Straight roads do not make skillful drivers.
The internet says Paulo Coelho said those words. I might add that straight roads don’t make for an enjoyable walk either. Winding paths contain a sense of mystery, curiosity, and expectation of the unexpected. That’s what makes walking twisted paths such an exciting adventure.
I was lucky enough to walk the Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park, Portland. It has some of the most twisted routes I’ve ever seen, and although I couldn’t explore them all, it sure was worth the visit. If you’re ever in the vicinity, I recommend you start early.
Though I don’t do it enough, I love travelling. Walking from one place to another, ducking under trees, listening to walls, hiking steep hills, and gawking at great sights—that’s when I feel most at peace. Exploring, that’s where I feel like I belong.
I haven’t travelled too far and wide, but from what I’ve seen wherever I’ve been, nothing’s made me happier than the view of the River Gorge from the top of Beacon Rock. Though I’ve only experienced it once, I think it qualifies as my happy place. Not jet because of the stunning view of the flowing water, but also because the image is plastered in my mind. It’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about waterways. It was so serene that I couldn’t have asked for a better place to rest my mind and soul.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland is far more than a thing of beauty. It’s a space where serenity is overloaded and out-of-the-worldliness is the norm. This structure made me stop, wonder, and click as I mused on its weird shape and look. It appeared as if it were carved with meticulous precision while also seeming so natural—as if it had been effortless for the universe to create. I’m not sure if it’s natural or hand made, but it sure looked like something from elsewhere other than earth.
There are only a few things in life that silence you by their sheer magnitude. Without a doubt, nature is one of them. When my friend offered to take me to the Beacon Rock in Stevenson, I was thrilled, excited, and nervous all at the same time. And as it is with these emotions, I chatted away all the way up, eager to reach the peak. My patient friend with his experience in hiking with enthusiastic first timers, offered me advice and great conversation throughout the hike. When at last we reached the top, this sight descended upon me knocking my voice out of my throat. For much longer than a few minutes, we stood atop the rock looking down at the marvellousness that’s the Gorge of Columbia River. Despite the devastating loss it’d undergone mere weeks ago, the river flowed along serene as ever.