As the sun lowered, its vibrance charged the lands’ contours, the water’s undulating surface and damp autumn air with sunset’s energy. Such peaceful, awe-inspriing magnificence prevailed.
It was sunny yesterday after a week of unremitting rainfall, during which time the Portland area has had over 4 inches of rain. This is about one inch less than the normal amount for the entire month of Jaunary. Flooding in low areas, a few rivers reaching flood stage due to rains plus rapid snowmelt in the mountain ranges, then several landslides–all have impacted people and travel. In Lake Oswego, the Willamette River runs swiftly; it is high lately. But during our Sunday walk, there was no evidence of flooding and no warnings. Folks were walking, running, and cycling alongside the swollen river, and we remaiined above the river’s banks. The day offered higher temps at 50 degrees Farenheit. I have been nursing a repeatedly injured right knee (goes back decades), but enjoyed a simpler mosey. George Rogers Park is very popular, expecially in summer for swimming and kayaking, etc. It has flat paths so that helped with the knee issue. We always continue past the proscribed path and down the roadway for another half hour or more. So much bright beauty after drizzling, wind-tossed, often hammering rains!
Above in the foreground is the shaded side view of a corner of an old cement building. It is likely left over from the old iron ore business here, with ships delivering and picking up ore. It is empty and open in some parts; it’s used by teens getting into mischief and for swimming along the shore (they jump off the building from top floor), but on Sunday it was quiet. The bright sun hit the back of the building facing me as I walked. I snapped pictures that show tagging and open windows, below. It is hard to discern things clearly, but I liked the texures and colors; perhaps you get an idea of the structure in the second shot.
As we finished our walk, we noticed an artist painting en plein air style, thoroughly enjoying himself despite late afternoon sunlight dimming under trees. He didn’t turn around, yet moved aside a bit as I paused to snap him, affording a view of his work-in-progress. Note, too, the pink high heels atop a grill, left side of this shot….now, there’s an interesting story! I might come up with one…
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.
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.)
Yes, native Portlanders do consider this a major “snow event”! And most who live in the Willamette Valley (and not from northern states) are quite skittish about going out into it. I love our rare snowy times, no matter how light the snowfall is. It might be lovely to have a brilliant white Christmas again. I grew up in snow each winter and have been thinking of the way it changes things, makes the landscape more mysterious and perks up senses and mind. And toughens you up with it’s frequent subzero temperatures, tiny “darts” of pelting snow and howling winds–and treacherous icy roads and sidewalks. There are times I am nostalgiac for the beauties that it can offer. But not too often.
We do get a few days of “dustings” or even more interesting winter snows in Portland metro area–a bit more so where we live, 700 ft. above sea level. (These shots are from our former neighborhood, close-in city center, taken a few years ago.)
I came across these while brwosing my photos and wanted to share them today. It has been raining a great deal–the more usual case–and suddenly snow looks wonderful. But only now and then. I lived with knee-and-thigh-deep snows in my childhood, youth and young adulthood. I more enjoy our temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest. I can just drive to mountains to enjoy fresh snow. I think we have the best variety in Oregon–the ocean, mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, and the high desert.
The breath of winter is flung upon all
and the walk is scented with promise of frost that
may visit or transmute, warmed, into rain.
I am hoping for rain but planning for frost,
even ice, prepared for what comes.
Or I want to think so. I grew up in a land
of dense, deep snow; even birds and branches
were bitten by its ache, shaken by zero dregrees.
The beauty held me. I thought I was lucky.
Being alive was spectacular,
eyes watering, cheeks crisped, mouth puffing breaths
that floated, friendly clouds, in air that stung.
Today I am not afraid of much at all,
knowing I have lived through things like
water pipes freezing, the fire going out
so burning furniture to keep us warm,
cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner,
being thought a nuisance or failure
so later harmed and forgotten.
Suffering threaded through my passion for living.
Now I suffer with those who have shared such troubles,
and those who know danger and brilliance of snow,
the wonder of slow warmth after sheen of ice.
It is not easy learning to navigate
the wind’s vagaries.
But today I am lucky, still. I know where
I am going, to the broad river and home.
And this wind may carry a long, low moan
but it releases a ribbon of song in between–
and that is what I listen for, and that is what I hear.