Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Narrow View

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is an incredible place to live! Amazing scenery plus rich pioneer and Indian history make it one of the country’s most spectacular scenic areas. Commemorative sites and expansive parks abound.

My new home, Wood Village, is known as The Gateway between Metro Portland and The Gorge. It is here that the roadside steepens and the highway winds closer to the riverbank. A gorge, by definition, is a narrow place and this is no exception. All the east-west traffic goes through here so the Columbia River, Interstate 84 and the Railroad share the cramped ground space, and planes in and out of Portland International are in the air space above. A cacophony of sound results, urban music related to travel and thriving commerce and the comings and goings of people and goods.

Planes, trains, automobiles, houses, stores, businesses…we are all crammed in here together. We learn a different way of creating space for ourselves that is not measured by geographic square feet (or miles) but by mindfulness and purpose. My little spot is buffered from the constant flow of movement by sturdy fences and tall pine trees. Double pane windows filter noise. You learn to use the Bucket Approach to nature (one which I have often espoused) which is LOOK UP.

From here the ridges rise to the south and to the north across the river in Washington State (the small town of Camas). The sky is full of clouds and two nights ago when it was clear, I could see a crescent moon hanging and Mars sparkling as it passes close to earth (42.8 billion miles).

Outdoors beckons in Oregon. Amid the metropolitan busyness, nature is everywhere you look. Parks…parks…parks. Gardens and verdant spots tucked here and there. And just to the South, Mt. Hood rises in all her magnificence to guard this place. Two miles away, the Sandy River joins the Columbia and the Delta it forms is another conservation area. The pines and other conifers of the adjoining forest are part of Mt. Hood National Forest. Nearby Gresham has 240 acres of parks. Yesterday I visited Lewis & Clark Park and Blue Lake Park both about a mile from my front door.

Unlike Osceola, where I observed nature from the front porch, here I will have to get up out of my chair and move around. Although the porch and covered deck offer a chance to experience and observe the weather, views of my car and my neighbors’ cars are not too soul satisfying. But The Gorge is waiting and soon it will become as familiar as a front porch.


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