Winters in Oregon are blue. They’re drizzly and drab and full of longing for sunshine. Spring on the other hand, is my favorite time of year in Oregon. I love the brightly colored blooms, the gusts of wind, and the moody rain showers that often end in a beam of delicious sunlight breaking through the gray clouds.
Yesterday I took a walk to one of my favorite places, a bench up on a hill beneath a giant old-growth Doug Fir. It’s a part of the Pioneer Cemetery, ten acres of beautiful, forested hillside with walking trails and sacred spaces nestled between tall grasses and rain-washed tombstones. The lower hillside is full of purple Camas flowers this time of year, and the bees hum methodically from blossom to blossom, collecting the bounty. From my perch on the rough-cut stone bench, I can see the clouds shift above the thick forested hills that hug Eugene—a quirky mishmash of neighborhoods and parks down in the valley. I go here to clear my mind, breathe, and remember what’s most important to me. From high up on the hill, I get a new perspective and leave feeling refreshed.
As you can tell, I’m passionate about this place. But there are many other places I love just as much. I adore my home-state because there are countless awe-worthy outdoor spaces to spend time in (like Proxy Falls, pictured below). Even though the seven or so months of straight rain and gray are hard to live through, I just love how green and alive Oregon is. Everything grows here. Grass and flowers, roots and weeds all poke through the sidewalk cracks, no matter how much we weed them. Nature rules here, and we are all inspired by her beauty.
What places make you feel more alive?
Perhaps you have a favorite coffee shop to tuck away into when you need to think, or a hike that inspires you. Maybe it’s as simple as a spot in the shade in your backyard, or as complex as a city that fills you with energy and excitement. Regardless, these places we love are a part of us, and we are a part of them. So go. Visit them often. Renew your spirit.
Visit a favorite place this week, or discover a new one! Take the time to enjoy where you are by being present and appreciative of how much you gain from your surroundings.