Monday’s Meander: At the Park with Three Dads

Any day can be a day of gratitude for fathers but Sunday being Father’s Day, we spent time with my son, his wife and his son, as well as our daughter, our son-in-law and their two 14 month olds (plus one other daughter with partner). Gabriel Park has great groves of trees and broad grassy areas, woods and a community garden. Many people wore masks as did Marc and I though this was in open air with plenty of space –much safer. Son Josh (Falk), a pro skater, and Asher (14, long hair–our grandson), were mask-less due to much sweaty athletic activity. They had a great time out there sharing a mutual passion.

I can’t show much of the now-toddling granddaughters as it is preferred we do not. But I took action photos of the guys skateboarding. Josh has been skating since he was 12; he is 45, still sponsored with his skateboards and other items sold, and photographed for magazines (though he’s a contractor full-time). During most of my shots a man (in a black t-shirt) who was filming asked, without knowing who I was, if he was ruining my shots. I laughed, “Oh, I have hundreds of shots of my son, several of my grandson!” He asked who it was so I said, “The guy you’re filming mostly today!” He replied with surprise and appreciation that I was his Mom, out there a dazzlingly hot hour shooting away, in my sweaty mask. Hubby Marc relaxed on a bench.

Earlier in the day we met with another part of the family. Here is a far more protective picture with the toddlers and their parents–sorry to not share more. We brought fruit and animal crackers–those growing girls loved munching on a pear and a peach, and our short visit was good fun!

Alera, Alex, David, Morgan

On through the trees and into the community garden area to finish the beautiful day.

Marc, here on the pathway, helped me raise five kids! He is still standing, God bless him.

An altogether happy Father’s Day with loved ones. My own father passed away 30 years ago, but he is lovingly recalled. I hope you were able to appreciate your fathers and grandfathers, here or gone, as well.

Monday’s Meander: Roving Along the Columbia River

Seen from the WA. side: Columbia River and OR.’s, Mt Hood
Steigerwald Wildlife Nature Preserve was sadly closed.

We started on the west side of the Columbia River in Washington State one hot afternoon. We had headed to a nature preserve but found it closed, so when we went on, seeking a different area. We found a small parking lot that with access to a walkway by the river. Since we’d not been on this southern part of the the river walk, we checked it out.

There is a reason why we hadn’t intended to stop there. The Captain William Clark Park (of Corps of Discovery, 1806–though we know Native Americans resided there…) is by a small city, Camas, so lots of people traverse that part of a very long, winding walkway. And we enjoy nature with far less people. But any river calls to me–I’ll stop at small or big ones, with or without parks or any path. Columbia River is one I deeply admire, am fascinated by–no matter how many times I visit it. At 1240 miles, starting in British Columbia and emptying into Pacific Ocean after flowing through seven U.S. states… mammoth. It also holds one third of our potential hydropower, so what a resource.

The photos attempt to share its softer nature that afternoon, and how people were enjoying it. We came to Cottonwood Beach which I did not photograph much; it was packed, to our surprise in this pandemic, and we avoided huge groups of friend and family gatherings–but they were having a pleasant time in the unusually warm sunshine.

It is hard to describe how big and deep and restless this river is. The often strong winds were were rather still; the water surface fairly calm. But when I see the boats out there with fisher persons, I wonder if they ever feel intimidated by the mighty currents that occur, the breadth and width and depth of it. It is one of the biggest rivers in the U.S. flowing by Portland as well as Vancouver, WA. metro. There has been. alas, flooding occasionally…

I leave you with a truer perspectives below, displaying both Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River Gorge as it rumbles, winds and sweeps toward the vaster Pacific. It was a relaxing afternoon on the WA. walk– but we do hope to hike in the Gorge soon again!

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 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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Monday’s Meander: Down Old River Road

We often enjoy a saunter –or power walk, depending on weather or inclination–that takes us down our area’s Old River Road. This time we also ventured a different direction and discovered a few new sights. One was the cottage above, seen again below. Another was this fancy pink bench right up to road’s edge–no bus stop or pathways. Just a bright bench in case you need a pause. It made me wonder who actually had sat at a woodland byway that does get residential traffic.

A couple of footbridges are crossed along the way. one with an impressive fringe of ferns. I tossed some leaves that twirled down to their destinations. It is that sort of walk…

But the real surprise was this totem pole…

and this delightful home, circa 1918.

I am enjoying every moment of dry weather we still have left in the Pacific Northwest, as temperatures drop, the winds pick up and cold morning fog sets in. Soon the rains will hit and linger for a few months. It is what it is–every season has its beauty. But, my, how I will miss the bright skies and long, hilly walks around and about our small city. Enjoy your week wherever you are. Yet I also keep in mind any Californians who are suffering significant losses again from the raging fires. May rain visit soon, fires be contained and come to a halt!