Portland has the largest urban forest reserve in the U.S. No kidding. The Hoyt Arboretum, Washington Park, Macleah Park, and others, all form a long line of forested hills (the Tualatin Mountains that barely get up to 1000 feet). One can take the Wildwood Trail for something like 30 miles or so. I did six of them yesterday.
I’ve yet to make it up into the NW corner of the park. Before I moved to Oregon I listened to a story on NPR about a father who was homeless and was raising his daughter from a campsite in the remote corner of the park (5100 acres) and they would make weekly trips to town for supplies. I’ve only been in the lower half and ventured two miles into the upper half (above Burnside Road) yesterday. Someday soon I’ll drive to the north and walk south.
But yesterday I went to the Arboretum. It is a magickal place. If I loved the Houston Arboretum, this one will fill in nicely. I do miss the pond at the Houston Arboretum, but so far I am finind plenty of spots for personal reflection. I had gone to the Arboretum the day before and loved the deepening twilight, the many species of trees, and the sounds of the birds. I didn’t feel motivated to go anywhere the next day, but when I did get out into the trees my heart leapt in my chest and I felt the thrill of being surrounded by such beauty. I knew that there are many things in life that are good but we often lack the motivation to reach for them.
I carried a book with me, but never slowed down to read it. I kept walking. The day before I was slow and thinking, today I was walking out the cobwebs. I would occaionally stop when a sight would grab my attention. I’d admire the view of Mt St Helens, or Mt Rainer, or Mt Hood from some lofty overlook. But more than not I’d like to be enveloped by the folds of the forest.
My phone just rang. It is Eliza and she is done with her hair. Time to go.