Yes, the snow is barely melted in the neighborhood, but the sun came out yesterday and showed us some signs of spring.
At Laurelhurst Park, the totally saturated ground and heavy ice from our last storm caused another great tree to fall. This is on the edge of what I call The Ravine, and has been in many of my photos of this part of the park. It was angular and leaning and beautiful.
It is sad to see such a fine specimen down. This cusp between winter and spring can be difficult to navigate safely.
But there are more gentle signs of spring. Tiny crocuses coming up beside napping angels.
Early blooming trees cheering us up and letting us know that winter doesn’t last forever.
The list of folks getting vaccinated grows every day, making us all safer. And when we get ours, life will get more mobile and more fun. Then I will get to come visit you. And that will be very sweet.
After we realized the front gate was blocked, we headed out the garage door. Snow was there, too, but we could stomp through and get to the sidewalk, anyway. We walked toward Laurelhurst Park, staring at icicle drips and snow covered steps along the way.
We watched a cheery parade of folks dragging sleds and carrying plastic trash can lids. Every pair of cross country skis in East Portland was in use. It was like a party!
And once we got to the park, the fun continued. Sledders found the ravine. Big fluffy dogs rolled and ran in the snow, like kids let out of school. People of a certain vintage walked like penguins, taking tiny steps.
At the west end of the park, one of the hundred year old trees had fallen across SE 33rd, barely missing the windows and facade of a house almost as old as the tree. It must have been a windier night than I realized! Of course, the downed tree became a temporary jungle gym for neighborhood kids, who climbed over its frosted branches.
By this time, my phone and I were both out of energy, so Auntie Bridgett and I trudged home. But this snow isn’t going anywhere for a day or two, so I’ll show you more frozen beauty tomorrow.
For the last few days, we have been in a river…. an atmospheric river, to be exact. This is a system of very wet air that has blown up from the tropics, bumped into our cold air, and is just dumping water like crazy. This is a lot of rain, even for drippy Portland.
So of course we went for a walk to lovely Laurelhurst Park. The hillsides are muddy and very slick, so I stayed on the path. The last thing I need from 2020 is a busted bottom. The puddles forming by the path made perfect mirrors to appreciate the majestic trees and gray skies.
Firwood Lake has had a particularly thick layer of duckweed this year, looking more like a soccer field in some areas. But at the east end, a surreal swirly effect is finding new ways to be beautiful.
And just as I thought the swirly green and black water couldn’t get more weirdly beautiful, a raindrop plopped in and created concentric circles.
Life is beautiful, even (or maybe especially) in the rain.
We had a slow walk around Laurelhurst Park on Thanksgiving, to settle our dinner and enjoy being out in the world. Laurelhurst was planted in 1913, so most of the trees are huge. It feels like a tame forest and is my favorite place in the city.
This Fall, Firwood Lake is covered with duckweed and looks more like lawn than a pond. It is oddly beautiful.
The old-fashioned lamps look beautiful against the trees in any season.
The bright yellow of birches and ginkgoes brightens up the darkest corners of the woods.
On a day when we were not with friends or family and were feeling a little sad, it was good to get out and be part of the beauty.
While we were reading the news and doing Duolingo this past Saturday morning, we heard a “Whoop!”from outside, a random celebratory yell.. We opened the window. More whoops, some car horn honks….
“Turn on the news!!” And there it was, CNN calling Pennsylvania’s ballot count for Joe Biden, putting him over the top and making him the President Elect of the United States.
We danced, we sang, we got dressed, we needed to get out and walk. Grandpa Nelson woke up and decided he needed to go with us. We waved to folks who smiled and waved back, sang, danced, and honked their horns. People in the park were happily walking dogs. The whole city was celebrating!
We stopped by Oblique Coffee for two pounds of their fine dark roasted beans, and the folks there were happy, too. We all felt as though we have been holding our breath and clinching our teeth for four years.
Between happy thoughts of new beginnings for our country (after the remaining 72 days of Mr. Trump’s term are over) and the lovely chilly morning, bright with leaves, we had quite a nice morning.
Back home, I felt that I wanted to make some happy art. My first thought was “Making a New World”. I pulled some papers out of my collection, and laid them out very slowly, not thinking much, just eyeballing the colors.
I cut a circle out of scrap paper and glued the collage papers onto it, overlapping and just playing. Once it dried, I cut out the circle out and put it on a page in my journal, then added some words. A little shading, and I think it’s done.
We ordered pizza for dinner and watched our Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and President-Elect Joe Biden make their first official speeches to a socially distanced crowd in Delaware. They spoke of healing, caring, and uniting our bruised country, of fighting the corona virus and not each other. I was happy all over again at hopeful new beginnings.
I haven’t been going to the park much this Summer, because so many of the folks who visit do not wear masks and I would rather stay safe. But I love Laurelhurst Park, and I have missed it. So, today I masked up and headed off.
All our favorite trees are still there, and some are even showing a bit of fall color.
But Firwood Lake, home to dozens of ducks, turtles and fish, is covered with GREEN!
A tiny plant called Duckweed is growing so thick, it looks like a soccer field…smooth and green. It is not dangerous to anyone, and the birds and fish like it. But it sure looks weird.
The only places where the duckweed isn’t growing are where the circulation pumps are, which disturbs the surface of the water.
In our three years visiting Laurelhurst Park, we have seen giant trees fall, new ones get planted, Shakespeare performances, and even Big Band concerts. So I guess an outbreak of manic duckweed isn’t surprising. But I wanted to share it with you.
Fall is the time for endings and beginnings. The trees teach us that, and here in our neighborhood I have lots of teachers!
The huge oaks and chestnut trees are shedding their leaves, which have danced all summer long.
They are casting their collective futures to the wind as seeds come clonking to the ground. Acorns, chestnuts, fir cones, and tiny maple helicopters fall and fly and eventually pile up, hoping to find just the right place to take root.
I think it is fitting that our human institutions are tied to this idea of endings and beginnings. Summer ends, school starts. Elections allow for new directions for our city and country.