summer heat waves

Clackamette Cove

With the summer off (first unpaid "sabbatical" ever!), I often head riverside. These photos were taken in early July during Portland's second major heat wave, though we've had additional heat waves since with stretches in the 90s and just last week tipping over 100 degrees. In early evenings after the sun has waned, I'll typically stuff a bag with a library book, my phone, my keys, a picnic blanket, and maybe some water, toting it across the river to sit on the high grassy bank overlooking Clackamette Cove on the Oregon City side.

Occasionally, I'll stay long enough to watch the sun drop into the West Hills. Mostly I simply lie under a hat and read, or take a phone call, or just sit with my legs crossed and breathe, in and out, staring out at the water and any cloud formations. I've seen osprey dive for fish and bats flitting among the trees at dusk, ducks congregating near the boat launch, and nutria and humans swimming slowly across the cove (though not, of course, together). The river is where I feel the most peace amid the chaos of life.

dry grasses above Clackamette Cove

seed pods, Clackamette Cove

field of Queen Anne's lace, Clackamette Cove

unknown yellow flower, Clackamas River

sunburned tree leaves, Clackamas River

red bumblebee

Caroline Z. Hurley Hannah throw (aka picnic blanket) with secondhand Kenyan tote

In summers past, I've most used my two thrifted colorful striped cotton picnic blankets. This season, I've been grabbing my Caroline Z. Hurley black linen Hannah throw right off the sofa. Even though it's a now-faded black and thus heat-absorbent, the linen feels cool to the skin and shields my bare legs and arms from the bluff's prickly dry cut grass. For me, even a picnic without food is still a picnic (since I don't know any other word in English for lounging on a blanket in public places). The key is making yourself at home in nature, even with something as simple as a blanket for shelter.

What is your own happy place close to home?

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