Friday, September 3, 2010

Escape from the Urban

Last weekend Erik and I were going to go backpacking, but feeling a little lazy we decided to stay close to home and just do an outing to Sauvie Island instead.  About twelve miles from Portland, this island in the Columbia River is a patchwork quilt of farmland and wildlife preserves.  It is popular with cyclists because the main road makes for a nice 15-mile ride that loops around the southern end of the island and is perfectly flat.  Back when I was new to Portland, this was often how I'd get my exercise in the evenings after work.  Both invigorating and centering, those solo summertime rides at dusk were central to my new, independent life post-college.  
In any case, Erik and I didn't do any biking while on the island this time around.  It was a day devoted to photography, sketching, and berry/peach/vegetable-picking at Sauvie Island Farms.  Nothing beats a morning in the sun, picking your produce for the week, and spending half the money you might otherwise drop at Whole Foods!
I've often heard Portland described as a big city with a small-town feel.  While I don't know how true that really is, I do find that having places like Sauvie--where you can set foot on a farm twenty minutes from downtown--helps things feel a bit smaller and little more real in an otherwise dense, urban place.  The other  small-town thing I've learned about Portland is that you're always bumping into people you know (or sort of know).  Like I saw Melissa from All Buttoned Up picking berries with her kids during our farm trip.  It's just sort of funny and strange to look up from a blueberry bush and say to yourself, "Oh, there's Melissa" when, in fact, I only met her through her blog (which is always a lovely place to visit, by the way).
That's me frolicking in the broccoli patch.  It was a good day. We need to go back soon now that the blackberries have had time to ripen up.