Friday, August 19, 2016

First Days, Oregon

We stepped off the train in Albany, and straight into big hugs and welcome greetings. Seeing family was the main point of our whole venture north. We were even there in time to continue the celebration of Grandmother Eunice's ninety-fourth birthday.

My cousin and aunt keep a lovely home, open and inviting. And cool, too. It was very hot in Oregon that day!

This was our Picture a Day moment, because it perfectly captured what we were so eager to enjoy... time and love with Grandmother. That is great-grandmother to Maria.

The shawl I've been working on was finished on the train, and ready to be gifted to Grandma. We needed the ac, but she gets chilled. I hope she feels our continued warmth and love in that wrap, even while we are away.

Pictures. Smiles. More hugs. We squeezed in a lot of love before heading out for the next part of the day's traveling.

Delia, Maria, Eunice, Natalie~

Mom and Dad treated us to a luxury suite in Florence. On the drive over we watched the car thermometer drop from the high nineties to the sixties. We woke up rested and ready for breakfast, then a nice walk along the Suislaw River.

Florence is a pretty, coastal town. Even though I was well-rested, I think my head was still loopy-bumpy from the train tracks, and while we walked around, I thought, "Gee, it's so green here, and look at all these flowers! It looks just like Oregon."

Believe it or not, I do limit the number of pictures I take. If I actually followed my impulses I would have two-thousand one-hundred and twenty-six pictures of lichens and mosses, and more of everything else, too. (I just realized I keep putting the dashes in different places every time I spell out 2,126. My head must still be loopy-bumpy from the train tracks.

We found a beautifully stocked, and charming bookstore, Books 'n' Bears. In the beginning I was very disciplined about not buying too much to carry back. Somehow, we managed to leave without anything, but it wasn't easy.

Having recently viewed the entire series Gravity Falls, we were very tuned into all things mysterious and uniquely Oregonian and/or weird.

Mysterious and weird can also be cool and fun, like what we found at Funky Monkey Toys!

Remember, when I say the secret word, everyone scream real loud!

I think I would make a great tour guide. A weird, but cool tour guide.

Next we visited the fruit stand where Delia finds ground cherries. Hold on... let's find a link for these, because I still haven't tried them, and have only had them described to me by my mom. Aha! They're a nightshade family fruit! Physalis. (Interesting reading in this link. Thank you, Wikipedia.) Missed out, but the peaches were the best I've enjoyed since childhood. Seriously, amazing.

The nectarines were delicious, too.

After enjoying Florence, we turned south, and made our way along the beautiful Oregon Coast, passed sand dunes, over bridges and rivers. The ride is gorgeous.

These were our great tour guides, Ron and Delia. When we got to Coos Bay, we stopped for lunch, then visited Pony Village Mall, found new flip-flops for Maria, and yarn for me, walked around, saw a movie, and made plans for the second, full day. I couldn't believe all we'd already done, just that first day!

We were home in time to care for Mom's garden. Ron gets concerned about her garden. The wind knocks over pots, and everything gets thirsty. Keeping her plants on the porch has been a big success, because everything is safer from their huge forest slugs, and deer. This is one of the ground cherry plants she's successfully grown from seed. Today she updated me on their progress... growing bigger! Someday, I will get to try them.

My favorite FB posts of my mother's are of her garden. She gives it a great deal of care, and it reminds me of the wonderful gardens she kept when we were children.

I love seeing flowers, trees, all new varieties... new to me! Look at all these flowers! It looks just like Oregon!

I think he's willing that tomato plant to not tip over, again!

We were too early for ground cherries, but just in time for blackberries!

She even managed to fill the bowl. I didn't help. I ate every berry I picked. No regrets.

Those bramble thorns are wicked, but it promotes keeping a nice, careful and calming rhythm, perfect for restful days in the Oregon woods. Maria and I were comparing notes on how we were feeling... it took a while to lose the feeling that the ground was still moving beneath our feet.

Last of the foxglove. It's restorative to the mind and soul to be where there are seasons, where it's not so subtle that changes are happening... summer waning, fall beginning to appear. The hints make gentle reminders to enjoy the moment, and be prepared for the next.

Over the river and through the woods, that's how we get to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

And in town, we saw the paintings along the boardwalk for the Art Show. This was my favorite. Bold, sincere, expressive, and appealing. Excellent use of space and color, too.

Up and down, north and south, I love traveling along the 101. It's a long ribbon of familiar places, connected.

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