Local Beauty

When we moved to our current neighborhood we were surprised and delighted to find so much natural beauty within walking distance of our home.  I felt like a kid again in those first morning walk explorations of the surrounding terrain.  I learned that we are nestled between small brooks that feed into Capisic Brook, and that there is a path through the woods between the brook and the Rowe (formerly Hall) school. I learned I could walk into the woods that were part of Evergreen Cemetery, up to the ponds where turtles, frogs, and birds abound.

But one treasure I wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t learned about it first, and then tried to hunt for it.  It is quite hidden, except to those who are hiking on the Fore River Trail, which is just beyond my usual strolling adventures.  But if you know where to find it, you can also access it off the side streets on the other side of Brighton Avenue. This is Jewell Falls, and I walked there yesterday morning.  Can you imagine?  A waterfall in my own neighborhood in Portland! The spring snow melt and rain gave it a great flow and the rushing sounds were like music, morning sunlight dancing to its rhythms. Gratitude.

Jewell Falls

Falling Water

Jewell Falls

Today I had an adventure, and instead of starting my morning walk from the door of my house, I drove across Brighton Avenue, over to a trailhead of the Fore River Sanctuary. Then I walked a short walk to Jewell Falls, which is Portland’s only natural waterfall. After finding its location, I now believe it actually might be doable for me as a walk from my house, via a small side path off Rowe Street.

Today was cloudy and cool, and everywhere the ground was damp. Someday when everything is dry, I will sit on the little bench next to the falls and just listen to the water falling. I walked a little farther down the path, and then came back. Someday, I might walk all the way along the path, until it leads me to my friend’s house on the other side of the sanctuary.

I am curious about my addiction to exploring this neighborhood where we now live. I seem to have an unrelenting need to create an inner map of my new surroundings, to fill my eyes and ears and even my feet with intimate knowledge of my patch of earth. I wonder if there is a common instinct that drives us to this exploration, or if it is just me who feels this way?