Walks through the neighborhood during the golden hour

Now that the weather’s nicer, most evenings I’ve been taking stupid little walks for my stupid mental health through my neighborhood and others nearby. Can you believe this shit hole?

A concrete sidewalk bends to the left as it cuts through a neighborhood. The street is to the left of the sidewalk, the front yards of the neighborhood homes are to the right. On both sides of the sidewalk are an abundance of lush greenery—bushes, shrubs, and trees of varying shape, fullness, and height. It's the golden hour, and the sun is shining through the taller trees in the distance.


I!!! mean!!! Look at these Secret Garden-ass vibes! They’re like a dream. Or a French landscape painting. Which: same fucking thing!!! Exquisite. Delicious. I can’t believe I live here???????? (I don’t live in one of these gorgeous houses with a gorgeous yard. I live a few blocks away, in a century-old apartment with terrible curb appeal and that’s literally falling apart at its seams.)

The front yard of a Portland home. The yard is in the style of an English garden, with a large variety of pink and purple and orange wildflowers, bushes, shrubs, and trees growing closely together. The front steps and porch of the home is barely visible through the greenery.

I am endlessly impressed by the organized chaos of these English garden yards. So lush. So diverse. The colors and textures and shapes and height and depth—a giant shot of happy hormones straight to my brain.

How much do you think yards like this cost to get going and then maintain? The houses in these neighborhood are (each) valued at more than a small nation’s GDP. The yards? I’m going with: All of our salaries combined.

The side yard of a Portland home, in the style of an English garden. There grow in it a variety of bushes, shrubs, tress, and small purple wildflowers. A concrete sidewalk is to the left. The sky is cloudless and bright blue.

Can we please take several minutes to talk about how the colors of nature on the west coast are unrivaled. Borderline unreal. LOOK AT HOW PRETTY! Everything’s so vibrant and saturated. The rest of the country looks perpetually jaundiced in comparison.

Front view of a wall of tall hedges with bright pink, bright purple, and white flowers, framed across the top by the bright green leaves of a nearby tree (just out of frame).

This is the time of year that I usually spend a lot of time training outside. Not this year. I’m still too injured. I’m still limited to two hours in the gym per week (down from three or more hours per day, five to six days per week). And I’m still pretty limited in what I can do during those two hours in the gym.

These stupid little walks help offset my ~thoughts and feelings~ about that. Plus, they get my body moving, and they get me out of my apartment and into the world—without having to socialize or spend money or increase my risk of catching COVID, which: bonus, bonus, bonus.

A sidewalk bends to the right as it cuts through a Portland neighborhood. To the left, a patch of land separating the sidewalk from the street. This patch of land is packed tightly with full bushes of small white wildflowers, small red-orange wildflowers, and green shrubbery and trees. To the right of the sidewalk, the side yard of a home, packed tightly with a variety of greenery. It's the golden hour, and the sun is shining brightly from the left. The sky is cloudless and bright blue.

My two youngest kids are coming to stay with me for the rest of the summer—we fly back to Portland from DC today—and, cue the cheese and cringe and cliché, I cannot wait to share this place, and these walks, with them.

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