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Saturday, September 27, 2014

After the Harvest

Here we are at the end of September, the first part of the second school year. After the wheat was harvested (and all the respective little towns went back to school the week following their own individual harvest schedule), everything went back to the same kind of grind. Rob in school 10 hours a day, the sunlight hours noticeably dwindling already. It's hard this time of year not to be extra homesick, when the feeling in the air changes and its easy to think about the bowls of hot, porky ramen we could be eating at Ippudo, the last of the outdoor concerts at Central Park, the mimosas at brunch we could be enjoying with friends. I don't know what it is about changing seasons that makes it so much harder to stay put here in the middle of nowhere, but it's hitting me hard this autumn.

But before I get all bummy and miserable, I do have to admit we had an awesome summer. We went to Portland about once a month to visit family, explore, shop, and dine in hipstery restaurants that reminded us of home. It was a great way to recharge.

On our last visit, we had a great early dinner at The Farm Cafe, sitting in their cute backyard and soaking up a few Northwest rays of sun. The salty, crispy trout with summer vegetables was enough to make up for many months of no fresh seafood in Pullman. 

The next morning, a tapas-style brunch at Tasty n Alder was literally all I could eat all day. I suppose we didn't really need to order four things when it's just the two of us. There was fried oysters with bacon and a cheddar biscuit. There was polenta with stringy fresh mozzarella and a sunny side up egg. Thinking of our favorite tapas spot Tia Pol in NYC, we gave in to the patatas bravas with aioli. And an egg. And then, just to try something sweet, we tore into some french toast with raspberry-apricot maple and whipped cream. 

It was great fuel for our touristy stop at Multnomah Falls on the way home. The waterfall is so high and the stream is so thin in comparison, it's hard to get a good picture of the whole sight. It's also hard to block out all the heads of the other tourists and their five million kids with ice cream cones that are dripping everywhere. 

By far, the best thing we did all summer (I mean aside from get married and the honeymoon and all that) is our camping trip to the Gorge. I know, I did not expect to do camping again anytime soon, and especially to enjoy it as much as I did. But the only way we'd be able to see the Arcade Fire at this glorious location was either to drive 40 minutes to an overpriced motel in Moses Lake, or just bite the bullet and set up camp. 

We don't know what we're doing when we show up to these places like everyone else does. All of a sudden there are sleeping tents and overhead tents and RVs and awnings and barbeques, there's a whole community to our little two-person tent with an aerobed inside and that's it. Luckily, we wound up next to a pretty awesome group of people that took us under their wing, fed us grilled sandwiches and gourmet cheese, showed us where to pick up the bus when the concert was ready to start.

I really don't think anything could have prepared me for the truly breathtaking setting. It's like I walked onto a painting. I couldn't make sense of the river far below or the size of the clifs. My brain literally could not comprehend all the beauty, and combined with phenomenal acoustics of our favorite band that reminded me of Brooklyn, I don't think it could have been a more perfect concert.

We left early the next morning and waved goodbye to the one or two friends that were awake already. I didn't want to ask their full names or try to keep in touch. It made me too sad to think about following them on Facebook and reading their posts about what they ate for breakfast that day and marring the real connection we had that made the night before. That's how things worked back at Woodstock, and with all the talk of Woodstock that inevitably came up that day, it seemed only right to respect experience in the time period this type of experience was born in. 

But I am hoping we see them again next summer. Next time, grilled brats are on us.

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