My first fall in the Northwest has been a breathtaking sight.
The city has been overthrown by nature, its busy streets hushed by crisp colorful blankets of leaves from the army of trees commanding every block.
People wade through the crunchy mounds, smiling even on their way to work, thinking about crashing into one of the many piles just as they did when they were young and free from responsibility.
But, unlike the intense autumn I knew in the Midwest, all of this happens slowly here.
Each leaf flutters down from its branch with purpose, almost as if the leaf is taking its time to decide exactly where it wants to land. Whenever I spot one of these leaf performances, I stop and watch until it finishes its dance. Then, I smile and proceed.
To walk inside any of Portland’s forested communities, one can’t help but escape from the concrete, buildings, and congestion only minutes away.
Adding autumn and a Japanese garden into the mix enhances this magical experience.
Last Saturday Mr. H and I went to the Portland Japanese Gardens in the late afternoon. It was our first visit to the gardens and we hoped to catch some impeccable fall scenery.
Many of the trees were already bare and at first we felt disappointed that we had missed the best part of the season.
But as we walked, we slipped into a meditation, and silently absorbed the transition of the garden from the liveliness of fall to the solitude of winter.
But, we’re missing it.
This is a time of turning inward…to reflect on life, to explore the mind. It’s not a time of laziness, it’s a time to strengthen our spirits.
When we step outside, we can take a cue from nature. Things change—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly—and we should not only adapt, we should be a part of the beauty around us.
So what? It’s cold…take a walk.