When Portland was 100 degrees, we chose the coast for our anniversary week, and found a last minute crappy condo in Neskowin, with a balcony overlooking the beach and amazing non-stop treasures!
Fernhill Wetlands gave me a little taste of summer love, clear blue skies overhead with only the wispiest of clouds, calm reflective waters, languid herons, and fading flowers. Though I've visited here three different times, it was always winter, with grey skies, cold misty fog, winter birds and plants, and the godawful nutria.
We haven't seemed to gin up the energy to do what it takes to get the grandkids out camping. I'm daunted by what it would take, and it feels like a big push, looming larger than when we camped with our own kids. I have to admit, I'm slowing down. But Oregon is a camping paradise with so many possibilities near rivers and lakes, in forests and mountains, and by the ocean.
When I visit California it's with one foot firmly planted in the past. This is how it all used to be, this highway, those hills, that beach, this restaurant, that friend, the place I used to….
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.
As self-appointed nature guides and outdoor fun seekers with the grandkids, we recently drove out to a new nature park... Rosa was not thrilled." Good luck!" her mama called gaily, closing the front door firmly.
The long drive gave me lots of time to consider, and go over lyrics of songs I hoped to lead in the jams. I immersed myself in the scenery flashing by, and realized as we left the urban boundary, that this was our first drive so far south on I-5 in 999 days.
The glorious Portland Japanese Garden was built after WWII to promote an understanding of Japanese humanity, traditions, and ideals, while creating an urban oasis here in the city. That bridge would be built through nature, something that needed no translation. Our spring walk was full of contemplative beauty.
You can't turn your back on nature around here. Even after a dozen visits to the same place, it's different every time. In Portland's temperate rainforest what's here today is gone the next. What wasn't here recently, unexpectedly shows up. We had the rainiest April in history and the only recorded April snowfall as well. Add in some intermittent sunshine, and Elk Rock Garden was again delightful.
On the right day, which was this one, Cooper Mountain Nature Park is a jubilation of greens and blossoms, prairies, wetlands and woodlands. Layers of texture roll out before us; trees are still bare, or still flowering, or in nascent leafiness, or are evergreen. What a difference a few days makes, when we were just dodging hailstones and driving through hail and slush!