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.
I had mentioned before that our area spreads about an extinct volcano, Mount Sylvania–one of several that provide enjoyable small “peak experiences” around Portland. This one is about 1000 feet. Nansen Summit (named for Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian diplomat, polar explorer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient) is close enough to walk to–if you call trudging up a long, steep incline mere walking. The area is lushly green on the way and when at top, gratifying as when final views are embraced with wind and sunshine. The West Hills, Tualatin Valley can be seen. The more distant Coast Range is often clear enough to take in, as well as the Cascades. It was a bit smoggy or misty (take your pick; we do often have some foggy conditions) that day. Portland sprawls below the volcanic site.
We headed down the other side of the steep hill to look about, and turned this way and that to avoid residential areas with imposing homes since we like being in nature more. All persons we passed on foot–a couple dozen in an hour–were friendly as usual, if “socially distanced.” We were surprised so many were venturing out with the virus worry, but good to see as t hey stayed safely apart.
The previous day we enjoyed a familiar Willamette River walk. A creek or two also gurgle along as they seek to join the big waterway. Perhaps this is the last time we will be there for awhile; Governor Brown, following many others, has mandated today that we “stay at home.” We can still walk, run and hike in more open swaths of space and air but carefully, where there are fewer people…But Saturday there was no mandate and there were some groups gathered, to my surprise, especially young people who love the water. Of course, six feet apart is not always hard to accomplish outdoors–not on some water craft. We saw a fair number of lone fishermen and women, also.
Marc enjoying a view; me, taking a break before entering a city park. All in all, two happy walkabouts we got in over the week-end! It sure is true that fresh air and feet on the move are always good if possible. See you soon with my usual “Wednesday’s Words” post. Until then, be well. I am off for a shorter, chillier walk.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have been close to home lately with the unpredictable coronavirus showing up in our area; it is also generally quite cold, often cloudy or foggy and damp again so I am not tromping far afield, though I keep up my walks. So I looked through old posts and found one that provided some good cheer: “She Who Rules Wisely: Troll Runs the Show”, posted in 2013. It was a visit to a local arts museum that inspired this. It may not seem like a meander at first glance–more an outing and experience–but imagination can take us anywhere, and I revisited past pleasures so this time it counts! I hope you enjoy foolish, fun time I had with the above troll. (She still resides with me on a bookshelf.)
She Who Rules Wisely: Troll Runs the Show
My family recently enjoyed a reunion for a week. We shared a variety of activities and talked from morning until evening. Our five adult children landing within the same city limits is a rare event. They got to reunite with an uncle and three aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews.
One sunny afternoon we explored a few offerings of downtown Portland. My oldest daughter is an artist and since we all love the arts, we visited the choice Museum of Contemporary Craft. We saw an exhibit of bowls in many mediums displayed as part of a project organized by Ayumi Horie in partnership with the museum entitled “Object Focus: The Bowl”. Particularly curious was a table lined with bowls that we could pick up and examine, think about, admire. An option for the visitor was choosing an artist whose bowl was enjoyed, thus being given the privilege of taking a similar bowl home to use by checking it out at the Circulation Desk. This part of the project is called “Object Focus: The Bowl, Engage + Use.”
Yes, that’s correct–we got to utilize the very art that museums typically discourage us from touching. What an adventurous concept! I was all in, especially when the others encouraged me. We all agreed we would at least use a unique and beautifully crafted bowl for an upcoming family BBQ. The daughters started to think of foods the bowl might hold. I finally chose one created by Mike Helke. It is an unusual shape, and the glazes are lovely. I knew it could make something good happen.
We did fill the bowl with a luscious fruit salad for our family reunion meal. But we had a few other ideas and I seized upon one in particular.
It involves a troll. My troll.
She Who Rules Wisely (aka Crone aka Old Troll) was given to me by my mother over thirty-five years ago, following a Scandinavian trip my parents took. I think of this carved creature as an ancient and watchful being from first, another dimension, and second, a region that attracts me with its natural grandeur and history. Since her kind supposedly has power there and in my house, I afford her respect and a prominent place of repose.
Every now and then we talk a little in secret, I must admit…she is reassuring yet stern, frank but humorous–much like my mother and her sisters have been, reasonably…. But most of all, “SWRW” is a survivor and considers herself queenly when at her best. In fact, she confides she borders on goddess-hood. She is part of a long and dignified history whether or not we humans get it. (In truth, she is a bit raggedy after her nearly legendary life, but I would never mention it to her face…)
There was no question that she would chime in when she saw the bowl brought home. She has opinions, after all–and does adore the limelight. What follows is a transcription of her responses, aided by pictures she has allowed.
“I see. Trying to get this one over me, eh? I happen to have been thinking about boats and beds, either of which this great piece of ceramic might become. Allow me to investigate further. I can’t sleep anyway, with all the racket.”
“Yes, yes. About the right size. Sturdy yet elegant. Best colors I’ve seen in eons. But which to use it for…no, no suggestions needed!”
“‘Oh, sail me across the great Atlantic, take me back to my fiords, my dear! Make me a bed in the deep velvety forest, my true love does awaitme there!’ What? My voice needs a tune up, you say? Rude…never mind. This suits me well. But would it sink…anyone check that out yet? What are the specs?”
“This looks and feels nothing whatsoever like the ocean…”
“That was extraordinarily taxing to flip over. No, I didn’t need your help. I need to get my exercise regimen in gear, anyway. I am aged, I do need my cardio. But now, what to do, what to do? I feel at home in here…A bed, a boat. Shhh…! I’m cogitating. “
“Brain fatigue. I might need to rest up first. Not as quick as I used to be. Wait….that gives me another thought. Watch this.”
“Not so easy to get comfortable, I admit, but I’ve known rocks that were much worse. The three rectangles are a deft touch but this rounded side sleeps poorly. I could use a cushy bed of moss about now. What did you say the craftsman was building? Right, bowls.”
“Okay, it’s the fabric that is half the problem. Where did you get this? I don’t like it. Cheap. Remove at once.”
“An improvement but somewhat claustrophobic. Reminds me of some fishing boats I’ve sheltered under during my unbelievably long, occasionally nomadic life. I could tell you stories!– another time. If I could, I’d close my other eye and sleep away the rest of the evening. This whole experience is inspiring but, I have to admit, tiring.”
“You know what? I appreciate the generous offer, but you may keep it, Cynthia. It looks good, you like it, but to me it’s a boat that won’t float and a bed that hexes snoozing. My tail is starting to drag now. Let me give you some advice. Next time you want to bring home art, take me with you. I’m available for consulting for a reasonable fee. Speaking engagements, as you know, are a heftier investment. But they might not be about any arts that you’d appreciate. I know things, you know.”
“Hey…okay, here we go again. Storytellers–you all have to have the very last word. Wait–keep that profile shot–my best side! I do look pretty good, eh? Yes, I do. And I’ve got my eye on you, my dear!”