Getting in touch with nature

June 22, 2021 4:22 PM

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Relaxing by the river in Portland, Oregon. Photo courtesy of the author.

Relaxing by the river in Portland, Oregon. Photo courtesy of the author.

I’ve always been one for the indoors. For one, I have horrible allergies. Most painful is during the spring months, but pollen always has me rubbing my eyes and sneezing. Yet, I do enjoy and admire nature despite this, from the ocean to forests. I hate mosquitoes especially — and gnats. The way they bite and fly into your ears … awful. But there are many nice things: cool, refreshing water, the sand beneath your toes, animals (hopefully not with rabies). Notably, none of this is very “exciting” in my eyes. That might be because I have A.D.H.D. Being “off the grid” in nature is just too slow and uneventful for my tastes — or at least it was — but my perspective changed one day. 

Fast forward, I'm flying to Portland, Oregon. I had to get up around … I don’t know, 3 a.m.? I ate something at an airport — probably a nice burger, if anything was open — and set off. I think it was on Delta. Delta has good in-flight entertainment and these tasty biscuit cookies, so it’s not as bad as other flights. I’ve never been too bothered by flights. I prefer the window seat — feels more private — though it’s really not in reality. It’s more of a placebo. 

Now, I love Portland. It’s beautiful, with good food (ESPECIALLY pizza … better than New York and Boston — debate decided! I may be biased, as I was born there — but still.) My uncle John decided he’d take me to a river, however. At first, I was a bit put off — I complained about how boring it would be, the temperature, the drive, the mosquitos, the lack of anything to do. I had eggs and bacon from the local farm that morning — my uncle often bikes over to get them fresh. They taste absolutely divine; the bacon’s always just right and the eggs taste better than any egg I’ve eaten. I digress. The drive wasn’t too bad, maybe 30 minutes. I played some license plate-related car games; it was probably something about where they were from, I can’t recall. I’m sure I complained a lot as well. 

When we arrived, the parking lot was somewhat full. This was a river, though it took some walking to get to the nice part. Along the way there were little crooks — I had my swim trunks on, luckily. Eventually, we got to a nice part where people kayaked; there were lots of rocks and trees on the horizon — it was beautiful. As I soaked in the cool water, I felt … serene. Tranquil. 

That was definitely the apex of the day, and I wasn’t even thinking about all the other things I could do — like reading, watching shows, playing games, going out, etc. It was at that moment I realized that the calm and quiet aren’t so bad! I went home, and I slept well. I was there for about three hours; I didn’t even realize it. I had a great dinner as well. 

It’s worth mentioning my dog is also in Portland; my uncle takes care of him. He’s more or less my Uncle John’s dog, at this point. I’m going to fly out back to Portland this summer, and I’ll definitely visit the river again, likely with my aunt. My perspective has changed a lot; it’s just really nice to spend some time outdoors away from a screen. It’s not particularly exciting or fun, but it’s healthy and calming. Soothing. Next time, I don’t know if I’ll find the same spot, but I know I’ll enjoy it regardless. I’m looking forward to the chance to get away from all the city life that I’m used to and see the stars and some running water (besides a sink or shower) for once. It’s also a great time to reflect, which I did. The things you think about when there are no distractions to keep you busy can be surprising. At the end of the day, I just love swimming in rivers.

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