PORTLAND FALL 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday "Oh Glorious"

Today we went to Cannon Beach.  I am staying in Hood River, which is in the gorge, for a week to study gardens, parks, architecture, art - etc.  You know, like Chicago!  So we are going to jump to Oregon real quick, but I'll be taking you back to Illinois every once in a while.  Let's keep this real-time.

Last time I was here at Cannon Beach was April 08.  Seeing it in the fall is incredible because all of the sea side grasses were full and thick.

Foam, foam and foam was everywhere!  It was so beautiful, almost unreal.  The waves were so frothy and rolling and rumbling.

So I frolicked.  As I do when at Cannon Beach.  Next time could someone frolick with me?  Please? 

See all that frothy sea foam!  It almost looks like snow.  Now you are going to see a series of shots in the froth.  These plethora of pictures are for my mother - as all mothers want to see a lot of pictures of their kids in froth.  Plus, my mom would play in this with me.

You better believe it.

It was a bit windy - a storm was brewing out in the waters beyond.  It was exciting to watch!

It was an incredible evening on the coast.  So much so.

I think you may know by now how much I love the coast - the shoreline.  I have talked about this before.  I am so happy here.  I try to hit a coast/beach consistently and so far - I haven't done too bad.  Which coast will I see next? 

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The water was higher than it was in the spring of 08.  Naturally the sea does that.  Of course.  Before I could walk out to Haystack.

Shall we watch some of the sea foam recede?  Okay.

This man was on the shore as well.  I asked him if he was a local.  He was.  I asked him if the high quantity of foam and froth was typical in the fall.  He said it was because of the storm.  I asked if the storm was coming or going.  He said it was happening right at that moment.  We looked out at the sea together.  The waves were breaking at an incredible distance and at incredible heights.  It was majestic.  He said he had never seen anything like this before, that it was just amazing.  And as we both stood there in our black rain boots, we smiled at the ocean and at each other because we were both on that beach at that time to witness this storm, this event, this rarity.  It was such a human moment.  And I love those moments.

I live for those moments.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Portland Trip: Saturday 'Bontei"

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Saturday Jenn and I attended the Opening Reception and Gallery Talk of Marc Peter Keane's Bontei Trays at the Portland Japanese Gardens.  It was for these brief hours that my entire trip to Portland was born.  The goal was to meet Keane face to face.  The goal was accomplished.

Marc Peter Keane, a landscape architect, is a top Japanese garden designer in the world. He lived in Kyoto for almost 20 years and has designed gardens in Japan for private residences, companies, and temples.  His Bontei trays are just now on display in the Portland Japanese Gardens - which was the cause for the opening reception and gallery talk.

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We arrived at the gardens at 4:30 and made our way to the Garden Pavilion where the reception was being held.  Jenn and I were definitely the youngest of the group!  I decided it best to meet Mr. Keane before his Gallery Talk which would begin at 5PM.  I wasn't sure what to say or how to introduce myself, but Jenn helped me through it by practicing with me before I made my way over to his presence.  I am usually very comfortable with meeting someone with whom I have never met - I converse easily.  But for some reason I was a little more nervous about this one.  But once I had the chance to approach Mr. Keane, it was all old hat from there.

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His suit was quite interesting.  If you pay attention to it in the following photos you'll see the influence of East Asia.  It was in the browns, almost like a wood grain.  Oh - and he was very kind, very polite - and in fact gentle and a gentleman.

When he found out I had come from Salt Lake City just for this event he seemed quite pleased, as I had traveled the furthest (besides him).  As I mingled with other attendees at the reception word spread.  Once lady said, "Oh, you're the one who came all the way from Salt Lake!"

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I had just finished reading his book, "The Art of Setting Stones".  A wonderful read.  I had a copy with me, and asked Mr. Keane if he would sign it.

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He pulled out a brush - I think it was a calligraphy brush - to sign my book.  His signature was like a painting on the inside cover, as all signatures should be.  I was explaining to him my experience I had with this particular book of his.  I told him I could only read a chapter at a time.  I had to let each chapter settle; I had to mull over what I had just experienced.  Each chapter was so rich, that to allow it the proper space to expand, it needed time.

He told me that's exactly how it should be read.

A Drawing by Marc P. Keane - there were several of these around the pavilion; each one so fantastic.  I wish you could have seen them all in person.

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A better look at the front of his suit?

During the Gallery Talk, he went to each piece and talked about it.  He answered questions and filled my mind with running thoughts and insights.  It was fantastic how much thought and mindfulness went in to each piece, each Bontei Tray he created.  I wish so desperately that I could share all that I soaked in during those few hours.  I should be typing it all out right now.  But it wants to sit inside me for a while longer.  What I learned was very special and important for me and requires a certain setting in order for me to share properly my thoughts and Mr. Keane's words.

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After the Talk I mingled among the folk.  Met some great personalities and had some light lemon water with ordourves of roasted pumpkin (which was also served before the talk).  Before leaving, I talked with Marc again, to thank him for his words and how each piece expanded in beauty as he spoke (I think I might have used the word exploded...lol).  He told me about a program he does in Kyoto each year.  An intense two-week workshop on Japanese Garden Design.  It's attended from people all over the world.  He said if when I send in an application, to write a brief note reminding him of who I am, and he would see to it that I got in!

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It was a pleasing evening and worth the trip.  Now I still have three days of soaking-in to do in various gardens and parks around Portland.

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Thank you, Marc Peter Keane -

for opening my mind and placing wonder inside.

Monday, November 09, 2008

Starbucks

Somewhere near the West Hills in Portland is a Starbucks.  Cities and Starbucks belong together I have decided.  They are reliable, always there.

I am in the city today - this rainy day.   The sky is gray, gray, and grey.  And my mood led me to this comfy couch flanked by lamps that give a certain warmth to this otherwise ambivalent day.

There is a girl in her 20's sitting in a chair right in front of me.  She just loaded up her purse, jangled her keys, stood up - white coat with furry hood is going on... adjusting shirt - and with the click of her heels, she is out the door...driving away in a maroon Rodeo.

There is a guy sitting across from me to my right - sitting in a rather comfy looking chair.  He must be a student as he is studying a text book about photosynthesis and is writing notes in his spiral notebook.  Very college like.  Let's call him...Adam.  He looks like he could be an Adam.  He has dark hair - very dark.  It comes past his shoulders with plenty of soft curl.  Dark eyes, light stubble, red zip-up hoodie - black jeans, Nike shoes, and a number 2 pencil in his hand.  He seems like a simple-basics person.  Right-handed.

Two ladies are conversing in a nook over in that corner.  Lady A, whom we shall call Claudia, is presenting product to Lady B, whom we shall call..... Sarah.  With an H.  Beauty products are the focus of their conversation as they are all lined up on the table...and it looks like Sarah is a client - or soon will be.  They are at a table with two small lamps that have blue, blue lamp shades that are glowing.  Claudia has an accent.  From where, I am not quite sure.  Sarah - does not.

Three ladies are at a circle table.  I have heard the words stage, art, and have seen a childrens book on their table.  They are planning something.  "Wholesale cost" was just mentioned.

The chair that was left vacant by the girl that drove away in the maroon Rodeo is now occupied by an older gentleman.  I bet he is retired.  No wedding ring.  Blue jeans, blue-collared shirt with a green v-neck sweater over the blue-collared shirt.

Adam is zipping up his back pack.  Checking his iPhone.  I think he is leaving.

The older gentleman, whose profile reminds me of an English Lord, is enjoying his beverage.  Coffee no doubt.  He even has the pouchy stomach of an English Lord.  Regular white sport socks with basic brown shoes that could have been purchased at a basic shoe store.  Let's call him Evan.  An umbrella is on the side table next to his chair.   No newspaper, no book, no company, just him.  He rarely takes a sip.  Maybe it's still too hot.

The three ladies, Sue, Angela and MaryAnne, have just left.  They seemed pleased with how the time was spent at their little round table.

Claudia and Sarah and still vibrantly conversing over the beauty products.

Evan just took a sip, placed his cup back down on the side table, leaned back in his chair - put his right hand up to the side of his head and crossed his right leg over his left.

Me?  I am just sitting here.  Rather mellow.  Really mellow.  In a state of mellow observation.  I am blogging about the people around me, nonchalantly watching the people come and go.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hibiscus

I am bone tired. So I am just going to say that the herbal Hibiscus Tea that I had at the Portland Classical Chinese gardens yesterday was great. The teacup was so tiny. I loved it.

Hibiscus Tea is very bitter, but I have discovered that I like bitter. I never add honey to my herbal teas.

And the dumplings were the best I have ever had.