Spring is the season of hope. You wake up and it might be rainy. Better, it could be a day with blazing sunshine. It could rain, hail, or snow. Or all three in the course of an hour. It could be windy and bitter cold, but not for long. The one sure thing about spring in the northwest is that it will be variable. Each day brings the promise that the next one will be a little longer and the weather will be a little better than the last.
In spring, things grow. My garden awakens; there are actually things to harvest. Daffodils, tulips, and lilacs bloom, trees come alive with tiny flowers. Plants unfurl new leaves; even the ubiquitous dark-green conifers shoot out new, light green needles at their tips.
And each month of spring promises more hours of daylight to explore, to wander, to enjoy the outdoors. Bring it on, I say.
Fall is the opposite. Shorter days, more chance of rain, more darkness, colder water, the end of the garden. I am baffled by people who say they love fall. Fall is the end. It signals the start of my confinement indoors or donning a raincoat and trying to keep warm in the damp air.
Still, I venture out, hoping to capture the last bits of the year. Getting every last fragment of sunlight, of adventure, of roaming about without responsibility. Part of that roaming in fall, is going to places near home that for some reason, I haven’t been to before.
The lower Willamette is a world of seawalls, mud, and city. The upper Willamette, separated by a mighty waterfall is no wilderness, but has a more distinctly rocky, quieter feeling. It’s a place that isn’t that far from home, but feels that way. Between the falls and the next wave of burbs, there’s a feeling of calm, a distinct sense of escape. The water is too shallow, too rocky to go fast. It’s a perfect place to poke around in a small boat.
And that’s just what Merry and I did on a recent, sunny afternoon. Dodging between rock islands, poking around backwaters, nosing into nooks, we laughed and explored. The sun’s warmth was welcome. If fall was always like this, I could enjoy it almost as much as spring.