiches and Roussanne, the cheese and cinnamon bread and rich, red wine. The smell of the air among the wine casks, the lights twinkling overhead. Talking to a third generation chocolatier who once lived in a teepee for two years. Discovering port for the first time and trying to put into words why it made me think of the soft, tender ears of puppies.
Ye gods, what a gift. Just having the time to experience such a thing. I am humbled.
6. Also, sometimes pears grow as big as a human head.
And then they are called FRANKENPEARS. And they look like this.
7. Lastly, I made my own gift basket.
I think it's important, to give gifts to yourself. And I can't wait to tear into my goodies when I'm back home, hundreds of miles away from the magic of Oregon and Harry and David
These trips are a gift. To myself, from myself, from circumstance, from the people who come together to make it possible, my husband and parents and all the strangers who become friends on a tour bus. Traveling and trying new things makes me feel so alive, so young, so invigorated. I find myself fascinated with things I'd never imagined before, with questions on bees and kaolin and popcorn varietals and wine casks. I find myself waking up, wanting to learn and soak up knowledge.
And then, sometimes I find myself half-drunk and smelling of skunk at 9:56 Pacific time, deeply grateful for everything. I look at pictures of my children and smile, thankful to my core for my family and also for the chance to remain a separate being.
This, this, this, always. Skunk smell and all.