Tonight my thoughts are alternating between smokey jazz bars in the 1920s and the long, curving roads that snake between rivers and mossy trees through the mountain pass leading to Portland, Oregon. I see those tall, drooping trunks, hunched comfortably around the water, and my heart aches for them. I remember the sheer cliff face on one side and the enchanted forest on the other, imaginary horses stampeded through the shallow portions of the river and became dragons or great birds when the way became too deep and treacherous.
I am the singer in the smokey bar, done up in proper 20’s attire, voice low and rich and honest and everyone is paying close attention because that’s how it was in those days. Those lush mountain trees drip from my lips as I tell someone I love that we’ll make it through together, and I tell my aching heart to stand fast because this ride is far from over - these roads become dangerous when it snows.
I want to go back there. To that place of just around the bend in the road and those tall, leaning trees, dipping their branches into little waterfalls. They cascade down the cliff face like personal miracles, a cleansing deluge, just for me.
The smell of smoke and rain mingle in my head as I shape a melody, a slower version of something vaguely Latin and upbeat, something that better suits me in this place. I’m singing to you as I traverse winding roads through the mountains in the night, the leaves falling from my tongue and sticking to the asphalt, that you might follow closely enough to hear, and come with me on this journey of unknown destination.