|cherry blossoms and bridges, Waterfront Park, Portland|
An old friend far away said the other day, after I'd mentioned some of the things I've been doing lately for socializing and inspiration, that I have "such a cool life." She was referring to my attending the Portland Art Museum's free night, the fourth Friday of each month; book readings at Powell's down the street, like Lorrie Moore's last week; an occasional free Pink Martini concert over at Pioneer Courthouse Square; monthly Willamette Writers speaker meetings at the Old Church. Her statement took me aback because I tend to believe the opposite, that my life should be larger, more interesting, making me reflect on how perception is relative, how things appear from a distance, from the outside, versus up close. I mean, seriously, this friend lives in London, which dwarfs Portland with over 240 museums showcasing a long, rich history of conquest, empire, and postcolonial tensions, and where many of its world-class museums like the Tate Modern and the National Gallery are free, while our provincial Portland museums and private gardens charge anywhere between $10-15 dollars per adult—unless one slips in during the rare and crowded free days. Who's jealous of whom here?
|tethered lion, NW Portland|
|Oregon grape blossoms, March 2014|
|spilled gumdrops (DOTS), downtown Portland sidewalk|
I'm a natural homebody: I must force myself to take to the streets. Living downtown has made such things easier because now I'm closer to the central action here in Portland, one of the most hipster cities in America, its influential quirks lampooned on TV. So, yes, I've been making more of an effort to expand my little life in the provinces. Now that the weather is warming, that effort will extend into the outdoors.
|phone pole with staples, March 2014, NW Portland|
|thorns, SW Portland|
|green graffiti, SW Portland|
|Burnside Bridge and cherry blossoms, March 2014|
Here are more things I aim to do in future springs and summers:
- Walking the trails of Forest Park, being especially drawn to the Lower Macleay to Stone House trail to see the old WPA structure (I ♥ the WPA and we need a new one!)
- Watching the Grand Floral Parade and the Starlight Parade at the Rose Festival for the first time (even though I've lived here for over six years now)
- Biking through the Powell Butte Nature Park (though I first need to find a bike, since neither this one nor this one worked out)
- Picnicking on the cove at Oswald West State Park, near my favorite, secluded little town on the Oregon Coast, Manzanita
- Touring the Tillamook Cheese Factory, also over on the north coast, since I've never been, though I've eaten their famous cheddar my whole life
- Spectating for free at Shakespeare-in-the-Parks, one of which I saw setting up two years ago while touring a graveyard
- Lying on one of my striped picnic blankets, listening to some of the free Concerts in the Park, particularly those up the hill at Washington Park or just blocks away at Director Park
- Camping over in high-and-dry central Oregon at the John Day Fossil Beds, since if I'd been a hard scientist, I would have been a geologist
- Forging the creek, mid-thigh, up Oneonta Gorge (for the second time) to the waterfall pool along a canyon stacked with ferns on a blisteringly hot summer day, which almost feels like hiking in Kauai
|Tom McCall Waterfront Park cherry blossoms, March 2014|
What do you do in and around Portland, Oregon?