Saturday, November 18, 2006

Invigoratingly Bleak

I just got back from a hike through Powell Butte Park in Southeast Portland. The sky was a uniform pearly gray, the watery sunshine we’d had earlier in the day having abandoned its perfunctory show of force. The wind was strong enough to flip the part in my hair from the left side of my head to a sort of wishy washy center-right position. It was the kind of day every day in November should strive to be. Bleak! But invigoratingly bleak!

I quickly launched myself up toward the top of Powell Butte—more to try to warm up than to take in the view. The view was great right from the start. I could see Mount Hood, with a pleasingly even sifting of powdered sugar on it. Mount St. Helens was right there as well, a Bundt cake with a heavy-handed coating of glaze.

On my way up, I passed thickets of shrubby trees with garnet-hued berries, ever so slightly shriveled. Elderberries? There is an Elderberry Trail in Powell Butte, so that’s my best guess. I wonder what the policy is on picking them. Ixnay, probably. But wouldn’t it be cool to have a ready source of elderberries? I’ve l always wanted to try making elderberry wine.

The real reason I was at Powell Butte, however, was to walk through its groves of Western Redcedars, the best in all of Portland. The trunks of the Redcedars at Powell Butte have the most amazing blue-green mossy lichen-y thing going on. The color is exactly the color of the patina that forms on bronze statues. Gorgeous! Why did I have to forget my camera?

Anyway, those groves just seemed magical to me on a day like today. Walking through them was like being a character in one of the stories in The Blue Fairy Book or The Red Fairy Book or The Violet Fairy Book—books that I checked out in constant rotation from the library when I was a kid. I was so forest-deprived! I had to live vicariously through fairy tales.

Today’s Random NaBloPoMo blog: The Molly Bawn Chronicles


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