Not long ago, I took my still-sore knee and headed to the Champoeg State Heritage Area, an Oregon state park, after three months’ absence due to winter rains. A beaming blue day with temps in the mid-50s enticed us to ramble through woods, fields and wetlands that border the Willamette River. Campers utilize this park well and fishing is popular but we saw people only here and there that afternoon, with a few walking their dogs.
Spring is indeed stirring more in Oregon. Next visits will reveal even richer greens and brighter birdsong along the many rivers we utilize and admire.
In the midst of sad and alarming news of this world, and upcoming anniversary dates of many family members who have passed, I need to dote on flowers. It has been raining several days and will be for another week, greyness permeating sky and woods and reaching inside these walls. And I am still nursing the torn meniscus, so there are far fewer hearty walks. It seems I must wait to go in search of the living beauties. However, I’ve found other early March photos of common Portland neighborhoods’ spring flowers.
They gently tend my spirit; perhaps they will lift yours, too. Though sorrows often linger, nature’s sublime beauty and constancy help us become stronger. I plan to share more current spring garden walks. And I offer a small spontaneous poem at the end since I’ve not posted any the last two “Friday’s Poem” feature.
I’ll close with another outing from yesterday. The outdoor mall was only one stop among several. The second photo is of my youngest daughter and me earlier, masked but pleased to be out (sunshine beamed so bright for this shot). We tallied up Christmas gifts, ate a light lunch at sidewalk tables, shopped more, had a cookie and coffee break–we were out from noon ’til night. This is a rare amount of time together (she works full time, has toddler twins) so we were very grateful for this day.
It has been a week since I last posted coastal views, a time length unprecedented these days –unless I might be on a long vacation. How lovely that would be! But, no, it was less fun that that. I took it easy while my immune system responded to dose #2. I am raring to go again and glad to be at my desk once more.
During the latter part of our last coastal outing, we visited two favorites: Sitka Sedge State Natural Area and the village of Oceanside. Sitka Sedge is 357 acres of tidal marsh, mudflats, estuary and dunes. Sedge is a native wild grass both graceful and important to the ecological balance. There are forested wetlands and plenty of wildlife, including beaver, coyote, black bear and bobcat. It is a birders true heaven. We walked almost to the hidden beach and turned back; the hour was getting late. We wanted to start back north to another gorgeous beach. But there are 3.5 miles of trails we will get back to explore if we plan to start closer to this site.
Below, enjoy shots of Sitka Sedge. There were a few groups we passed; shortly it became deeply peaceful again.
We ended that meander and headed north to Oceanside. It lies a few miles west of the sprawling dairy farming community of Tillamook, where many of the best cheeses and other milk products in Oregon are made. I have visited Oceanside ever since I was 42 and first moved to OR. permanently with two of my teenaged children. My sister, Allanya, owned a weekend house with a chunk of land down the way on Whiskey Creek Rd. for many years, as well. (Some of us thought it haunted, but we stayed overnight often, anyway. The deer in the watering hole behind it were beautiful to discover.)
Oceanside can get very crowded anymore–but we still love it there. The landslide that occurred at its beach earlier this year was cleaned up. All seemed safe enough, for now. Below, part of the village on the hill. The clifftop motel is not far from the landslide point. I wonder if it will finally close. We stayed there decades ago–quite a view!
Here is a slideshow for better continuity as the late afternoon melded into evening.
Everyone seemed so happy to be in the salt sea air, basking in early spring sunlight and moving through sunset magic. I hope you can find a place to breathe deeply and explore nature more soon. Find the wonders of coming days and nights or, at the least, share kind exchanges, and I’ll see you Wednesday with a longform/creative nonfiction post.
I am feeling a bit impatient about tulips–how much longer…? It should be enough that there are vincus, cherry blossoms, daffodils, hyacinths, azaleas, rhoddies, camellias, magnolias, daphne, pansies and several more showing off their colorful designs. I even saw my first wild trilliums over the weekend, a small but distinctive joy I get every Pacific Northwest spring. But it’s tulips I start thinking of…perhaps because my mother told me as a child that tulips bloom in April, the month I was born–so it must be my flower.
Or maybe it’s because my sister, Marinell, liked them and I miss her–she died around my birthday a few years ago. Plus, a happy memory is how much we enjoyed a three-sisters trip to a tulip festival in Washington in 2013. From my oldest sister’s home in Issaquah, WA., it was an easy drive and we made a day outing of it. It was one of the last Sisters’ Trips that Allanya, Marinell, and I took. So, it is only natural that I think of her and spring rambles with pleasure.
I hold tulips in high regard. I appreciate their ubiquitousness, their commonness; they have few frills, less fragrance. Sturdy, with three petals and three sepals to make it seem as if six petals, the tulip is a brightly hued, rather humble bloom that nonetheless looks pleased with its elegant simplicity. They seem easy to grow. Tulips traditionally symbolize love and spring’s arrival–entirely apt, in my opinion. Apparently in the 1600s they were considered extremely valuable and cost a fortune. Another factoid: there are almost 150 various species, and over 3000 naturally derived and cultivated varieties in the world. And they are related to a flower I do consider more fancy while also attractive (but often smellier)–the lily.
But enough talk. Here are photos from our trip in 2013, a cloudy day that was bursting with color and smiles. This might hold me until they show themselves in my neighborhood!
An imperturbable demeanor comes from perfect patience. Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune and misfortune at their own private pace like a clock during a thunderstorm.—Robert Louis Stevenson