I decided to head up to Mt. Tabor the afternoon of the 1st.
It was cold but sunny, and I hadn’t been up there in awhile. It’s the neighborhood I’d first explored when I moved here right after grad school, and I’ve always loved it. Sometime back in my previous years year, between 2004 and 2008, I’d seen a soap box derby race up there, and I think I’d played frisbee at the top of it, in the open area between the big Doug Firs.
I took Ruby, the 1972 Schwinn Continental I’d received here in Portland for my 30th birthday, on the train to the 60th Ave. station, then pedaled up to Tabor. I had to walk a few times, as my chain is slipping on the sprockets, and some of those hills kicked my ass.
I eventually parked Ruby toward the North end, then hiked up.
The path up toward the top loop was steep, and a good workout following my short bicycle ride. As I neared the top, the lay of the land started to return to me, as I remembered certain structures like the bathroom, then the playground area, then even the road and various paths that continued to the top. Memories of walking around there 10-14 years ago surged through me, and then I pondered just how long ago that was, and how much has happened since then.
Once I got up there, I noticed how many people filled the area, on a jog, or walking their dogs. Several people grouped in an spot facing West at what I saw was going to be an awesome view of a sunset — which was my reason for going up there by that time of day — and I walked around the top to wait for the actual sunset time, which was 4:37.
A few pine cones begged my attention, and I’m assuming these mice needed to scurry under rocks to stay warm in the 11 to 12 meter per second winds.
Walking from South to North, from the Harvey W. Scott sculpture, I glimpsed the setting sunlight hitting some Doug Fir trunks, setting one side of them on fire.
Then a forked set of trees presented sort of an iris, or a lens, through which the sun was focused.
I wandered back toward the paved road, then south a bit and down the slope to a trail, which presented just as good of a view of the pending show. On my way back to the clearing, even the sun through the branches was pretty astounding. Not as good as soft hemlock branches against a blue sky, but still pretty killer.
As I found a place to sit on the nearly 45 degree angled grass between the upper road and the trail, I heard some of the group above singing a little. Then a guy about my age, who was wandering up the trail, sat down a few feet from me, ready for the view. He laid on his back for a bit to admire the extremely blue sky, which I think took on an awesome sort of pre-twilight hue that I couldn’t quite get with my phone camera, but I tried.
Waiting for the minute the sun set, after which I knew I’d need to head back out, as it was going to be a cold twilight trip back, I looked around a little, since the light always gets very interesting at this hour.
A streetlamp up and to the left of me stood out. I felt like I was in Narnia.
Some more people strolled by in the meantime, including a couple people with dogs, and a woman with a 3-4 year old and what looked like almost a 2-year old, who was trying out his new legs. He glanced over at me in triumph as he took some mighty steps, and gave me a grin, and I grinned back. He kept trucking, pretty much the king of Mt Tabor right then.
As the sun set, I got some pictures, and the entire time I was up there, I thought of the fact that I needed to just holster my damn device and experience it, but I couldn’t help myself. I aim to enjoy more of these things With people going forward, which seems to be a great way to stem the flow of excessive picture taking.
Nevertheless, here it is: the last picture I took before bicycling down the hill, my fingers freezing, a smile on my face as I rolled through the curves of Scott Drive and all the nice homes with excellent views there.
Happy New Year, readers.