At Eye Level

I took these pictures of tree bark and lichens during my first walk after being sick in bed for a week.

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I was tired and loopy, and really only capable of seeing things at eye level.

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I took these pictures across the street from a school where all the students were being picked up by their parents. I wonder how many of them looked across the street at the strangely dressed lady with the camera lens three inches from a random tree.

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At least I wasn’t TALKING to the tree this time. I don’t think.

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But I can’t be sure. Everything was still a little fuzzy that day.

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My vision was even a little weird: it was, in fact, an awful lot like the way the macro setting on my camera works. A few things were in sharp, almost too intense focus. Everything else was kind of a blur. It’s kind of amazing that I didn’t get hit by a car when I was crossing the street. Good thing my neighborhood is pretty quiet.


Pink Camellias in January

I took these pictures on my last walk before I got sick. I imagine Camellia’s are blooming all over Portland now, but these were the first blossoms I saw this year.

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The vibrant pink against the dark green foliage is delicious. I love living in a place where winter feels like winter, but where there is always something green or something blooming.

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If the day had been sunny, there would have been bees burrowing in the middle of these blossoms.

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I love the ruffles of this double variety. Like a tutu!

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So sweet.

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A Little Sunshine for the Housebound

I’m siiiiick, so I’m spending the day in bed. Which is too bad, because it’s a beautiful day and I wanted to clean out the garden shed. Days like this I’m really thankful for tea, novels and Netflix.

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It also helps that I have pictures from a sunny walk I took last week. If you’re tired of pictures of trees, you might just skip this post. I have OCD–Obsessive Camera Disorder. Or something.

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And the trees in my neighborhood park are endlessly enchanting.

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Especially in late afternoon/early evening when they cast long shadows on the grass.

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And of course I had to throw a little moss into the mix.

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It’s no Forest park, but I don’t have to get in my car to visit these trees. And they’re still pretty impressive.

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Of course, it’s SUPPOSED to be raining. And I know we need the rain. But I can’t help enjoying sunshine in January.

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Green and Gray

Portland continues to sport a mostly green and gray palette this week. The days have been dark, but at least it isn’t very cold. The mossy, muddy park a few blocks from my house continues to beckon, and I go with my camera so I can see in new ways.

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This vine grows in whorls and helices on a fence along the way. I can’t wait to see what sort of vine it is: right now it looks like all the other trees and shrubs–gray bark, green lichens, greener moss.

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These wet days make the moss jewel-bright. I want to wear a skirt that color.

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Over the weekend we had a windstorm, which knocked down a bunch of branches. This one fell onto the park bench. Taking pictures of it, I had to wonder:

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Did someone intentionally choose paint the exact color of those lichens for the benches? Or was it a happy accident?

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that cold wet weather is my favorite walking weather, not only because I don’t have to share the park with as many people, but also because I find the low light and cool air soothing. It clears my head and helps me think. Which makes me think I’ll probably never move away from the Pacific Norwthwest.

Coveting My Neighors Plants: Pink Dawn Viburnum

Meet my latest obsession: Pink Dawn Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense), also known as Bodnant Viburnum.

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I met this airy, delicate shrub on New Years Eve, growing between two hulking sequoias at the park near my house. I saw the little pink clusters of flowers from across the park and immediately hurried across the muddy grass to get a closer look.

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They are not only a beautiful shade of pink, they also have a light, sweet fragrance. Blossoms! In late December! Smell pretty! I took so many pictures.

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I love that the buds are a rich magenta, and then the blossom opens and it’s the palest of pinks.

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Someday when I have a yard that I can plant shrubs in, this is going to be the first one I find a home for.

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October in Forest Park

Sunny days are all well and good, but my favorite weather is a little windy, a little rainy, and a little cool. Which means today was perfect.

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Of course, this being Oregon and all, I wasn’t the only one who thought so. There were so many people on the trail! Most of them runners.

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I don’t get running as a general principle. But I REALLY don’t get why people run in the woods. I can barely WALK in the woods, there’s so much to see. Why bother going to the forest if it’s just going to be a green blur as you run past?

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I’m pretty type A. I tend to get anxious about getting things done. The woods is the one place where I almost can’t hurry; that’s probably why it’s so good for me.

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Fortunately the path here was wide enough for all the runners to pass me while I meandered and took pictures.

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I got rained on some, but I didn’t mind.

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I was just happy to be back in the woods. It’s getting dark too early for me to take my after work walk in the woods–I have to settle for the sidewalks around my office building. Which are very nice, and have lovely trees, so it’s not so bad now that the weather is cooling off.

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But I need regular forest time to stay reasonably sane.

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It’s better for everyone if I get it, really.

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