The neighborhood is peaceful after I cross Capitol Highway, just houses with luminous pumpkins glowing in the thick fog alongside outrageous spider webs, comedic skeletons and other Halloween bric-a-brac. I amble north descending into the dark greens, glowing yellows and oranges of Autumn in an old woodsy neighborhood where a staircase leads me through a little gully to Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. At Hillsdale Park a footpath takes me over Trillium Creek on a narrow, chain-link covered bridge. The fencing has collected an impressive crown of maple leaves under the dark forest making it into an eerie tunnel.
I continue upward to Council Crest and walk through the stately trees layered by distance and fog to the Hilltop intersection before plunging into another swath of urban forest on the Marquam trail, traffic noise steadily picking up as I get closer to Sunset Hwy.
I cross the highway and step into the Arboretum 2 hours and 10 minutes after leaving home. It’s a long walk but ditching my car is a luxury for my quaint spirit.
In the meadow behind the Forestry Center I stop to a rest under a maple. Juncos flit about overheard, yellow leaves dart from their branches into the unknown spaces below, filtering through the limbs then landing on the ground.
Further down the trail dark seed pods create dense rhythms against the embers of glowing leaves on an intricate lace of limbs, everything soft in the damp air. The black Walnut stops me in my tracks; just the leaves on the tips of the branches remain, a delicate, earthy yellow, gracefully arced and sparse like a Phillip Glass composition. Each main branch makes it’s own angled pane in the sky in differing shades of gray.
The gerding maple, with yellow leaves so pale they look partially erased, feels to be halfway between here and eternity while juncos, camouflaged on the trail, dart into the grass.
A week later I will come back, on foot again, and lay down in the grass under the London Plane trees, sinking deep into a day with no agenda. Each junco and robin sailing above, each leaf twirling wildly in the breeze are lost truths stitching themselves back into my being where I lay, half-erased like an ambitious manuscript fading into one line of a richly questionable poem.