Life is a series of deaths and rebirths. A series of lents and easters. Of winters and springs. Last Thursday was my birthday and I said goodbye to living in the Columbia River Gorge for the second time. It was a hot day, but I couldn't stay inside the lovely library or cafe where I've spent most of the last two months, not on a day of goodbye, a death, a Good Friday. So I climbed Mitchell Point Overlook. Up to the top. I sweated, my breath coming short, adrenaline pumping every time I brushed a bush wondering if this would be the time I'd get poisoned oak for the first time.
Oh, and I took two people with me.
But we lived, breathed, worked. And owned that mountain. At the top the air was crisp, the infamous wind blowing, and the sky like a huge painting, the clouds spread out in abstract puff and smears to the east and west. Up there I was alive.
And then I left.
It was glorious, the evening sun turning the water white. The twists and turns, ups and downs of the mountains. The legs of the mountain chain spreading out to give birth to Portland. Yes, I was sad, but I knew my death was necessary—so that I could be born in Salem.
It is hot and sticky here too. Cars and asphalt, cigarettes, humans of all sorts, old, young, drunk, sober, pink-haired, and dressed in sparkling slinky drag. The apartment is sticky, dirty, smelly, nowhere near as pristine as it looked on our brief tour when we picked it out. It is a hot, dark tomb, lying empty, waiting to be filled with life.
In darkening, cooling evening, I play Vivaldi and clean. Bringing to life this place, and with it my new hopes and dreams. I scrub counters and shelves, unwrap dishes. Each one is born, a dish I packed away months ago, now alive again, now in my own place once more. I stack boxes, bags, papers, shift and move the mass of stuff beneath me, and slowly the kitchen emerges, the living room, the bedroom.
Can this resurrected apartment glow with the life of the immortal Christ?
At moments I doubt it, but then that hope burns within me and I know that eventually it will be shaped, born, and live, that it will become the home I hope for. No longer will I wander like Jesus without a nest or den. As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for you, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling.