I was tempted to join two of my walking buddies in volunteering at the Japanese Garden. As everyone in Portland knows, our garden is ranked second only to San Francisco’s Japanese garden and is high on the list where we take our visitors. It is peaceful, tranquil. No cellphones, just the soft breezes and the sound of water flowing.

When I learned that to be a tour guide I would need to attend two classes a week for four weeks, I started to question my decision. How would I manage absorbing and committing the information about the plants to my memory? I don’t know if you have trouble remembering the title of the page-turning mystery you read a week ago or the name of a fellow dancer in your exercise class, but I do.

My friends finished their course. When they started to give tours, I went to the garden to hear them explain what the circles of stone mean and that guests could get tea in the tea house. Did you know that Japanese gardens have five different styles of design? There are the sand and stone, natural, flat, rolling pond and tea gardens. And that the designers use creative methods to hide and reveal items so that the visitor will have a different view as they meander the asymmetrical paths.

The garden is number one on my list of places to take my sister when she visits in August. I am so glad I bought a membership so I can bring guests. We probably will have a bit of time to see the Rose Garden and shop in the Pearl.

Timberline Lodge is another favorite place to go. We will stay overnight in the area so we can explore the surrounding trails and tour the lodge. The story of how unemployed construction men and seamstresses were trained to create the furniture, drapes, linens and light fixtures fascinates me. People unemployed because of the Depression benefited from the work not only in monetary ways but also were uplifted by working on the project. Their pride and hard work produced a lodge that attracts so many tourists every year.

Of course, skiing on Mount Hood is the main attraction. Neither my sister nor I currently ski, but I found out that we can take the Magic Mile lift. Now that will be an adventure and so easy on the knees.

Our last big outing will be two days at the coast. I remember the first time I saw the Oregon coast. It was breathtaking to this New Jersey/New York woman. The color of the Pacific Ocean, the rocks and the uncrowded beaches just blew me away. And, yes, the wind blew too and we wore jackets.

We will spend two days in Cannon Beach. Haystack Rock towers 235 feet above the ground and I love walking the beach and seeing the tide pools and the birds surrounding the rock. Some local businessmen shone spotlights on Haystack when Highway 101 was moved from the center of town. They wanted travelers to see the Rock and come into Cannon Beach. Unfortunately the birds were so disturbed that they abandoned the rock and left their marks on cars, homes and stores.

My sister and I will check out all of the stores. We will undoubtedly have our ice cream cone lunch and our dinner at Doogers Seafood and Grill. Then we will drive home to Lake Oswego. Our trips are balanced by lots of time reading by the pool, walking to Millennium Park for the market and concerts and lazing away summertime together. What a life!

Joan Waldron is a member of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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