I never tire of crossing over the Columbia River into Washington. It has everything: a bridge, a river, another state, and another point of view. I hear constant birdsong during my four hour hike at Steigerwald Refuge. My troubles dissapate, and float away with the river.
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!
Spring colors have been vamping it up all over town. The gaudy celebratory technicolor blossoms bring unfettered joy. You can't not notice, no matter how grumpy or anxious you're feeling. Then I began noticing the backdrop of the quieter plants, the greenery, the natives. They're doing a happy dance of their own, their desire on parade, just not as flashy as the flowers...
Tryon Creek State Natural Area is a place I go back to for the re-balancing of life's delight and anguish, the glory and the suffering. I find all that amongst the second-growth trees, native plants, birds, and a babbling creek, and most especially, among the spring trilliums.
You only get about a week to see the cherry trees at their peak of full open blossoms. Portland's exquisite beauty also guides our attention to our wretched history of immigration and discrimination, still so current.
Training Scrub-Jays to trust you is time consuming work. I've been tossing peanuts to them from the doorway all winter. Now the couple waits and watches from their nearby home in the back shrubbery, and even if I pass the doorway, they come out to watch and wait.
Powell Butte has wide open spaces alongside forest that gives you big sky and a fat dose of trees and meadows. An oasis amidst gritty city commerce for birds, animals, and humans. And clouds. So many clouds.
The vast grassland stretched out into a perfect spring day. An eagle soared, a heron and egret fished. I needed nothing else from the world for just that moment.