Happy Thanksgiving

We should do this holiday more often!  A day dedicated to gratitude and eating food with family and friends deserves to be celebrated more than once a year!

On Instagram (@thistleamy) I have devoted this month’s pictures and my picture taking to gratitude.  Here is what I am celebrating in November, 2016 (always subject to change) – this could also be put to song by Julie Andrews…

Fall colors…

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Winter storms at the Oregon Coast

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My running shoes – they keep my feet happy!

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Coffee (cheesy but so true)

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Great bookstores like Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon and City Lights in San Francisco

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Birds and bird watching

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Beautiful bridges (we have many in Oregon)

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And I do love German beer…

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So much to be thankful for… most important of all.. my family and friends and all the wonderful people in my life.

And thank you! For reading, for contributing to our creative community that spans the world!

 

 

 

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Sense of Place Series – Introduction

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What is the essence of a place? What makes your town, your state, your country unique to you and those who live or visit?  This sense of place fascinates me and I find myself exploring this idea in the way I look at the world. You could say capturing place is my creative muse.

As I write this I sit in a Stumptown Coffee House in Portland, Oregon, USA, in the early morning hour before the work day.  Perhaps this time and place is routine for some, but I cherish this moment to explore the sense of place right here.

At this hour it is delivery trucks, runners, and the early shift change at the hospital two blocks away.  Overalls and scrubs, running tights and the occasional dog, all line up for their morning coffee. The baristas all have a story that speaks to this place – most hold two jobs – one that pays the bills, the other that feeds their passion.

Like many of us who love travel, I love the idea of exploring a new place and discovering and learning something new and exciting.  But we don’t need to travel far or even travel at all to explore sense of place.

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This is the first post of what I hope is a long exploration of sense of place – here in Portland – my home town, in the great state of Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, the western United States and if I am lucky – farther afield.

I invite you to explore your home town with the same curiosity.  I would love to hear what makes your town unique and what is the “sense of place” where you are right now.

Thank you for reading and for joining me on this journey.

Favorite Roads

Do you have a favorite highway or road?  One of my favorites (and conveniently close to home) is Highway 6, also known as the Wilson River Highway, that traverses the Oregon Coast Range from the Portland metro area out to Tillamook and the beautiful central Oregon Coast.  A gorgeous section of the Pacific Northwest that includes Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City, the Three Capes scenic bike route, Rockaway to the north and Neskowin to the south.

I love how the road twists and turns around huge Douglas Firs dripping with rain.  And to my right a river runs.  Trucks are parked at every wide spot in the road – it’s fishing season in the Oregon Coast Range.  I briefly think of one of my favorite books, “The River Why” by David James Duncan – the title river is based on this exact area.

The rainforest here is lush and green but fall colors still shine now and then where a vine maple or alder has found its ground among the evergreens. If you want to experience western Oregon – logging, history, fishing, homesteading, and our famous rain – Highway 6 from Banks to Tillamook is a great way to experience our state.  Pull over at the Smith Homestead park where history and hiking come together, learn about the history of highway building at the Charles Straub Wayside.

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I am startled out of my fly fishing day dream – coming around a curve in the road to enter the vast expanse of the huge Wilson River and Trask River flood plains.  Mountain river dreams are replaced with the visions of baby loafs of Tillamook cheddar cheese. Pastures spread out far and wide – in Oregon we are very proud of our cheese making legacy.  Born from these farms that lie before me.

One other note about Tillamook – it is home to one of the largest wooden structures in the world – a former WW II blimp hangar.  There were once two of these beauties that you could see from miles away – sadly a fire destroyed one of the hangar twins and only one remains.  The remaining structure is now an Air Museum.   The hangar encompasses an area of 7 acres!

And no road trip in Oregon is complete without beer.

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The Day After

What a day of reaction from family, friends, co-workers, baristas… yes baristas weighing in on this &**%$#^ election.  There is an odd camaraderie I have felt in these hours since our worst fear has become reality.

I don’t have children of my own but I am auntie to many – and that has been my deepest heart ache.  How to express my apologies to the younger generation.

I don’t know about others but I have appreciated the email communication from a couple of organizations – AFAR – a travel magazine – Oregon Wild – preservation of Oregon’s wild areas.  Genuine, heart felt letters acknowledging the pain that so many of us feel.  But also giving us hope.

This is a dark hour for America.  But an opportunity for us to do better.  What saddens me is that 50% of our populace supports a sexist, racist, egocentric man – but there is still 50% of us who are willing to roll up our sleeves to fight this hatred.  What is our legacy? How will we be remembered?

 

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