The last time I was on the West Coast was during Katrina in August of 2005. I visited Arizona on a few dreams I had following a young Native girl and my Aunt Tiye who would climb Red Earth mesas and fly to the next while I would climb in arms reach before their next leap. At that time, I was discovering the Sun and her children, the tribes of the Sun scattered from the Yucatan into old Mexican Arizona. At that time I had no idea the inclusive history of indigenous and native peoples on this planet.
I was also heavily writing, dancing, performing spoken word and dabbling in teaching to elementary children about indigenous culture and our environment. Still a practicing vegetarian, I was getting extreme downloads from the Earth (cosmos) from the Divine Feminine realm. In fact, I had journals filled with messages from The Goddess and as I sat in the lotus position or in pigeon pose I began to see the beauty of Tantra everywhere and in everything. This was the East coast, the hemisphere of my birthplace on this planet and yet I still had this weird connection to the West coast! At least in Arizona where I felt more at home than almost anywhere I’d been (apart from Guadeloupe).
But here I am on the West Coast, discovering none other than Oregon. Back home on the East coast the words “Portland” and “Oregon” made my black coworkers pause with side-eyed glares and ask almost offensively, “Why Portland?” As if my black card would be revoked by our imaginary world-wide black card institute.
Their conjectures almost had me convinced until walking through the neighborhood and seeing others with my skin tone assuring me “there’s ‘naga’s’ here!” with a sigh of relief. Still I get the unusual looks or loud “Hi, how you doing?” It’s definitely a mixed bag. But beyond the looks — and maybe its my wild unruly “braid locs,” turquoise, and shoulder length feathers in my ears, I know there’s something super “magical” about this region I am only beginning to discover.
The trees alone have much to tell – and I’ve never been anywhere where trees and shrubs are as diverse as they are here in Portland. Gigantic mature Rosemary bushes are aligned with rose bushes, sage, and pine yards away from bamboo, ferns, and pacific mandrones (one of the prettiest unusual trees I’ve seen). There are palm varieties with algae, lichen and moss grown on the trunks and trees of pine and oak (noted to have over 700 varieties of moss in Portland!) I’ve even seen cacti and succulents! Why? Portland is a rain forest! The only American rain forest in the North America and Oregon is one of the states (including California, and Washington State) of the Pacific Northwest to house its unique temperate climate and home to the colossal red woods which are still part of ancient Mayan lore to date. But these tree varieties sometimes leave me feeling as if Ive walked into some far away faerie gnome village with the later I’m still trying to figure out and define. Still, I admit Portland is by far a very mystical forest region Ive only begun to discover! 🙂
Many people in Portland look as if they are ready to climb mountains, win the iron man (or gender-neutral equivalent), homestead (Macgyver style), and Natarajasana (yoga cosmic dancer pose) without missing a heart beat. There is a true love for nature in these parts! So much so that my first trip to the local grocery store, the cashier hesitated packing my items thinking i’d walk out in hand or had a personal recycled (preferably hemp) bag in my pocket! He gave me a side-eyed stare when i insisted on a paper bag and my paper receipt which is probably recycled on the spot. The truth is the ONLY plastic bag I gathered in my few weeks here was the one I brought with me from Virginia!!! Recycling here is not some feel good chat, it’s a religion and way of life that shocked even myself.
The grocery stores have some amazing local markets fresh produce that I was equally amazed to see and taste! The Alberta Coop was one of the first stores I walked in and was happy to see such gorgeous veggies, mushroom, fruits, roots, and greens! Plus the cashier informed me I could ‘purchase’ or own part of the coop which really got my attention, but more on that in the Spring! For now, I will say there is a huge vegetarian and vegan health conscious population residing here. And i cant wait to explore the food agriculture here both personally and academically.
For now I will end with thankfulness and anticipation of new journeys, awakenings, and empowerment of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding!