Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A walk in the park

Hard as it is to believe, it's been about 10 years since I last spent any quality time in this beautiful local park -- Hendricks Park, with its fabulous rhododendron garden. There was a time back in 2007, between jobs once, when I'd walk up here 2-3 times a week for a few weeks. From where I lived, downtown Eugene, it was about an hour's walk, largely uphill, to reach the park. Once here, I'd spend another hour walking the various paths, stopping to sit and enjoy some places I found particularly delightful. Then I'd walk an hour back home. These 3-hour walks are among my best lifetime memories. From start to finish, walking through campus and quiet neighborhoods and into the park and back home, it was one long, productive meditation. They were magical in a way I've never been able to re-create, anywhere. And I've tried!

This morning I was drawn by the promise of warm weather and sunshine, plus many local news reports that the rhodies are in full bloom at the moment. I found that to be not quite true -- many are in bloom, but many are also just budding out.  Sun was fleeting, at best, while I was there but it really doesn't matter. It's beautiful and peaceful and serene with our without sunshine.

The 'top' of the park. Parallel paths are terraced off to the left and right, with many smaller trails that connect and lead to hidden corners.

From the entrance I headed -- unerringly, as it turned out -- toward where my favorite little nook is. This fountain sits off the main trail and is a lovely place to just sit and contemplate. I was surprised, but not really surprised, that after 10 years I could still find this place so swiftly.

I didn't sit for long -- too anxious to wander all the trails and see the place once again. I've been up here at least once since my return to Eugene, but only for a few moments, never took the time to wander all the paths as I once did so regularly.

Another favorite 'off path' sitting spot, though this one is not so private as the first one.

This is -- or was -- another of my favorite places to sit. Looks as if some recent step construction has interfered with some of the old charm, but I suspect that'll return in time. Those big rocks in the foreground were home to many (and constantly changing) balanced pebble stacks and maybe a stray gnome or two. People leave little things all over the park, as gifts, and the maintenance people leave them be.

Rhodies aren't the only things blooming up here, ever.  Azaleas, too, plus lots of low-growing groundcover and trees of all kind. Dogwood is blooming up there at the moment, tho not in this photo.

So that was my walk. This entire property is maintained by volunteers, and they do a fabulous job of it. Some of you might remember that I went up there one day a couple of years ago to work with them, and it wore me out. I'd planned to become active regularly with the weekly maintenance, but that just didn't happen. I still love the place however, and still appreciate all the work done by others.

Hope you enjoyed this walk, too. I sure did!

By the way -- I guess I've officially entered the digital age. A few days ago on Woot! I saw some Amazon Fire kindles for $30 -- reconditioned, but in good shape. I couldn't resist. It arrived yesterday and I was instantly addicted. Spent many hours playing with it. Wi-fi enabled, so it works without a service fee. Worst thing about it is that I spent so many hours with it that my eyes hurt, and still hurt today. I have to say, I can understand why people are so easily addicted to these things. šŸ˜‰

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