I’ve now lived in Corvallis, Oregon for almost 9 years. We moved to Corvallis in 2012 for my graduate school education, which I am happy to report has been complete for many years.
Corvallis is a small town located in the Willamette Valley, about 90 miles South of Portland, and 50 miles North of Eugene. It is a quaint little city with approximately 56,000 residents, and home to Oregon State University.
I’ve been hiking around Corvallis for years, and yet never hiked the McDonald Research Forest until about 3 years ago. There are a plethora of trails, of all difficulty levels, within the research forest, with beautiful views.
Last week, I hiked the Vineyard Mountain Trail, which is of moderate difficulty, and is about 3.4 miles, if you do the whole loop. On the hike, you get to take in the forest in all of its beauty, which includes many different types of plants, trees, and flowers, and, if you are lucky and it is quiet, which it usually is, some birds. Beautiful.
Here are some pictures from my hike last week.
As I hiked the Vineyard Mountain Trail last week, I was present to the beauty of nature; and, the beauty in being present with nature. When we are fully present, all of life takes on richer and deeper colors; the vibrancy of which is stunning. Lovely.
Alright, as I mentioned in a previously published diary entry, this post is part of one of my new spring and summer series. In this series, I will take in a different hike every week or so, and then write about my reflections.
Thus, we will get to wander and wonder throughout the Willamette Valley together. Fun.
I’ve been thinking more this week about how important it is to take time for ourselves. It is interesting, as I know this truth viscerally today, and have written about it several times in the past few months, and yet as life continues to move, I am continually present to the need to stop and breathe. Important.
Alright, more on that in a moment.
Writing and Reflecting
First, let’s take a look at a few reflections from the week.
The poem Flush occurred to me this week after I dropped off my guitar to be worked on at the local music store. I hadn’t realized how much I’ve loved learning to play the guitar until, all at once, it was removed from my presence for a couple of days.
I actually went to the music store one day, while they were working on my guitar, just to play the guitars on display. I love the feeling that comes with playing the guitar. In fact, I’ve always loved music, which has been a large part of my life, for, well, always. Moving, deeply satisfying, and inspirational. Lovely.
The Hug poem was inspired by the WDYS #78 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje. As I pondered the picture of a small table, set for two, it reminded me of times as a child and youth at my grandparents house. Being around all of my cousins, and feeling that deep sense of connection and love you get when you are near so much family.
Though I don’t get to see much of my extended family today, I relish these memories. Beautiful.
I don’t have much to write about the writing that is coming. That’s fun.
I know there will be more poems, and I do have plans on a post about purpose, yet have not begun to write this piece. All of this unknown is part of the process and joy of creation, which I adore.
My oldest son has an internship with Intel in Portland this summer. Yes. Exciting. I went up to visit him yesterday, which was my first time in Portland in over 15 months. It was an amazing experience.
We went to a wonderful local grocery story called the India Supermarket, and ate at an equally lovely restaurant called Apna Chat Bhavan. Delicious. We then played guitars for the afternoon. It was so lovely to see him and spend time with him doing things we love to do, two of which, we’ve been unable to do, or have chosen not to do, for a long time. Lovely.
The remote book club is still alive and well. We just finished The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende. An elegant and descriptively written book about war, violence, oppression, love, family, and life. I highly recommend this book. Just know that the book does contain many violent scenes, which may be disturbing to some readers. The book contained about as much violence as I can handle these days.
I am now reading the Mahabharata, by Kamala Subramaniam, which is part of my continual spiritual and devotional development. I am only about 100 pages into the text, and am already seeing parallels to all of life, which I know will continue.
Have you ever had someone ask you if you are breathing, or, have you had someone say, don’t forget to breathe? Yep, me too. In fact, I am the one that often says to people, remember to breathe. Yet, more context is needed.
When I say to someone close to me, remember to breathe. These words come along with a historical conversational context about what remembering to breathe really means.
It means creating time in all of our days to stop. Stop working, cooking, cleaning, erranding, working, etc., and just be. Creating time to focus on our breath and be with ourselves. As I’ve written before, you can accomplish this by taking 5-minutes away from everyone and everything, and just focus on the inhalation and exhalation of your breath.
And, as thoughts arise, such as I need to do this, and I need to do that, just let that be. And, return to the breath. If you choose to walk during this time, count your steps as you inhale and exhale, which will help keep the mind at bay.
We all need time to let ourselves be. Away from all of the “needs” that are arising within us.
When we begin to learn that, in fact, those “needs” never really cease, and that we can take actions to slow down the reactivity of the mind to stimuli; by, for example, taking a 5-minute break away from everyone and everything. Using this time to just breathe, we begin to deepen our understanding of how our minds work. Helpful.
As some of you may know, over the December holidays, I had a trip scheduled to the Oregon coast, and, at that time, the trip just didn’t feel right, so I cancelled. Well, as I was writing one night after work, I think it was Wednesday, it occurred to me that a trip to the coast this weekend felt right, so I booked a small cottage about 100 yards from the Ocean, and set out late Friday afternoon.
Before I write more about my time in Yachats, let’s take a look at two of the posts from this past week.
2 Writing Reflections
The Reflection Series: Thinking About Time Differently
I always love what I write, even when the writing is difficult, or it doesn’t turn out exactly like I anticipated; and, the latter happens, well, not quite often, yet as a burgeoning writer it happens. It’s part of the process.
The reflection on time and energy was such a fun post to write, as considering how my (our) energy is spent daily is an important consideration. One that I think more about today, than in times past.
As I wrote about in the post, the idea came from a conversation with a colleague of mine, and since that time, I’ve written this post, made a very short video for LinkedIn, and mapped most of my work (and some of the departments). Here is the latter.
As you can see, what is helpful is knowing how much energy each project takes, and the timeframe the work will take place. On the vertical axis, you can see time labeled as work of the year, work of the quarter, work of the month, and work of the week; and, energy is on the horizontal axis.
I am currently reflecting on this graph, and will use the information contained within to construct my next year of work. Super helpful.
The poem guide was created as I sat and reflected upon my childhood and how I was taught well, very well, in fact, how to use, and develop, my intelligence, perseverance, and determination to “get things done.” The issue?
Well, I wasn’t taught, and it is totally okay that this was so, how to develop my intuition. Yet, it was always there, waiting, and, in fact, guiding me, even though I was unaware for a very long time.
I really enjoyed writing this poem as I believe it is a reflection of many young people’s lives, especially in the United States.
Oh, how I love, love, love the coast. Or, maybe it is called the beach, shore, ocean, or sea, where you live. Either way, I adore being at the coast, and the trip this past weekend was no exception.
I spent my almost two days there, walking along the coast trail, taking photos, meditating, and writing. Oh, yes, I did get some nice sleep too.
Here are some pictures from my time in Yachats.
Yes, it was great fun. I’ll be sharing some of the new poetry I created this weekend in the coming weeks. One is already scheduled for tomorrow night. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed getting to take in all of the scenery and beauty that inspired it.