This missive, and this picture, document (or attempt to) a singular emotion.
Life moves past you at an odd clip. It's not constant. And it seems gradual, until that moment it's not.
I'm aging. I don't make an issue of what my exact age is; if you read enough of my rattling, I'm sure you can reason it out. But it's sunk in that I've been around a while, and despite being born in Silverton and spending my teens and twenties around Salem and Corvallis, I've been a Portlander the majority of my life now (the implications vis a vis lifespan I'll not dwell on for the moment, if it's alright with y'all).
I've seen changes, is what I'm saying. The town I fell in love with as a kid and commenced a long process of killing myself to become a local in has become, fulsomely, a fundamentally different place.
Dig, if you will, this picture.
If you go to the riverside esplanade just the other side from Naito Parkway of the Waterfront Pearl condos, you go to the north end of that walk, which is as far as it goes (for now), and you look southwest, you see the above view.
The street intersection is NW Naito Parkway and NW 9th Av.
I spoke of changes. I used to work in this area at a building that still stands where NW 15th and Thurman merge and cross the railroad tracks, just across from where NW Naito Parkway reverts to its seminal name, NW Front Av. I doubt that anyone living now in the condo tower forest that has spread from the Main Post Office building to that point can even envision that it was once a rather vacant urban wasteland; a big rail yard. I still remember. My office left that area around 2005; from our offices windows we watched the steady encroachment of development. Not even I figured it would get that far but there it is, now.
There were comics when I was a kid, where the protagonist would be projected into the future. They'd look around, gobstopped in wonder, as they viewed great glittering futuristic towers, sided in glass and shining steel, some with curving, sculpted sides and they'd stare agape at architectures they could only just comprehend.
As I looked at those buildings from that point on that day, a certain emotion started in my head and reached down and took hold of my heart, and I realized that I was that guy. This was still Portland. I still grokked the geography. But something that was, within my adult memory, acres of vacant lots and rail yard had become this hulking, crowded thing.
Same planet, but a different world. And I was aware of it, as though it was, for a moment, a palpable thing, a thing that could be held in my hand.
Parents have had this feeling, in their times and ways. Our collective descendants will have the same experience, Anthropogenically-induced environment change-willing.
And now, I guess, it's my turn.