The Tualatin River NWR is another regular outing for us: close to home, with plenty of seasonal variation. On this visit the first signs of spring were evident, and many migrating waterfowl we’d seen over the winter were still on site. In another few weeks, the trails that close during nesting season will re-open, and I’m sure we’ll be back there soon.
During my recent visit, the Japanese Garden had an exhibition of netsuke, carved figures used in the Edo period to secure purses to pocketless kimonos. At a time when the merchant classes were prohibited from any display of opulence, the functional intention of these objects provided a loophole for small bits of showy fashion. (Since the netsuke bound the purse string to the kimono belt sort of like a bolo tie, the term loophole might be, oh, never mind.) Here’s a sampling from the exhibit.
For most of the year, the Japanese Garden is all about shades of green, and the magical spaces that thoughtful design can create. But for fall colors and spring blossoms, it’s showtime! This time there were cherry trees in full bloom, camellias, azaleas and andromeda, plus more light and less frozen fingers — all signs of the changing season.
Another herald of spring is the appearance of trillium among the ferns on the forest floor. It may have been our initial spring in Portland when I first noticed trillium in bloom at Tryon Creek Park, so that seemed a fitting place to look for them after seeing a few at the Japanese Garden, and hearing of “thousands” at Forest Park from another enthusiastic visitor there. It did not disappoint.
Both the Japanese Garden and Tryon Creek Park are places we visit throughout the year. I enjoy having a familiar frame to consider all the seasons; it makes it easy to find the beauty all year long. But ya gotta love spring and all the showboat flora. And, it’s nice to finally lose a layer of clothes and some of the mud on my shoes.