Forest Park, which contains the 30 mile long Wildwood trail and is the largest urban forest in the U.S., is a fifteen minute drive from my house and the closest forest for when I need to be under trees and don't have enough time to get to the Columbia Gorge or Mount Hood. This need happens about every other week for me, especially during the cooler months. As I've written here, nature is a huge inspiration for me, but it's not necessarily gaining ideas from what I see in the trees, it's more the space that the woods open up in my mind. It allows me to breathe, to step out of the studio and back from a problem so I can come at it with renewed energy. I often go with my friend who owns her own spiritual direction practice and we talk out all our concerns and problems with small business ownership, being a woman trying to find her voice in this world, as well as the ups and downs of family life and how we're finding some semblance of balance these days. It's all very therapeutic.
And this forest, with it's low hanging mist, silver wet ferns, and abundance of oak leaves, well, it holds a special place in my heart. You won't find much in the way of spectacular views here, except for the occasional glimpse of Portland through the brush, and it's not super secluded, although the wettest days are often fairly quiet, but you will find beauty and magic and something new every time even if you've taken the trail twenty times before. I think it's familiarity is part of what I love. It feels like home.