Dear Superb Lengthy Drizzle,
I haven’t forgotten you never showed me your secret river spot—something you promised 5 years ago.
Half a decade can feel like walking a solar system, can’t it?
Right now they’re playing New Slang by the Shins at the hippest cafe in the California town we both ended up in.
It’s cliche knowledge that people intertwine over and over. But, are you ever too old to marvel at coincidence?
It’s weird hearing the most successful Oregon band in such a California place.
I’m in athletic shorts and a t-shirt, indoors to avoid the heat, surrounded by chic, white wallpaper, vaulted ceilings, gallons of natural light through lengthy windows: outside I see gold grass hills, parking lot palm trees, the red cursive California repeated on every license plate.
I suppose most Oregon millenials had a Shins phase. When I miss the earth I was born and aged on top of, I listen to them.
James Mercer is Oregonian superb: his voice sounds like 9 months of rain drizzle and pine forests, American fusion food trucks and Doc Martens.
Sometimes it comforts me and sometimes it makes it worse.
How often do you reminisce about your only winter there? You from Sacramento, your partner from Hawaii. The year before you were in San Francisco. You stopped into my office unannounced and told me you were dating a woman now.
You seemed to be moving more lightly. You seemed happy.
And then you took a job in Portland right before the worst winter in decades.
All the snow collecting on park benches and stop light fixtures, making everything like a quiet, white planet too icy for any life forms to live on.
Can you believe you survived it?
Did you know it snowed in Sacramento a few months ago?
The optimist in me says that’s the weather telling us that where we’re from—though 580 miles and a few different climates apart—isn’t so different.
The realist beside him says that’s just climate change. Species are dying.
Isn’t it crazy to be living right now? Oceans rising. India temperatures dangerously warm. Donald Trump’s our president.
Human geography is fascinating.
My parents never left Oregon.
Does it make you uncomfortable to live in such a glorified place? I’m still getting used to it.
I forget you live here. I forget that right now, you’re only a few miles away again, this time much closer to the beach.
I have a secret spot.
But I’m not showing you.
You’ll be okay.
As you taught me, not every promise is kept.
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Austin Beaton is a poet writer essayist who somewhere in the multiverse is still a kid hurling pinecone baseball pitches. His work has appeared in Porridge Magazine, the Bookend’s Review, Occulum, and elsewhere.