Thursday, March 01, 2007

Westward, Ho!

This past week, my husband and I traveled to Portland, Oregon—he had a business meeting there; I went along for the ride.

I remember being in Oregon many years ago, when I was a child, and the only place I remember visiting was Grants’ Pass, Oregon. I specifically remember that place name because, while we were there, my mother got word that the son of her oldest sister had been killed in a motorcycle accident. He was 18, and the story we were told was that someone else, intent on self-destruction, had jumped out in front of Merle. Merle was the one who was killed. Anyway, I remember the name of the place, but nothing about it.

I was excited about this trip, partly because Portland is called the City of Roses, and seems like a great place to live. Well, lucky us, we encountered non-stop rain for the duration of our trip. But, we didn’t let that stop us. We visited places in the area (more to come later) and ignored the rain as best we could.

One day, we walked around Portland, and visited Chinatown and the Chinese Gardens there. What a lovely island of tranquility among all the glass high-rise buildings and noise of constant traffic. The Portland Classical Chinese Garden was built in conjunction with Portland’s sister city, Suzhou, China.

The garden occupies one acre, which had previously been a parking lot. I thought of the line from the song “They paved Paradise, and put up a parking lot.” Well, here they dug up a parking lot and put up Paradise.

Even on a rainy day, we reveled in the early blooming trees, the patterns of raindrops on the lakes, the sound of waterfalls, the (unidentified) birds hopping and flitting around. It was a delightful destination on this trip.

The garden plantings, and layout were very intentionally done to appeal to all the senses--here, the lovely pale yellow paper bush appealed to smell with its delicate scent.

Intertwined with all the garden plantings are water pools, falls, streams--all appealing to sight and sound. The building shown is called Painted Boat in Misty Rain. Well, there was certainly misty rain that day!

Between buildings are covered walkways, or stone paths. Each area has a stone floor with its own unique design. No two designs are alike. Visitors are encouraged to remove their shoes and socks to get the full sensation (and the sense of touch) as they walk on the cobble stones.

The constant moisture leaves every available space covered in moss!

Brilliant splashes of color interrupt the cool greens and pale blues.

Two birds, one atop the stylized dragon, and the other hopping around, seemingly pecking at berries on the ground. No idea what kind of birds!

The last of the senses--at the close of our visit, we stopped at the Tea House, and enjoyed a cup of tea, and a pot. To drink from the cup on the left, you pick up the whole contraption, slightly tilt the lid, then sip.


Climenheise said...

I wondered what you were doing in Portland: now we have an idea. A lot of colour in spite of the rain and fog obscuring the mountains. I didn't know the details of Merle's death -- I thought it was a train. But that was before I was born, which was a while ago. Thanks for the pictures to brighten our latest winter storm. Winter lasts a long time out here on the prairies (five months on average), and a bit of anticipation goes a long way.

Mary said...

Donna, I missed your posts! Your photos and descriptions are so lovely. I've never been to Oregon but I have heard it's a place worth visiting. Post more!

Cathy said...

It's so interesting to be reading your post about rain and luxuriant green - the sounds of dripping and flowing water. I'm in the desert for another 2 days and really enjoyed the pictures of such a different part of the country. I'd really like to know what the bird is. What a lovely blue. (That's a sad story about Merle)

Body Soul Spirit said...

I really enjoyed your post, the photos of the gardens (and the teapot :)). The link about the gardens is very interesting. I would trade rain and green for white and ice at this very moment!

LauraO said...

I've never been to Oregon either, but was surprised to see it not buried in snow. I thought it would be, for some reason. Enjoyed the Chinese garden.

KGMom said...

The bird which I had not identified appears to be a western scrub jay. See photo here: