Atlas Shrugged

I’d almost forgotten about adult snow days. Or I’d just sort of written them off, when I decided to trade Portland, ME, for Portland, OR.

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There were, I understood, going to be some things of the past. Bean boot wearing boys. Casco Bay, Portland Head Light. Reasonably priced lobster, those blustery blue skies. Mainely Custard, Big Sky Bread, Bard Coffee, Scratch Bagels, OTTO Pizza. Walks around Pineland Farms, Macworth Island, the Eastern Prom. The Old Port, the Back Cove. Drives up to Freeport, Brunswick, Bath. Wiscasset, Rockland, Camden — keep going for Acadia.  

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Also high on that list: the stunning summers, the unbelievable Octobers. (The wild blueberries! The maple candy!) And the likelihood of ever having another white Christmas, and the odds of ever seeing this sentence again, on an otherwise ordinary Monday: “Surprise, stay in your pajamas, it snowed.”

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I should have dusted off my own Bean boots, but I figure I’ll need my rain boots again soon enough.

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Tromping around in the snow (trying not to slip on the ice) makes me so, startlingly homesick. I kid you not: it made my breath catch in my throat yesterday to glance up and see those big, fat flakes coming down.

I hurried up writing so I could throw on my current concept of winter clothing and go for a long walk, and the entire time I wandered the city streets, as quiet as I’ve ever seen them, I was thinking: THIS is winter. This is January. This is what feels right.

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I wish you’d tell me that I’m not alone in this — that sometimes you wake up, even on what should be a perfectly decent day, and there’s a second in which something compels you to pause and really take stock of your surroundings, and as you do, you immediately have an out-of-body experience and are blasted with these four words: what am I doing. Said extra slowly. W-h-a-t-a-m-I-d-o-i-n-g. And then: no honestly, WHAT, am I doing.

What am I doing here?

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I wish you’d tell me that no matter how good of a job you’ve done growing, you occasionally have to squelch the urge to just hit the road, go back to Mom and Dad’s, even if Mom and Dad’s isn’t really a thing anymore.

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I wish you’d tell me that some days are easier and some days are harder, and you really will find your way. (You’re finding it now.) And you have everything you need, already. You don’t need a best friend or a boyfriend or any of your family members right there with you; you can do it on your own. And again: you will figure it out. All of it. You are *gathering data.*

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“When I was about eight, I decided that the most wonderful thing, next to a human being, was a book.” -Margaret Walker

“Solitary people, these book lovers. I think it’s swell that there are people you don’t have to worry about when you don’t see them for a long time, you don’t have to wonder what they do, how they’re getting along with themselves. You just know that they’re all right, and probably doing something they like.” -Helen Oyeyemi

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“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.” -Maya Angelou

“I know that feeling. You have to do something. You have to change something radically, because you can’t stay like you are for another second, or you’re going to explode.” -Jennifer Echols

“There are so many people we could become, and we leave such a trail of bodies through our teens and twenties that it’s hard to tell which one is us. How many versions do we abandon over the years?” -Dan Chaon

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“It’s important for us to journal, or create, or give voice to the things that we’re afraid to even think about.” -Sandra Cisneros

“I no longer believe that we can keep silent. We never really do, mind you. In one way or another we articulate what has happened to us through the kind of people we become.” -Azar Nafisi

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.” -Stephen King

“When a shy person smiles, it’s like the sun coming out.” -Anita Diamant

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{Old Port via @portlandoldport, Acadia National Park via @iloveacadianationalpark, Big Pink via @jonny_riot, Portland sign via @namingnamesbynaming, old familiar road via @kdkuiper, snowy A-frame via @kathryn_dyer, The Crooked Mile Café via @portlandoldport, Cape Kiwanda Beach via @k.d.s.photography — all on Instagram.}

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