Creekside: An afternoon at Sain Creek

Yesterday I took my stepkids for a little picnic at Sain Creek (part of the Scoggins Valley Park). Our favorite picnic area is shady, and since it doesn’t really have any fancy amenities, it tends to be less crowded than most other parts of the park.

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The creek is ice cold and clear, perfect for wading or sitting on a big rock and soaking your feet.

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The play of light and shadows over the water was enchanting.

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As were the tree roots hanging over the bank of the creek.

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The afternoon was a nice change of pace; cool, moving water, shadows, green growing things, and a very smart crow who stole some of our potato chips. I didn’t get a picture of the thief: he or she was too fast.

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The Beauty of Puddles

Over the weekend we had severe winds; Monday morning when I woke up I half expected to look out the window and see a Yellow Brick Road. But fortunately we stayed firmly anchored, and by Monday afternoon the sun came out for a while. I took the opportunity to for a walk.

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The puddles reflected the trees and the (briefly) blue sky.

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Just one more thing to love about the rain: puddle reflections. It’s starting to seem like spring about half the time–which is generally the best we can hope for around here, and which is preferable to the snowbound Februaries of my childhood.

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Sometimes the reflections are disorienting; when I look down I feel like I could fall into them much deeper than the millimeters of water.Puddle Wonderful 3

Part of the path at the park was flooded, so I had to squelch through the wet grass to avoid backtracking.

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I felt like the soggy walk was worth it just for the reflections on the other side of the giant puddle.

I got wet on my return journey–as abruptly as it appeared, the sun disappeared and the wind and rain came back. But it was nothing a nice cup of tea couldn’t cure, and the fresh air was nice after a weekend of hiding indoors.

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.

Raindrops

It’s funny the way carrying a camera around changes what you focus on. I went for a walk just after it rained the other day, and all the trees and bushes were hung with perfect beads of water.

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So of course I took pictures of them. Here, then, is my photographic study of raindrops on trees and shrubs. It sounds boring, but I don’t think it is.

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I know I’ve rambled on before about how days that seem monochromatic never really are. The tree bark above is further evidence: just look close enough and you’ll see the colors.

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I’m very fond of our rainy gray winters. This is one example of why.

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There’s a lot to see in a drop of water.

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You just have to look.