Lifting Me Higher

Required carpet photo at the Portland Airport

I’m not a big fan of air travel. Noise, discomfort, crowds, and TSA put me on the grumpy and impatient side of being the old lady I am. And I’ve probably watched too many plane crash movies. But looking down from up high fascinates me – the contrasts, the geography, recognizing places I’ve been, and the impacts of time and weather. I always opt for the window seat, even when the airplane’s wing blocks my view. Alan has to sit in the middle seat, but fortunately he’s accommodating and doesn’t complain.

We flew out of Portland the last week of June. My new city is still a shiny new penny to me, and I love recognizing hills and rivers and bridges, and seeing it as a whole. I try to identify each Cascade peak, and since my maps app works up there, I can confirm my guesses and see what else is below. I never tire of seeing it all put together, better than a topographic map.

We flew west from the airport over the Columbia River and then
swung south for views of the Willamette and Sauvie Island.
Each caption explains what you’re looking at.

Six days later we flew out of San Jose, California. I lived in the Bay Area for twenty some years, so it’s familiar in a nostalgic way. The interesting part for me is about the changes over time. Right now that’s pretty much about the weather and climate change.

Portland had more rain than usual this year, and it looks like spring still, from the ground and from the air. The Bay Area, like most of California, is in a severe drought, and in some places can sometimes look like a moonscape. It’s even more shocking to me because of the mossy green filter over my eyes after all these months of rain.

I complain a bit about our rain, and our garden sure suffered from flooding, but I know that it also makes way for bountiful springs and green summers. Not to mention plentiful drinking water. It’s the day to day living in all the damp and grey that’s challenging. But I’m hoping for more getaways in the future, more changes of weather and scenery, and the feeling of joy and appreciation upon my return. Isn’t that why we travel? I’m loving being home again right now, especially since summer has truly, finally, arrived.

Just a bud when we left town, I was pleased to find this Dahlia bloom that had lingered for me.
We bought the plant last year on Sauvie Island, and it came right back up this spring.
And this one was just a surprise all the way around.

21 thoughts on “Lifting Me Higher

  1. How fun! And what? There’s a map app? There is so much I don’t know. Beautiful dahlias. Rebecca, in looking through slides, found one of my mom’s dahlia garden below the house. I haven’t seen the slide yet, but she said the garden was enormous!

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    • It’s just Google maps! A whole dahlia garden sounds luscious. I never dig them up and put them away for the winter, that’s just more than I can manage, so it’s a crapshoot every year whether they survive the snow. I wonder if your mother dug up the whole garden?


  2. I love your posts whenever I get to read them Nancy. And it is all inspiring the way you 10 insert text over the photos etc. Makes you a pro. Julia

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  3. I’m not much for air travel either. As much as I love new (or favorite) places, I doubt I’ll hop on a plane anytime soon. I really love a good road trip and there’s so much right here in my own backyard I haven’t seen yet. That said, those photos from the sky are fabulous and the salt ponds, well … stunning! Seeing those drought areas from above really puts it in perspective. And today’s news from SCROTUS makes it just a little more heartbreaking. 

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  4. What gorgeous photos. We will be up in the air soon – not looking forward to it, although I used to love sitting in the window seat and getting that perspective. Thanks for sharing your journey, as always. PS – Google maps works when you’re in airplane mode? Hmmm…


  5. Hmmm, did I take it out of airplane mode? Can’t remember. Do they actually care anymore? Don’t know. I’ll bet flying into Bend must be amazing, all the volcanic rock and high desert views – I’ve only driven there. And, I love flying into coastal towns – the wave patterns and ocean color variations. Delicious. Thanks for reading Rachel!


  6. I’ve loved the way boundaries just never reveal their face when looking down on this planet from the air. Who knew simple lines drawn on a map could become such an important part of our world. Sometimes I wonder what would this world be like had no lines ever been drawn. So many possibilities. Would it have been better or worse? Who knows? I do know that, as a trip draws to a close, coming home feels just right.


  7. Yes indeed, thanks for this Mary Jo. I wonder about these boundaries every time I pass or cross the Columbia River that divides Washington and Oregon. “Imagine there’s no countries…”
    Thanks for being here.


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    • I hear you on the air travel. It’s not the delight it once was. We have more laws for evil air travelers than for kind people with guns. Oy, don’t get me started. Hope you have a little air travel left in you. Thanks Patty.


  9. love the Dahlia pic and the Salt marsh stuff. So interesting. And yes, travel sucks (now) but it’s so necessary ….I admire that you are a window-seat-sitter. I love these aerial river shots just the coolest. LIKE YOU. love you N! Keep exploring and bringing us along xoxoxo

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