I woke up yesterday with a really strong feeling that I had to get going. I needed to leave. I wanted to get out. While I’m not currently punching a time clock and not really expected to show up anywhere (other than by the food dish to fill the bellies of my feline monsters), yesterday I just needed to go. A couple of weeks ago, I spied some cherry blossom trees in bloom down by the waterfront and for some reason, I really wanted to check them out. You know you’re reaching a certain age when a seasonal floral event is a “rouse you out of bed” sort of thing. Whether it was my age or an itch to see something springtime-ish, I just knew I had to GTFO. So drizzle be damned, I hightailed it over to the waterfront park.
Yet when I got there it looked as if the poor trees had been crying pink tears. The path beneath them was dotted with petals. These lush blush-colored beauties were now mostly spring green and didn’t exactly offer up an apology for not living up to my geriatric, floral fantasy. Might as well walk the “floating bike path” was my thought. Okay. I didn’t know that it was even called a floating bike path until the bearded guy with a ponytail told his bike tour group that’s what it was called. He also said it was the largest floating bike path in North America. So there you go. Armed with that little nugget of trivia, I marched forward. After coming from the driest winter in Colorado in quite some time, I’m still in love with the romance of walking in the rain. It’s still lovely and cinematic. Check in with me next year and I’ll let you know I how I feel but for now I’m happy to slosh around town in my boots.
While the natural beauty was sleepier than I had expected, I wasn’t bored visually. Portland has this rad mix of super industrial steel and old bridges mixed with flowering trees and leaves so green they look like Kermit decorated the joint. It’s man-made meets nature and they oddly seem to get along and even look fantastic together. Like the section of the path that runs parallel with the train tracks. As I walked it yesterday, a train was rumbling by while the water on the other side of me stayed calm and unimpressed. Standing there snapping photos, my body rocked back and forth. Soon, whatever I was thinking about was drowned out by the sound of train. It was exhilarating and meditative at the same time, if that makes any sense. Either way, I ‘m pretty sure some old cherry blossoms couldn’t pull that off.
Splashes of street art were guideposts as I continued walking. Locks placed on the fences, Sharpie written declarations of love and perfectly placed illustrations all blended in as if they were meant to live there too.
Walking, as I’ve mentioned before, is sort of my magic potion. I haven’t been feeling depressed lately but maybe a little lonely since the hubby’s not around for me to annoy. Also, the sluggishness of relocating has certainly taken its toll too. So moments like this one, doing something I love and doing it alone, that need to be hung on and slipped into my pocket. A very satisfied looking goose just hanging out on a log by himself, whom I bumped into a little further down the path, seemed to confirm this.
An hour into my journey, I’d forgotten what had brought me there in the first place. I was calm and happily exhausted/hungry. I decided to call it and head back home. On my way past a firehouse nearby the waterfront, there it was: the reason, the emergency that made me leave my warm, toasty house.
Fragrant and a candy color of pink I want my whole life to look like, there was a row of flowering trees with no one around. This private natural art show was on view in an unexpected place and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I sniffed them and took a ridiculous amount of photos as the nonplussed firemen on their way into the station gave me a smirk and a “What Up, bro” head nod. This little blooming surprise was the emergency I woke up for. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Several hours later, the news of the US bombing Syria hit. While not unexpected, it certainly falls under the holy fuck category of things. Violent, depressing and sure to open a can of worms, this was a real emergency. The thought of the civilians taken out by such an action churns my stomach. It’s the kind of news that made me head to bed early and watch stupid Food Network Shows until I passed out.
In a post-news, pre-coffee haze, the thought hit me this morning, maybe things like enjoying nature, hanging out with friends, reading, laughing and walking are vital in times like ours. My time here on this little rock is limited and I want to squeeze in as much amazing as possible. Sure, to look the other way and pretend everything is just fabulous isn’t a cool way to live your life. Acting oblivious to the world around me has never, ever done me any favors. But I also refuse to spend my days huddled in fear and feel victimized by every piece of terrible news. My only option? To take all of it seriously, to help people when I can, to laugh when I can and to get out and enjoy beauty. Especially when it feels like an emergency.