How do they do it? Every inch of Portland’s Japanese garden elicits a sigh of recognition. Nature as the ultimate beauty. Sigh. One is invited to breathe it in through all the senses simultaneously. The sounds of water, visible or not, throughout. The contrast of stone against plant holding your interest so it never flags from step to step.
At times last Sunday spectators filled the paths, but a bench opened up inside a mini pagoda structure looking out on this scene, so we sat down for some sketching. I’m learning not to freak out about the complexity of forest scenes, to tell myself to start out with a kind of nature doodle, letting the pen wander, then coming back with playful layers of watercolor, and perk it up at the end with a colored gel pen. The important thing is, can you look at it and feel the cool forest air and hear the water?
Next day we started at the Hoyt Arboretum with its miles of specialized trails ribboning up the hill back and forth: the red pine, the spruce, the redwood, the hawthorn and magnolia and holly and more! We picnic lunched at a forest outlook point and later stopped above the fragrant rose garden where I had time to sketch this appealing restroom while we waited for the bus to take our weary feet back “home”.
Doubtless you’ve read about the Wall of Moms that made a stand in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Portland. Moms flooded into the city from all over, night after night, incensed by the invasion of Federal troups, with their military bearing and disregard for civil rights. Linking arms the moms created a wall, walking into the tear gas with all the others. My mom-ness linked up and felt the sting.
According to my friend Janet who lives there, since the Feds have left, peaceful demonstrations and police restraint have prevailed, along with some wonderful new protest art installations. But of course the camouflagers have been ordered now to occupy other democratically inclined cities (without invitation from local jurisdictions of course).
I guess you may have read in the news about federal troups (deployed by Trump) invading Portland, Oregon to “restore order” after there were 50 nights of demonstrations against police brutality. The word invading is mine, since they were not invited to “help” by the local police or mayor or governor AND they caused an escalation in the violence they were supposedly there to quell. Picture this. . .camouflaged officers jumping out of vans to grab protesters without explanation.
Many of us are asking, is this really my country or a fascist state?!
Got me to thinking. . .how to tell the story in the way I know. . .with paint. . .because words just failed me.
For some breaking news check out this NYTimes article, but only if you can handle a spike in blood pressure!