Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Portland Oregon

thick roots revisited

P1040831

thick roots tangled knots
barely hanging onto bank
drink deep waters

The last several days have been unpredictable and sometimes discouraging. I keep reminding myself that I’m not in charge of things. The news these days isn’t great. Even so, every day offers an opportunity to look up, look back, look ahead, and take another step. I wrote the following comments in April 2017.  

 ~~~

This haiku was my third post to this blog, published on 3 January 2014. It still haunts me, though not in the same way.

I first saw these roots when D and I were walking with our daughter and her husband through Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. The tangled roots were beautiful and foreboding.

It was a bit like blogging, which I’ve experienced as a formidable venture into unknown territory. Like being born and surviving. Sometimes against all odds.

Writing lets my exposed roots show, often whether I realize they’re showing or not. Writing also stakes my claim to a tiny, precarious plot of land that sits open, vulnerable and visible to passersby.

I’ve traveled a long way since my early posts, yet my roots are still my roots. Bare, and barely hanging onto precious ground that’s stronger, deeper, and more nourishing than I could have imagined.

Deep waters aren’t visible, and they don’t untangle all the knots in my life. Sometimes I wonder whether they’re drying up.

Yet even in dire circumstances, I discover more than enough to get me through each day. Sometimes with tears of sorrow and disbelief. More often with joy and sheer gratitude for the privilege of being human. Able to thrive in the forest next to redwood giants, with miniscule ferns growing around and from my feet.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 April 2017, and 16 February 2021
Photo credit: DAFraser, October 2012, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland, Oregon

Farewell to Portland | Photos

Alas! All good things….and all that. Except for the photos, thanks to D. The holly tree above is from our daughter and her husband’s yard. We got home about midnight Saturday, and I’ve been jet-lagging until today. The weather was colder than toot, with pretty stiff wind most days.

No wandering in the arboretum, hikes through the forest, visits to the rose garden or day-trips into the Oregon wilderness. Instead, we relaxed, ate good food, listened to great music, and drank juice concoctions featuring fresh-picked kale and other healthy stuff like fresh ginger and apples. Below is a photo of kale that hasn’t stopped giving.

Just outside the kitchen sink window we could see a couple of bird feeders, including a hummingbird feeder. Here’s a tiny female Anna’s Hummingbird that hangs around every day, fending off all hummingbird intruders.

Our daughter and her husband have a screen-printing business, Olympic Screen Printing. I love this photo of some of her husband’s paint cans. A large, bright, cheery set of colors with which he works his magic. Click here to see examples of t-shirts they’ve printed over the years.

Below is a small pond designed and built by our son-in-law several years ago. It’s now fully functional, with its own ecosystem of water plants and water-loving insects and animals. In the second photo note the thin layer of ice on part of the surface. Another of D’s special impressionist water photos!

You might be wondering about the bamboo? They planted it several years ago when a construction crew came in and began putting up big-box housing with tiny back yards. Imagine going from a beautiful field around one house, to rows and rows of look-alike houses. The bamboo is now beginning to do its job–providing privacy as well as beauty.

Finally, here’s a look at one of their dozens of Japonica shrubs. Also planted a while back, up against the house and along some of the fencing.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see so many of their plans and hard work now paying off. And yes, it was very hard to leave and come back home.

Smudge, of course, wasn’t exactly thrilled to see us come barging into the house in the middle of the night. After several days of scolding us for abandoning him, he seems to have calmed down. Actually, our son looked in on him faithfully and sent photos to reassure us that all was well.

Cheers,
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 December 2018
Portland photos taken by DAFraser, December 2018; Photos of Smudge taken by SEFraser, December 2018

A Special Day

~~~Mom hugging a happy tree in Hoyt Arboretum, Portland, Oregon 2012

Today is our son’s birthday. I won’t say which birthday, except that it’s one year from being one of those Very Big 0-Years!

The photo above is in honor of our son Scott. I owe much of my current adventuresome spirit to him. No, he isn’t a tree hugger, but he’s definitely an outdoorsy guy. Always on the lookout with his nature-loving, camera-toting family for new or rare birds, small and large animals, adventure and excitement, the thrill of the hunt and pushing the limits. Anywhere, anytime.

A good balance, I think, for his almost-but-not-quite nerdy love of computers and all things connected with computer languages, information technology, and whatever it takes to make huge data systems work for the good of humanity. Especially in the areas of medical data and devices.

I honor him for his lifelong pursuit of happiness, sanity and serenity. He’s gifted with a mind that works quickly, efficiently, and intently on problem-solving. A great gift. But the greater gift is his ability to get along with just about anyone he meets. Friend, stranger, it doesn’t matter. He’s a consummate people-person, a faithful mentor and a devoted if sometimes over-the-top Dad and husband.

Yesterday, as I was about to take off for my restless walk, he called. Just to ask how I was doing. Needless to say, a heart to heart conversation followed. Of all the things I might wish for in a son, his interest in me and in D and how each of us is doing means far more than his exciting adventures or accomplishments.

And lest I forget, he loves music. My kind as well as his kind. Which moves him immediately to the top of my Favorite Son List!

Here he is, about one week old, just waking up, yawning and getting ready to exercise his considerably strong lungs.

Happy birthday, Scott, from Mom!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 August 2017
Photos taken by DAFraser, Fall 2012 and August 1968

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