Monday’s Meander: Cross Cultural Wonder

Come with me to Portland’s Japanese Garden for an infusion of tranquility. I was determined to experience a few good excursions with Marc before he started a new job–and this was top of my list. I have posted photos for this garden 1-2 times a year; springtime holds it own magic.

First designed and developed in 1961 and opened in 1967, it is a place of respite and fine delights. Long considered one of the most lovely, authentic Japanese gardens of the world, it sits high and lofty within Washington Park (within larger Forest Park). The relatively new Tea House is pictured above left. Further construction has expanded its offerings, with educational and event buildings. More may be learned here: https://japanesegarden.org/about-portland-japanese-garden/.

View of downtown Portland, in front of the above exhibit building.
Crushed stone has swirling pattern raked in it, not apparent here.

We completed our sweet almost-otherworldly walk, then took a look at the International Rose Test Gardens nearby. A small teaser below.

We will return when those majestic blooms show beauty at greater advantage, in full bloom. Hoping your week is full of color and light.

Monday’s Meander: Lilacs, Rhoddies and More at the Farm

I decided I must give you flowers, lilacs, specifically, but also rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, peonies, irises, viburnum, wisteria and more…I am not a current gardener–some years have passed since we had a nice plot of land to grow much. But I appreciate all green growing things, flowers especially, now more than ever. My balcony is loading up with more potted flowers each week. And junco pair already took over my hanging fuchsia plant for nesting activity…

But today I’m at a favorite spring destination: Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, Washington. I post pictures every now and then but not last year. It was a pleasure to be able to re-visit at last. We may have been a bit early to take in all the bloomed varieties but it was worth the visit.

The farm is located on 4 acres of land, purchased in 1877 by it’s namesake’s parents. Huldas work with her lilacs expanded in 1905, and she added 14 new varieties. After she died, the Hulda Klager Lilac Society bought and maintained the gardens. The home and potting shed were refurbished. No tours of the humble but lovely house due to the pandemic, but I have often enjoyed a walk-through. Altogether a stop in WA. we have to make each year when we can.

I hope you also find the tour lovely and tranquil.

Please click through the slideshow to finish.

(An empty chair is for everyone loved and lost. Love never ends.)

Monday Meander: Grief as Companion for a Birthday at Jenkins Estate

It has been 11 days since our family’s loss. I keep walking, communing with nature. It is the only place I get real relief that means anything, something tangibly good and cohesive, fascinating and reassuring. Something powerful that does not unduly distort or painfully challenge, usually, what arrives with each day. Someone somewhere wrote that beauty is in itself a wonder but in the end it means nothing much. Not so for me. Nature’s offerings–even homelier parts–reflect the strange, abundant and always numinous to me. A walk or a hike, and explorations via boat ride, train ride or flight, even a drive in the car, a spin on a bike…these open my view and mind, and instruct me in more collaborative thinking, allow me to reach far beyond those sharp borders of ego-centered self.

I like to move and see and find things out.

Today, then, because I awakened again with tears and because it is my birthday, Marc and I visited the Jenkins Estate which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, built in the early 20th century on 68 acres. There are several outbuildings as well as the house (which is only partially visible here) in a style common to the NW for country gentry. We saw only a little of the grounds–rain threatened–and we will return. But today there were brightly greened trees and plants with scattered flowers abloom in the redolent, damp April dirt. I had wanted to see a garden today, but I am in love with the woods; it was a good walk.

And I took with me the weariness of loss; my husband walked slowly, as well. Often we are silent these days.

Grief is collective over time. And at times–especially since the pandemic– it seems to vibrate under the surface of all. I have felt it all my life, everywhere and in everyone, within all tableaus of life. As a therapist once pointed out to me, I carry grief for all life even as I celebrate living. How can it be otherwise? I truly haven’t always felt it frightening or depressing or damaging–and not endlessly. I feel it as part of intense, continuous currents of life. It has made me scream out or has sent me to my knees. But it also echoes a song so ancient, so profound that its ethereal yet earthy call evokes recognition not only of inevitable dying but of the potency of living and mysteriousness of becoming…from the moment we arrive until the moment we take our leave. So we are ever in the process of gathering close and letting go. I know this. We all know this. It doesn’t get easier, really, each death. It gets more familiar, a visitor we recognize and so let in, if reluctantly and with eyes cast down at first. But looking at it in its center becomes perhaps less daunting, less unsettling. Perhaps. It is a reminder: the transitoriness, evolution of beginning to ending to secret beginnings. For we know what was, what is now, and only guess at the years, the vistas to come.

I am 71 today. Every day I live is valued and lived in tested faith and a shimmering hope. I live inside this blood and bone, and deep within the spirit of Love, despite my paucity of wisdom and unnecessary desires.

Our granddaughter was 28 ; she knew loss before passing on, and such vivacious life.

Next time I return I will share more photos, offer other experiences. I only wanted to put down a few words, say a small hello to my fellow bloggers and readers. I wanted to say Krystal Joy’s name, to honor her being. The funeral is very soon. I am as grey shadow with marrow deep sadness but, too, I know she is free of a myriad burdens of humanness. The tricky ache of it.

We have so much invested in life’s ongoing and often random travels–even as we know all is temporal in this world. It is so worth it to me. May it also be worth the effort to you.

The Gate House, my favorite spot so far.

Monday’s Meander: NE Portland Sunny Sights Call Me–Again

Lion and the Rose Victorian Guest House

I cannot lie–though I have come to quite appreciate southwest Portland with its curvaceous topography, its serpentine, woodsy trails, I still feel a tug to the old neighborhood, close-in to city center. So I visit NE Portland–especially now that the weather has begun to turn a jot warmer and a tad drier. We call it spring when there are two days with little more than very small bursts of rain, the snowdrops, crocuses, camellias start to open and swaths of sunlight land gentle on the skin. Though I must say I wait, too, for the intense fragrance of daphne to find me.

So, off I went in search of blooms and bluer skies; the parks and buildings attract me, also. Here are a few shots from the old neighborhood. I guarantee there will be more to post as spring unfolds into summer and and then fall graces the yards and streets. Historic Irvington is that lovely.

Above and below displays some of an old hotel now operated as a bed and breakfast that has been sold a couple of times in 30 years. I noted it once again had a For Sale sign. I hope it isn’t ever demolished to make way for an apartment building. Though opened for guests in 1993, it is a mansion built in 1906, a melding of Craftsman and Victorian architecture and decoration.

As I stroll about the neighborhood, welcoming views catch my eye with their hints of longer, warmer days. Note pungent daphne, below with pink flowerlets and bright striated foliage. Could smell it long before I saw it.

I like the many sorts of fences and walls. The stone is well loved by mosses and colorful plants.

I could manage an entire post of graceful houses and never share them all from Irvington (if you live in Portland, take a long walk around and see for yourself). But here are three pleasant spots.

I’ve never understood these perched angels looking quite sullen and perhaps considering chastisements, but there you are. I suppose they’re doing their job, watching passersby.

I leave you with these small but happy moments–until next week.

Monday’s Meander/Photos: A Growing Urge for Spring

I walked longer and faster than usual, enjoying the surprising visitation of sunshine and blue skies. I was looking for signs of spring, yet did not see more than a few promising if tightly closed buds and a couple of flowers here above the city. But I well recall my old neighborhood’s abundant offerings so will share a few. May we always have flowers about us…and find peace and joy among them. I will await this year’s bloomings or will go in search for more before too long.