The Marvel of Seasons
It finally happened. I lost my view of Winter Star, Gibbs, and Horse Rock Mountains. It’s the surest sign that spring is officially, finally here. Of course, if I step outside the Airstream and crane my neck, angling my line of sight through the dense forest, I can make out sections of the ridgeline. By way of comparison, here’s the same view a month ago. This pre-leaf view shows the ridgeline in the clouds, but still…you get the point:
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, we used to joke that we didn’t have seasons. It was rainy and cold or it was rainy and warm. Sometimes, there was this thing called sunshine, and we all loved it very much. But it was a love-hate relationship, in a way, because the sun never gave us all we felt we deserved, despite that we admired it for lifetimes from afar. Of course, Portland does have seasons (and they’re much more pronounced than two decades ago, a la global warming), but the point is that I was surrounded by evergreens and, on a larger scale, living not too darn far from a rain forest. Things were wet and dripping and full of life all the time.
I do remember a few trees with leaves that changed colors and fell off–the Japanese Maple in our front yard that was a gift from one of Mom’s students; the birch-lined (?) fancier streets downtown. These trees were sort of funky, but they never captured my attention the way the deciduous trees en masse do here. Here’s some proof I found from Pacific Northwest Photography’s blog. See? Even when it was “sunny” it was still cloudy and no, that is not any kind of photoshopped green:
By and large, my Portland childhood was all variants of green and signs of life and health were equivalent with the feeling of full, full, full. Views didn’t change from season to season and therefore I didn’t orient my life, schedule, or even my daily observations around what changed. I oriented by what stayed the same and I always will…which is why, despite having lived in Appalachia for over 11 years, I am still startled when Winter Star, Gibbs, and Horse Rock–those things that are ancient and massive and dark and can never move–suddenly seem to have moved entirely some place else.
Where did they go? I hike to find them again and again, miles under my boots like so many childhood memories.