Time for a Road Trip

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Two days and counting… and I just can’t stay in a bad mood about this election.  I am concerned, I am worried, I am thinking about ways I can make a difference – and make this country better in the face of our challenges and our divisiveness.

My favorite quote of all time… “If you don’t think one person can make a difference, you have never been in a tent with one mosquito.”

But before I make like a mosquito – time to hit the road and head to the Oregon Coast.  What a beautiful part of the world this is and each part of the coast, north, middle and south has its own personality.

More on the northern and southern coastal areas to come – but this weekend I will be visiting the middle coast.  There is no geographic definition of where Oregon’s middle coast lies – but my definition (and I am an amateur geographer) would be from Tillamook south to Florence.

Areas we will be visiting on this trip – Pacific City and Newport and all parts in between.  Depoe Bay, Cape Foulweather, Devil’s Punchbowl and maybe as far south as Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head.  Those geographic names are enough to incite adventure and excitement.

No better way to overcome this election than with a bowl of chowder and some Dungeness Crab, a little adventure and a beer from Pelican Pub!

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What now?

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I intended to write an entry yesterday – but as the afternoon and evening progressed it felt so shattering and so life changing that I didn’t know how to put words to what was happening.  For better or worse it was an historic night and I couldn’t stop watching.

So what now?  I am an inherently positive person but for the first time in my life – I was up all night – depressed and unsure how to face this new world where I have to say that Donald Trump is my country’s president.

All I could think of to do – was be as positive as I can be and to give back.  Volunteer more, help young women so that some day they can lead our country to get over this sexism we seem to posses. Help preserve the natural areas here in Oregon – whether through donations, time, photography, whatever helps to save these precious lands for the public and not in the hands of corporations.  Greet each day with a smile and with gratitude.  Not stop fighting for equality and fairness for all our citizens.

I can’t give up on this country, on my country (for better or worse).  On my way home to watch the election returns last night I was watching the afternoon light.  I saw the sun hitting the side of the above building in downtown Portland and just as I took the picture I saw those words “United States of America”.   In the words of the historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin – “history will give us solace”.   I hope so.

What is Eugene Levy doing in Portugal?

After three days in Lisbon it was time to explore the Portugal countryside.  Our plan was to hike as much as possible and get to know the country.  I usually like to settle in one place for a few days – but sometimes that first time visit to a country requires a bit more movement and exploration.  And with the promise to come back.

We headed to the coast and hiked from Praia de Maças south.  Our hope was to see if we could find the dinosaur tracks on the wall near Praia Grande as recommended by our friend and co-worker Andy Mason and his wife Kelly.

Praia de Maças is really cute and I only wish we had stayed long enough to have a cold beer in a chair on the beach.  On our way out of town we passed the little tram that goes from Sintra (inland about 10 miles) to the beach.  Next time.  Odd side note – in Praia de Macas – the main street through town is called Avenida Eugene Levy.  If anyone can explain this to me – I would love to know. (Yes yes I know a simple Google search would explain this but what fun is that?)

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We hiked south up and over the cliffs that separate the beaches here – in Praia Grande – the biggest hotel pool I have ever seen and a lot of surfers.

At the end of the beach was a lengthy (and new) staircase right next to a cliff face.  Thankfully Andy and Kel had informed us otherwise we might have missed the fact that the dinosaur tracks are on this vertical cliff face.  It seems that millions of years ago this cliff was a flat muddy plain.

At the bottom of the staircase was a warning – only 6 people are allowed to lean on the railing at a time.  Hmmm – sure enough as we discovered – to get a good view of the footprints – you do find yourself leaning out as far as possible on this railing.   The three of us were alone so no fear of breaking a railing – we hope.

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Impressive sight and so glad Andy and Kel had tipped us on this once in a lifetime experience.  We hiked a bit further down the coast – discovering one secluded beach after another.  Portugal is a great place to hide!

And looking out at the Atlantic – imagining Magellan or Vasco de Gama heading into the expanse of water – not knowing where they were going or what they would discover – sea monsters, mysterious islands, the edge?

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Sharing Winter

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I was settling in to do all those chores that keep the house functioning.  And clean.    I looked outside and saw that the light was perfect – but changing quickly.  I am fortunate to live close to this beautiful place – Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland.

A great way to spend the end of a rare rain-free winter day – and I was not the only one with this idea.  It was nice to walk through the garden and see others, like me, trying to capture this beautiful winter moment.

I like this shot with this stranger taking an iPhone shot of the creek and bridge.  With the drapery of that weeping willow surrounding him in this kind of veil of nature.

For one brief second – this stranger and I shared this park, this winter beauty.  We are not alone.

 

Photographing Big Trees

This video and National Geographic story came out a few years ago – but I was reminded recently of the absolute grandeur of the redwoods and nature in general.  And this short video demonstrates that sometimes it takes a whole year to adequately capture what nature does every day.  People can sometimes disappoint – but nature never disappoints.