Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

The good kind of long walk

Actually, The Long Walk is good -- it's my favorite of Stephen King's "Bachman Books" -- but here's what I mean: last night I walked somewhere north of three miles.

I hadn't planned on walking that long. I knew I wanted to burn off energy (and, if possible, caffeine) and I was able to walk through a nature area near my place. It's Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, a former part of the Willamette that was cut off from the river by a railroad about a century ago; it's been somewhat restored over the decades as we've come to better understand the importance of wetlands. It's a large place. Picturesque, too, though not always for the expected, nature-caused reasons.

On the east border of the refuge is Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral Home, a century-old mausoleum: to the west of it, on the side closest to the river, there's Oaks Park Amusement Park. The park and the mausoleum opened around the same time; the first parts of the funeral home were built in 1901, and Oaks Park has operated since 1906. I love that these two places are within sight of each other. I think my cousin Vesta, who died in 1990 at age 95 and is interred there, and who was a funny person in life, was probably amused by the funeral home having a view of an amusement park.

The mausoleum is a beautiful spot -- here are photos showing off parts of it, including parts of the giant mural along many walls. Some of you know it through words: Chuck Palahniuk used it as a location in a book, I think Survivor. (I'm not searching too thoroughly for an answer, since I want to avoid details of the book. I hope to read it someday.)

I didn't go into Wilhelm's Portland Memorial. I could, though (well, when it's open, you don't see me breaking into stuff, right?): you can only go into the areas where people are interred if you know someone who's interred there. I know Vesta. Vesta was a neat person. And something of her is still there, in ash form.

But I didn't go in. I continued past it, walked up a steep switch-backed path up the bluff the mausoleum is built into, and started working my way home. Felt safer doing that in neighborhoods, past streetlights and houses. I'd realized at one point in Oaks Bottom that it was getting too late for me to feel comfortable walking back through the refuge. I do try to walk carefully. And it was a needed walk. A helpful walk. Plus on the way back, I treated myself to Dairy Queen. So it was also good for my sweet tooth.

This deserves expanding into its own post, but to close this for now: I'm glad I'm in the habit of walking.
Tags: peregrinations, portland

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