Monday’s Meander: An Annual Waterfront Gathering and Concert

Usually I post pictures of landscapes or visits to museums, gardens, etc., but I miss seeing more people out and about, enjoying themselves. So many looked solemn, sad, weary today on our walk. Then I came across photos from a waterfront festival in Portland, year 2014. A free, open air Oregon Symphony Concert is a hit each year, and boaters come out in droves plus huge crowds that sit alongside the water and before the stage. The other performers that time included Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, 234th Army Band of the Oregon National Guard, Hillsboro School District, Mariachi Una Voz, BRAVO Youth Orchestras and the big drums of Portland Taiko. A fine, diverse group of offerings to fill senses, minds and hearts.

Such a normal state of events in healthier summer times. I feel a wave of nostalgia as I study them. I love being down in city center, going to art fairs and numbers of markets and eating out and shopping, just strolling by the Willamette River’s city walkways, sharing a coffee with others. I suspect I will be looking at more of my city shots, and posting them off and on.

But this also happily confirms that we have had scads of splendid days and nights in our vibrant, artsy, thriving Pacific NW city. And there will be more, sooner or later– if we follow mandates to stay as well as we can and thus, help others do the same. I know we can rebuild after things settle, eventually. I am proud of Portlanders’ willingness to do what is safe and try to support our local businesses as we can, and more and more online.

Like Powell’s Bookstore, for one, a fantastic independent bookseller (there are several, all closed now as are all brick and mortar nonessential businesses) that offer books to customers all over the world. Check them out at http://www.Powell.com. You’ll find rare books and first editions; literary, experimental and genre fiction along with graphic novels, tons of nonfiction and poetry, of course. And more. Yes, I read even longer hours now–a gift, except for too little sleep when nighttime reading…

I would enjoy hearing what you love about your towns and cities! Let me know with your comments.

Please take good care.

Friday's Passing Fancy/Poem: Sweet Fire

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

Persimmon bloom dense

with light, hallowed heat,

brilliant with scent that spells

senses and spirit, an ignition of fire,

tender icterine dazzle of petals,

sacred heart secret within coral canopy,

this passion of sweetest fire

and perfection of design:

a revelation of harmony, love carnal and divine

Monday’s Meanders/Photos: Dilly Dallying Snow in Green Places

White lace lays upon the usual vibrant greens in the Northwest and contrasts with signs of a slow but certain spring. I know this spattering of snow on the ground doesn’t impress, but that it is there at all is not so usual in the Willamette Valley. It snowed perhaps two inches or more 3 days ago but I grew up in Michigan…snow isn’t a major event to me. Since it has been warming to the 50s and higher, I didn’t expect it to last three days! My walks have been a bit slick and frigid–and then today it reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I still required a medium weight jacket, unzipped and flapping in a wind that often slices through the woods here at a whopping 800 feet.

Cascade Mountain Range

Since everything is shutting down around here, I treasure even more my long meditative–or not so meditative–walks. I found some pretty spots and a couple of comical ones.

A few families were out and about–not as many as I expected with schools closed. May all the kids stay safe, be fed, and make good use of this time despite the constraints and worries.

Ivy, ivy everywhere–looking more like usual

I was tickled to find that snow people–near pretty cherry blossoms– built a couple of days before were still standing, as if engaged in a sort of paused pantomime or mock battle, or perhaps an interrupted conversation. One snow fellow/gal was slumped on a stone bench, contemplating trials of spring–or, perhaps, simply snoozing. One never knows–they may do a few things after created by enthusiastic but we quick-to-discard-toys human beings… and then surrender to the sun.

Mt. Hood in the distance

Here’s hoping for good health for you and yours, and that you can find some peace during these troublesome days and nights. We will carry on the best we can manage and try to keep ourselves and others safe, I do pray. Seek fresh air; look for small wonders. It always helps.

Monday’s Meander: March Scenes from the Pacific Northwest

Contrasting views from the country to city…I savor them all. My long walks have gradually become less rain-slogged with more rending of cloud cover, allowing longer stunning light and, finally, deepening blue skies and flowers abloom. The bees are out and hard at it, what a relief. We saw a hummingbird by the river zipping about and lots of birds singing, fluttering here and there with their lovely plumage.

Bear with me if I often post shots of the spring glories. I need nature’s mysterious and lovely offerings more than ever. I suspect we all are eager for the good land’s magnetic vagaries and welcome continuity as much as we can get. Sunlight’s always a refresher. Sky that is bright feels like open arms. I do hope you all take a good walk this week, short or long.

Monday’s Meander: Spring Travel/Yachats–or Victoria?

I have been on lovely area power walks recently but there is, while walking, a rustling about in my brain about my yearly birthday trip in late April or early May. (I missed last year’s as twin grand-babies came about that time–what a present to us all!) And I have been fairly certain it would be Victoria, BC, Canada for the fifth time or the Pacific Ocean for the gazillionth. I was about settled on the ocean after looking through previous pictures, and looking forward to it after months away. Then I was pulled right back to Victoria and Vancouver Island. Such a choice–both are wonderful.

At the base of the Coast Range Mountains, Yachats (YAH-hots) is a prime getaway spot for Marc and me. Unlike some of the other central coastal towns and beaches, it is quieter, smaller (about 750 folks), and not touristy. The beaches are often even empty when we go–not so much in summer– and tide pools are fascinating to explore. We climb about basalt rocks to scout out starfish, sea anemones and rocks and various oddities brought from the sea. Also, Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (highest point on the coast is amid beautiful forests) is close and a great place to hike. So we return year after year, though it is easily a four hour drive over the mountains, then down the west coast via Highway 101.

And yet, everyone who has taken the ferry from Washington State to Vancouver Island to embrace Victoria for an enchanted week knows that it is a place to love for life. British influence is evident architecturally but the varied boats, harbor scene and the fact it’s on a wilder island to explore draws us most. Some of the best food is there, too, and famous Butchart Gardens.

A view of flowers at Butchart
Sunken garden at Butchart

But over the week-end I saw my 14 year old grandson, Asher. He mentioned a trip to visit a maternal aunt in Idaho soon. We talked a bit about the area he’ll be visiting, why he enjoys it so much.

“I’ve often thought of going to visit there–I’ve mostly seen northern Idaho.

“Yeah, you keep saying that.” He half-grinned at me from beneath a flop of hair. “Well, it’s beautiful there.”

He showed me a picture he had taken of the Sawtooth Mountains–he texts me pictures of interesting sights as I do, to him. I had seen some good ones before but was quite taken with the one he showed me. Talk about majestic and bucolic…

“Maybe I should finally go, huh?”

He shrugged in that teen-age way, as if no difference to him– but then nodded. He promised to send me more pictures during his upcoming trip from Bend, OR to Cary, ID.

So today I made the decision. After all, I do crave changing and dramatic topography; the Rocky Mountains traverse Idaho! Thanks to Asher, I’m going to visit, likely staying in the Boise area surrounded by spectacular Boise Mountains. Sights to enjoy: high desert. A city in a river basin within mountains that reach over 10,000 feet. River canyons to peer into or hike. Ranch land everywhere. What’s not to appreciate? Similar to Oregon yet offering newly expansive and fresh sights. We’ll drive through eastern Oregon–oddly not traveled despite living in the NW for 30 years. I am quite excited about a new adventure.

Meantime, plenty of lovely Oregon to enjoy. I will post more of our area next week. Have a happy week or find ways to make it better.

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