|Backyard magic while Jess packs|
At last our journey from sickness to strength is coming to a close. As I sat in the backyard soaking up the last rays of sunshine before twilight time I heard the scrunchy, squeaky, sticky sounds of Jess running packing tape along the seams of the boxes we were getting ready to ship to her home in Portland. It was music to my heart, but also a little bittersweet. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about her being so far away after having her under my care for the past four months.
|Rob and Jessie waiting for Dave's play to begin.|
What a journey it's been. What welcome contrasts we're seeing now, compared to when we first arrived home with Jess in March. The photo above is a picture of Rob and Jess just before showtime when we attended the play my brother, W. David Wilkins, recently directed, called Noises Off. It was performed at Mount Nittany Middle School, part of the summer series of plays put on by the State College Community Theatre, and the whole family attended. We laughed our butts off! The script is a real gem, and the performances were awesome - it was so perfectly cast by my brother. After the show we all went to Gigi's and sat outside around a firepit to rave about the play, hear all the behind the scenes stories from my brother, and to celebrate Jessie's upcoming trip back to her home in Portland.
|My favorite girl at the airport XO!|
When we got to the airport we found that our first flight was cancelled, so we had a few hours to step out and play tourist in our own town after rebooking. We took Jess to the American Ale House for lunch. I figured if we had to deal with flight cancellations the best case scenario was to have that happen here in town since we could at least get out and about a bit. We had a great lunch and got to enjoy the fresh air under the pines at the Ale House for a little while before we headed back to the airport. We'd planned our flights so that we had plenty of time between each one, since I wasn't sure how much time Jess would need for walking/resting in the airports.
A couple of contrasts I was aware of, and very appreciative of on this travel day were that we could order food at a restaurant and Jess had no trouble eating and enjoying it, and instead of using a wheel chair to navigate the airport distances, she practically pranced down the corridors. She was reeeeally ready to be home, and nothing was going to stop her; her happiness was contagious. Our carefully laid plans for long layovers got squished so that we had to practically run to make our second connection in Detroit - they left us about half an hour and if you have any experience with that airport you know it can be quite a trek. We were the last ones to arrive at the gate, 3 minutes before the plane took off. Phew. So much for the best laid plans.... It both pleased me and pulled my heartstrings to see the determination on Jess's face as we all marathoned our way to the gate.
|New pathways for all of us|
My husband is so smart. He knew this would be a hard trip for me, having to let go after such harrowing times, and he knows that Nature is my favorite medicine. We had talked about how we could help Jess get settled while also supporting her newfound sense of independence and capability, and we decided to spend a few days in Portland doing our thing while she did hers, and then touch base with her every evening. So the first day Rob took me to the Japanese Gardens which was the most brilliant idea this side of bread and butter.
The weather was cool and breezy and we wandered through the gardens, mesmerized by the care with which they are cultivated.
Everywhere you look there is beauty. Even the walkways and borders are beautiful, as well as environmentally respectful. The photo above shows how artistically the stones were laid in the pathways, as well as the bamboo borders edging the plants, along with a carefully chosen rock that so beautifully punctuates the space.
|Color and sound create peace|
As we strolled through the gardens I noticed that the sounds contributed to our sense of peace as much as the visual elements. We listened to sweet birdsong and the musical sounds of flowing water everywhere. There were larger water features as well as tiny bamboo water fountains strategically placed.
The koi fish were spectacular, both in size and color. Some of them had shiny silver scales that flashed in the sun as they swam.
|Fluffiest irises I've ever seen!|
And the flowers were spectacular.
|Furry moss on a tree trunk|
And the moss was amazing! Soft and furry, it coated all of the tree trunks, since Portland's weather is perfect for supporting rainforest types of growth.
We explored the indoor exhibits in the Tea House and I was amazed at the precision of the artist who created a series of 25 bowls, each a bit smaller than the previous one. As I looked at these bowls I thought it wouldn't be so hard if they were done with clay, since you could weigh it before shaping it to get the size right. But when I talked with one of the people minding the exhibit, they explained that these were made of wood. (!!!) I was very impressed with the artist's ability to discern and materialize 25 different sizes out of wood. For those of you who know me, you might get a kick out of the struggle I had not to go over there and stack those bowls one inside the other, just for the satisfaction!
We were soothed by the worlds within worlds at the Japanese Gardens, and I found my "Mommy meter" ratcheting down a few notches as a result of the surrounding, enveloping beauty.
|"Love and Peace" is the name of this rose.|
THEN! we went to the International Rose Test Garden, which happens to be right next to the Japanese Gardens, and it was like walking all over the top of a wedding cake. So delicious! The fragrances were sensational and the colors were glorious. I love to draw roses, and could have happily spent days and days capturing the fine lines and shapes of the petals in these gardens. No two roses are ever alike. The name of the first rose we saw up close was "Love and Peace," which I took as a little message from the Universe to tuck into my heart.
I think this one was called Sedona Sunrise - smelled heavenly!
I can't remember the name of this one, but it's one of my all time favorite colors - sooooo sweet and gentle.
|Wild roses among the cultivated ones|
I love wild roses for their spicy, peppery scent, and they tend to fend off disease very well. There were some spectacular ones among the hybrids in the gardens.
|Variety all on one rose bush!|
Another one that caught my attention was this lovely yellow cultivar, which had blossoms ranging from rich golden yellow to the palest shade of almost white all on the same bush. Lovely fragrance as well.
|Just like a wedding cake full of luscious confections|
So that was our first foray into Nature to settle our hearts while Jessie settled back into her home, cleaning, running errands, and sprucing up her space with new things here and there.
We took her to dinner every night, and Portland is marvelous for dining choices. I was pleased to see she's still happily working on weight gain (Mom, do you have to take a picture now? : )
|Parental support of weight gain|
And we had no trouble supporting her efforts, yum!
I'll do another blog post about the rest of our trip since this one's probably making you cross-eyed by now and maybe a little hungry too!