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News

Portland Exploration Society

Stay Wild

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CREATIVE EXPLORERS

Story by
Cheeraz Gorman // @aturah

Photos by
Evan Schell // @theslipperysaltwaterchronicals
Adam Vicarel // @adamvicarel
Brooke Weeber // @brooke_weeber

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An invitation to return, 

to experience something different.

I flew into Portland, Oregon on a night where the full moon was in Scorpio. As I was out walking, stalking the sky to get a glimpse of the moon, following meeting my fellow explorers for dinner, I felt like a person who had no history here. This feeling came over me when my flight landed. But to be on a street I’d taken on my way home many an evening and to feel my eyes new and the lack of memory-strapped weight failing to resonate in my body, what I was feeling was now not only true for me — it was real. There was no pull to visit spaces that once held great meaning to me. As I walked a couple blocks down SW Stark Street toward 13th, not one ounce of nostalgia washed over me. While I was not attempting to conjure the feeling, I did find it surprising, like in a, “Wow … I am healed,” kind of way. Many moons ago, I use to call this city home. It all feels like another lifetime ago. And, in truth, it is. Now, it’s time for new adventures. A fast-forward to create new memories and to feel what new Earth will be underneath my feet as an explorer.

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Remembering Light

It turns waterfalls and rushing creeks into a scene of cascading diamonds. It gently overcomes shadows, then welcomes them back when it has served its purpose, or when clouds shift. It reveals the spectrum of color waiting to be unveiled in the darkest of green things. It invites finger to rub against moss and tree bark to explore their textures. The imagination dances when we see it cut through mist: What’s being beamed down or taken up, or is there somewhere in between, dancing — putting a spell on us? 

There’s a certain magic the light of the sun turns on. Forest, already full of wonder in its own right, becomes even more alive.  

For the most part, the day was the kind of typical Portland day I’d remembered. Rainy. The sky — a fitted sheet of gray, not so securely tucked, so occasionally the sun would slip through the clouds. Its warmth landing on my face just long enough for me to think, “You will leave and return like all faithful lovers do when they know they are needed, wanted, and desired.”   

Atop Beacon Rock, a squirrel that seemed to know its way around humans met me. Raised up on its hind legs and motioned as if it were fresh out of some well-crafted children’s cartoon, one with a moral or parable to keep in the subconscious. I thought I was ready, but every bit of the city dweller in me jolted my body off the rock I popped a squat on. I laughed loudly and shook my head at the fact that I let something so small shake me. I turned my head to see the sun in the distance, turning the horizon line of the sky into various shades of rainbow sherbet. I inhaled deeply, laughed once more, and nodded my head in silent reverence for what illumination can do for the spirit.

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Remembrances — and, 

is this the point

The air is different here than where I’m from

So, I’m taking as many deep breaths

For my lungs to remember

That concert is not a living thing

That mountain fresh

Is indeed that and not simply 

A manufactured fragrance for dryer sheets

My eyes drinking in the scene

Because wonder is being returned back to me tenfold

 

And, is this the point:

To reconnect

To feel mouth-gaped open

As feet step in an improvisational rhythm

With the terrain

And deep breaths are taken

To remind us that we are living things

And that there’s something clearly unnatural

About our automated lives and its many technologies

Distracting us from the beauty found in

Simply being with what is

In all its grandeur 

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Lettering by Adam Vicarel // @adamvicarel


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THIS ADVENTURE WAS MADE WITH HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS AT NAU CLOTHING AND ACE HOTEL

NAU.COM // ACEHOTEL.COM