Monday’s Meander: Pittock Mansion, Holiday Dressed

It was cold and drizzly; the air was a haze of fog. A little snow had even fallen before we visited yesterday, as well. But despite being chilly, the weather cast this historic site in a mysterious presence. We’d come in anticipation of a relaxing and bedazzling hour.

The gift shop in front. People enter and see the mansion, almost dreamlike, just discernable in the fog.

I have visited here many times over the years, in all seasons and often at Christmas when it is decorated even more beautifully. This year’s theme was lighter and unique: “Critters Make Merry.” The place is transformed in two days with over 70 vountyeers. This grand home was in the Pittock family until 1958. So before we go on a colorful tour, let me add some history.

In 1860, Henry Pittock, a London-born and Pittsburgh, PA.-raised typesetter at The Oregoninan (our city’s primary newspaper) married Gerogiana Burton and became the owner of that newspaper. He shaped it into a thriving paper and invested in a diversity of businesses, amassing wealth. Both of the Pittocks were well-respected in Portland, engaging in many community endeavors. Henry was an outdoorsman and, in fact, one of the first to climb Mt. Hood. Georgiana was a fundraiser and community organzier who established or supported several charitable and social enterprises, one being housing designed for single, self-supporting women. But it wasn’t until early 1900s that Henry drew up plans for and later began construction of his home. It was was completed in 1914. Regrettably, both of them died four years following, though family members lived there for decades. A major storm damaged the mansion in 1962; it was bought by the city in 1964 wth help from fundraisers for $225,000. Restored to its former glory, it opened the next year to the public.

Let’s step out of the drear and into warmth and soft light to look around interesting rooms. Many spaces were closed off due to the pandemic; we all wore our masks, with timed entries into the edifice. The staircase certainly is grand, and is immedicately seen at the right upon entering.

It was hard to imagine what it must have been like to live amid such opulence–both the Pittock family and the servants who took care of tasks and their emplyers’ wishes. But it was a pleasant interval in a busy time and the architecture is impressive. Before we left, I insisted on snapping some more shots outside, and Marc snaped me feeling happy– if half-frozen–before we hightailed it home. I will leave you with these and wish you a safe and kindly week–and a dash of good cheer!

(I’m hoping to write a short post Wednesday…we shall see how it goes!)

(P.S. Some of these were taken with my new iPhone 12. and some with my cannon EOS Rebel T6. The clarity of a few shots taken by the iPhone is unnerving if noteworthy. Makes me think about my not-too-fancy camera and also what I need to improve technique-wise. That phone is too easy.)

Monday’s Meander: Halloween at Cannon Beach

It was Halloween and I was restless. Since it was an under-two hour drive to the beach over the Coast Mountain Range, we took off around 12:30 pm. It wasn’t nearly as long a visit as desired, yet worth it on such a spectacular afternoon. Upon arrival at cannon Beach it was gratifying to discover most of the good weather crowd had stayed home. This is a well known tourist spot, a big attraction being Haystack Rock. (We noted costumed families and teens roaming the pleasing downtown, bags filling up with goodies handed out at shops.) We walked a few miles on pale, smooth sand and luxuriated in warmer temperatures, brilliant sky, and constant lull of the waves. The Pacific was gentler this time, but its power is never mistaken nor disregarded.

Here’s a small sample downloaded from my new iPhone 12–I had left my camera battery charging in the house…I think most of the larger batch turned out pretty well, but I’m not putting aside my companionable Cannon EOS Rebel T6.

Parting shot of a unicorn…and note tsunami sign at corner.

PS Re: the booster. It did lay me flat for a day, then I was fatigued. Worth it to me as I am more high risk of serious complications of, actually, any strong virus including the flu…plus I am now over 70. But by the week-end, it was back to normal with walks, my son’s birthday and a visit with daughter and her twins.

Monday’s Meander: Fall Beauty at Foothills and Roehr Parks

I’m grateful to live in a state and area where there are so many city parks. The last year or two have seen so many more visiting them, and that’s wonderful. Greater Portland makes it a priority to provide as much green space as possible. It encourages positive energy in mental and physical well being of all citizens. I also appreciate parks in our city of Lake Oswego, and visit one weekly if possible. Last Friday I wandered about to snap photos of vibrant late autumn scenes. It was near end of afternoon; the light held that gleaming gold in it. Foothills Park and Roehr Park unfold alongside the flowing constancy of the Willamette River. Fall and winter rains have returned often and remain longer, so I wanted to capture these moments while more dry and bright.

I may be absent from these pages until next Monday’s post. I’m getting my booster Covid-19 shot Wednesday and tend to have “a robust immune system response” as my doctor so nicely puts it…So I likely will be sleeping and sipping tea from bed a day or so. But next week I’ll take you along to the Pacific Ocean. We visited yesterday after time away; it was spectacular.

Good week to you all out there. I hope your lives get better despite these troublesome times. Stay hopeful, be kindly. We all need each other more, not less, and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for friends, family and everything I can do to embrace, explore and share in this unpredictable life.

Monday’s Meander: The Big River Calls

Yes, Oregon’s numerous rivers hold me in their thrall, and I miss visiting far more of them. This shot is of the Columbia River. Last week I posted a Columbia Gorge hike and, prior to that, a visit to the Fruit Loop resulting in three heavy bags of amazing apples (we’ve eaten most–though we did share). Today it’s blustery-rainy where I live. So it’s good to wrap up recent sunny treks out there with a last revisit of a visit in and around the town of Hood River, a major stop for water sports enthusiasts. (Consistently high winds coming down the Gorge encourage their activities.) We often stroll the streets, visit shops, enjoy coffee or lunch. But the Columbia and surrounding landscape are the draws for me. And great athletes out on the water. This is a prime spot for water sports. I’d have loved being out there a few decades back!

A bit of trivia: the actual Hood River, originating from Mt. Hood’s wilderness in the Cascade Range, joins the Columbia here. And a side note: Marc was offered a job there not long ago…it was very tempting though too far from family if we relocated. And not an easy commute from our home. So here we remain–but it’s beautiful there! Sit back, enjoy the views.

Can you see the adventurers? The camera is pointing at the Washington State side of the river.

The above slideshow: I tried to keep up with the para glider and taking as many shots as I could. He/she struggled a bit so there would be a return ot the shore– but about the time he/she cruised closer out the person went again.

Farewell, Hood River and Columbia River Gorge!–until we meet again.

Monday’s Meander on Tuesday: Bridal Veil Falls

The heart knows precisely what it knows.

It keeps account of every known and unknown,

hard and tender bits of the puzzling whole.

It fuels and honors the momentary life,

its voice a harbinger of all that is to come.

This heart gives up stories and when it

whispers our autumn trek, I listen.

Each year brings a pressing down, plowing up,

turning ’round the pungent, rocky trail, a critical affair.

Switchback to a bridge over chasm, steps,

coming to the second bridge under which

outpourings of water are freed

from voluptuous earth: a torrent of beauty.

A gathering of benevolence and majesty.

The journey is late this year, yet is done

before winter stalls me further.

And so, Cynthia with heart: to a commemoration.

Twenty years since my intimate friend

crowded against every rib,

throttled my strong knees,

yanked me to gravity’s dominion.

The ruby blood circled throne of heart,

stuttering, pressuring, then decreed

Enough, now.

Twenty years since I braced myself, crawled,

begged for release, half-stood, limped back up

a path of terror, leaned against Marc,

every breath a damnation, each step a warning.

Rescue came late, so much later,

and yet this heart and I carried each other

that far, then farther, farther yet.

I would not have it; this heart would take me back.

Or it would not know defeat; this heart wanted me back.

Today, like most years, the path is gentle

beneath my feet, and the small pumping muscle

and I sail up, around and over it.

To the bridge where water’s jazz erupts,

to the steps that nearly killed me, all the way up

and face to face with sweet Bridal Veil.

I tremble; heart flings open its gates.

O mighty waters above, below,

O Lord of heavens and earth,

I come to this wild altar of wonder,

my heart beaming, my life made right

with this water, these trees

At 51, I had a heart attack when hiking. How despondent it made me, but I worked to regain health. Last Thursday, I had a small heart event that kept me quiet for a day or so. But Saturday I hiked the path as I do every year near the date when I was felled. And I felt stronger; it always makes me stronger. Never take for granted the work of your gifted heart–how it keeps us wedded to this life, how it cares for us without ceasing–until we are done.