Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Autumn begins in Portland

As I readied myself for walking this morning (mainly ensuring that I had my cell phone and a few dog biscuits in the pocket of my slicker), I thought about a friend's advice, given a few weeks ago. I'm paraphrasing, but it was essentially "Don't stop walking because of the rain", and that's very good advice when one lives in rainy Portland, Oregon.

It was drizzling a bit when I left the house, but most of the drips and drops and plops I was hearing came from the trees and bushes, not the sky. I don't much care if my hair gets wet (right now, it's so short, it dries in moments), but it's a real PITA wearing glasses in the rain. When I was a kid, maybe in third grade, I told my father someone needed to invent little windshield wipers for people who wear glasses. I still think that would be great idea. In any case, the day turned clear and sunny as I was walking, so I got the best of both possible worlds: everything washed clean by the rain =and= sparkling in the sun. Not a bad combination.

Autumn is taking hold all over the place, although we're not yet in the thick of it vis-a-vis falling leaves (no pun intended). I picked up a few beautifully colored maple leaves to press (and use in making birthday cards) and snipped the last two hydrangea blossoms from "Hertha's hydrangea" in our front yard and dropped them on the front porch to retrieve when I returned home. Took one of the half-mile walks, one that takes me to a fairly busy street across from an elementary school, so there were a lot more cars on the road than I usually encounter. I was acutely aware every time a car passed me; in addition to the noise of the engine, the smell of exhaust momentarily masked the fragrance of the rain-washed trees and grasses, and I found myself holding my breath every time a I heard another car approaching. It sure is different living nestled in this little neighborhood, surrounded by trees and very little traffic, nothing like working in a city like San Francisco or Boston, where traffic and cars are ubiquitous.

I'm noticing the trees and bushes as they begin to show fall colors, and have begun trying to picture what the landscape will look like in November, when the deciduous trees have dropped the last of their leaves, all the flowering plants have gone dormant, and the only green comes from grass, moss and conifers. It will still be beautiful, I'm sure, but I'll be noticing different details as I walk along, no longer focused on summer foliage. I'm actually looking forward to this.


Revalani said...

Lovely post, Lib. You'll also be amazed, as fall deepens and the trees lose their leaves, at how much further you can see along the streets.

druid said...

That thing of holding your breath when a car passes reminds me of cycling. Depends on the car, but anything old or diesel -- gack!