I think I’ll journey out some day to wondrous lands afar,
Or even chart a journey to a distant blazing star.
But rest assured that when my journey begs to take its cue,
Always know that when I go, this journey takes you too...
And in the winding route, this journey's bound to bide content,
But most of all take heed - let's make our journey life's event.

from JOURNEY TO BE, by Mark Slaughter

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Musings

Summer vacation! How I always loved it as a kid, even though being in school was usually not unpleasant for me. I still love it, and I am blessed that it is a perk of my chosen career as a middle school teacher. It was wonderful to be able to spend the summer with my kids when they were very young, since they were in day care before they started school. Even after they started school, it was such fun to be able to hang out with them during the summer. Their grandparents lived behind Geauga Lake and Sea World, just 20 minutes from us, and they would receive complimentary passes every year for about 5 years due to the inconvenience of the noise and increased traffic of the parks. They would generously bestow the passes on us, and we would take short trips to both parks often. I always had to ride the roller coasters in the front seat with my son with my eyes squeezed tightly shut and a white-knuckled grip on the handlebars! Once, we went on a ride that he assured me did not go upside down. HAH! I quickly learned not to trust his perception of  rides! His maniacal laughter as I was screaming and hanging upside down in this car-thing let me know he had planned to fool me, not maliciously, but in his own rascally way!

Now that my kids are adults and on their own, I fill my summer days with knitting, crocheting, spinning, gardening, sewing, and traveling. With a daughter and new son-in-law in San Antonio, I travel to Texas at least three times a year. I LOVE getting off the plane in 75 degree weather in December when I have left 25 degrees and 2 feet of snow behind.  Having dinner on a balmy evening at an outdoor table next to the colorfully lit Riverwalk at Christmas was truly a treat! The Riverwalk is also lined with softly glowing luminaries during the holiday season.
Holiday lights on the Riverwalk
This June, San Antonio was really hot, but it was a dry heat without the exhausting humidity at home. It felt great after the cold, rainy spring we experienced in Northeastern Ohio! This June marked my 7th  trip to San Antonio in 2 1/2 years, and I finally got up the nerve to take my daughter to work in order to use her car and actually DRIVE alone in that crazy traffic. I thought Akron traffic was bad!

For a change in scenery, I visited my sister and brother-in-law in Portland, Oregon in mid July. Such amazing geography there is in the Pacific Northwest! We went to the Pacific coast, to Mount Hood, and up to Astoria. Astoria is the northwestern-most point in Oregon, where you can see the meeting of the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Columbia River. If you turn around from that scene, you view the Cascade Range with its snow-capped mountain peaks spreading out along the whole horizon. It is a breathtaking sight! Astoria is also the location for the filming of many movies, such as Goonies and Kindergarten Cop, which I didn't know until this visit.

Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean - Washington is on the other side of the bridge.

One of the highlights of Astoria is the observation tower called the Astoria Column, which shows a pictoral timeline of the history of Astoria from the arrival of the Clatsop Indians, through the explorations by Lewis and Clark, finishing with the arrival of the pioneers. One can climb the 164 spiraling steps inside the column to reach the observation deck at the top. Well, YOU can! I only made it up 36 steps before I froze and had to go back down...the risers on the steps were open and I could see to the bottom of the column as I got higher. I have a problem with heights, and I REALLY thought I could climb that tower since the steps were enclosed in the interior of the column. No such luck! Even if I had made it to the top, I would have had to plaster myself against the wall of the observation deck. I was even shaking while taking the picture of my sister and brother-in-law waving from the deck, and I was standing with my feet firmly planted on the ground!

Astoria Column

Another highlight of the trip was seeing Mt. Hood from different perspectives. The majestic 11,250 foot mountain can be seen from the top of my sister's street, and it is a breathtaking sight especially during a beautiful sunset! We drove an hour and a half to set foot at the timberline (6000 feet above sea level) of the snowy towering peak. What an incredible sight!

Mt. Hood from my sister's street at sunset

Upper 5200 feet of Mt. Hood from the timberline

They were great trips, and I plan to return to San Antonio and Oregon next summer for another visit! Now summer vacation is drawing to a close, and I am eagerly anticipating the start of a new school year.

No comments:

Post a Comment