Ostara in the Woods

Dear Liza,

Sunday, I got to spend a wonderful afternoon in the Hoyt Arboretum with Auntie Katie, the Cousins, Katie’s friend Marion, and Marion’s two kids. We hiked, delighted in the new spring growth, and had an egg hunt to celebrate Ostara, a very ancient way of recognizing the Spring Equinox.

Getting new sets of kids together can be tricky, but Robin and Moss, Kestrel and Jasper got along very well and found they had lots in common. I took the young ones on a short hike in the woods while the moms and Robin hid the eggs in The Fairy Forest.

Since this is a real, free growing forest, the egg hunt was challenging! It took an hour or so for the three kids to find 60 eggs, nestled in fairy houses or perched on low hanging branches.

Some of the eggs held candy or lovely crystals, others, tiny toys made by Kestrel and Moss. We all nibbled on jellybeans and sunflower seeds to give us strength to continue. Marion lead us in a circle to encourage us to feel our connection to the earth and to feel our energy waking up with the Spring.

When the eggs were found, candy was nibbled, and we were all pretty chilled, we headed back into town for dinner at the food trucks of Cartopia. We were enjoying the fire pits as the rain started, but we were under cover and kept eating!

As the rain came down heavier, we all hugged goodbye and went our separate ways. What a day! What a family!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Hoyt Arboretum, Part 2

Dear Liza,

The Hoyt Arboretum kept showing us things we didn’t expect.

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It’s Cold!!

Coming out of the forest, we saw a grove full of lacy bamboo with something…odd…hanging in it. We headed down stone steps and past a Japanese style gate to where we found this sculpture, called Basket of Air, by Ivan McClean. The sphere  is about 6 feet in diameter, and it is suspended over a creek by cables attached to three bamboo poles. The “basket” is made of steel but looks as light as a soap bubble. It was so surprising, I laughed out loud! I want to visit it at other seasons, to see how it looks different.

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          Basket of Air by Ivan McClean                                              Photo Credit Bridgett Spicer

We headed off to The Holly Loop, where all sorts of holly bushes are growing. From the top of the loop we could see Mt. St. Helens, a volcano only sixty four miles away from Portland. Maybe we will go visit it sometime.

When we had seen all the forest we wanted, we started back down.

But wait! There’s the Veteran’s Memorial! Grandpa Nelson and I hadn’t seen it, but Auntie Bridgett had. She sat down to draw while We walked around.

The memorial is in a large ‘bowl’ in the shape of a spiral, and near the top are plaques remembering the Oregonians who died in the Viet Nam War. The war went from the 1950s to 1973, when Grandpa Nelson and I were growing up. My brother Tim was in the war, and Grandpa Nelson would have been if his draft number had come up. This war always feels more personal than others.

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Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial

The cold started to creep through our coats and gloves, and the sun on the moss was chillier. We picked up a very shivery Auntie Bridgett and headed home, for sure this time. Tea and hot cocoa, a rest, and then dinner, put us right.

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Cold Winter Sun Through Moss

Photo Credit Bridgett Spicer

Love,

Grandma Judy

Hoyt Arboretum, Part 1

Dear Liza,

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Heading west into town

On the first day of 2019, Grandpa Nelson, Auntie Bridgett and I drove west across the Willamette, through downtown, and out the other side, up into Washington Park. I have been there many times, to see the Zoo, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Children’s Museum, even the Holocaust Memorial last summer. But this time we headed for the Hoyt Arboretum.

An arboretum is like a zoo for trees, if you think about it. The trees are planted near others like them and are labeled so you know what they are and where they are from. Of course, the trees stay where they are put, so they don’t need fences. It felt more like a forest. An icy cold, bright, sunshiny  forest.

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Frosty Lace

Grandpa Nelson had done some looking and found something labeled “The Winter Garden” in the arboretum. He knew I liked gardens, and it’s winter…. so we headed there. It was still 37 degrees F, so there was a pretty lacy edge of frost on everything. Even the weeds by the parking lot were pretty.

The trees that lose their leaves already have, leaving beautiful stark branches against the blinding blue sky. I want to capture those shapes, somehow. Maybe with some nice thin lines of embroidery somewhere.

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Squirrels, chubbing out

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Lovely delicate branches

We saw two squirrels sitting on maple branches that seemed too thin to support them, methodically eating the seeds one by one and dropping the husks. Grandpa Nelson said they should keep eating until the branch breaks, because then they will know they are fat enough!

The Winter Garden is really a very small part of the arboretum and there were some little lily sort of flowers blooming, which is unusual in January. The label was too small for me to read. The ferns were frosty and there was the tiniest creek running through by them.

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Flowers in January!

Down a hill past the Redwood Deck, where a wedding was being held, the trees got taller. Cedars, redwoods and pines towered overhead. We felt as tiny as rabbits.

I will tell you more about the arboretum tomorrow.

Love, Grandma Judy

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Feeling very small….