I was listening to a podcast yesterday, a Ted Talks compilation of how to be a better person. It just sort of combined a bunch of Ted Talks on the subject together in a single podcast (here’s the link, if you want to have a listen). I’m only halfway through (and so presumably about 50% better as a person), but something one of the speakers mentioned resonated with me.
He was saying how humans on average spend about half of our lives zonked out, lost in thought rather than paying attention to surroundings. My first thought was, ‘Right, and how do you even collect the data for that?’.
My second was, ‘Gah, I’m doing this right now’.
I was listening to this podcast as I was walking my dog. Basically on autopilot and definitely zonked. The speaker suggested that we work harder to live in the moment, you know, feel the wind on our face and listen to the sounds around us. Oops.
But I so agree.
All this is to say, sometimes it feels good to just appreciate the things that seem small or normal, maybe an adventure that, if you could drop it, would make less of a ‘BOOM’ and more of a ‘tiiiing’.
The most frequent ‘tiiing’ in my days is wandering the neighborhood with our fluffy dog, and I’ve been so struck by how very un-fall-like it’s been around here. Even now I’ve been seeing lots of new, cute spring-looking blooms… sort of disorienting in the fall, really.
But even more striking was Portland’s International Test Garden, which we visited last week. It was like we’d stepped through the back of a wardrobe, landing in the wrong season.
I’m not a fan of bouquets of roses, but this? Heck yeah. And to top it off, dogs are welcome there so we were able to bring our fuzzball along. And he got happily covered in mud.
These ones below were my favorites. I’ve decided they should be called Tequila sunrise, because if they were growing in Willy Wonka’s factory you know that’s what they’d taste like. Don’t look at me like that, you know it’s true.
It’s hard not to appreciate this a little extra right now, when my phone was just showing a winter storm warning for the town we moved from in Colorado. I have to enjoy this moment, before the doldrums of endless rain (otherwise known as winter in the Pacific Northwest) settle in.
The International Test Gardens are part of this whole complex in Portland that also includes the Portland Zoo, Japanese Gardens, and a bunch of other stuff. My dad was looking forward to a walk (did I mention my parents came to visit?) so we picked their Redwood Trail, which runs through part of the arboretum close to the rose gardens (there are a lot of trails there to pick from).
This trail’s name promised some big trees, highlights of Coastal Redwoods and Sequoias. Though the big trees out here are always striking to Pacific coast immigrants like us, the redwoods are just… magic.
Which makes me want to tell you about our recent trip to the Redwoods, in California, but that’ll have to wait for another day 🙂
So there you go, adventures basically right in our backyard. I hope this is the beginning of many — it’s so easy to take where you live for granted, and we definitely did this in Colorado. Ugh! So many things still on my Colorado bucket list.
We’re determined to do better here.
What local sights/adventures/events have you always meant to see/have/experience, but somehow missed? Let us know in the comments below, so we can all try to avoid making that same mistake together 😉