Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mt. Hood

Friday night my husband and I drove to Sunriver via the pass over Mt. Hood. As a native Portlander, I grew up with Mt. Hood always off in the distance. When I learned directions, it wasn’t with north as the keystone, but with east – because that’s where Mt. Hood is. As we drove along Hwy 26 with the light of the day quickly fading to twilight, there are a couple of places where Mt. Hood looms up over the road – and each time I saw it, massive against the sky of fading light, it took my breath away!

When I was 13 my family moved from Portland to the Washington Coast. The first time I returned to Portland, as we crossed the I-5 Bridge into Oregon and I glanced to the east and saw Mt. Hood – that’s when I cried. I had come home to my city, to my state, to my mountain. Jonathan Nicholas, a Portland journalist, once wrote:

Whether they are flying in from Bali or Bora Bora, Tacoma or Timbuktu, even the most jaded travelers press their noses to the windows as planes bank for the final approach to PDX. Newcomers are lost for words as the face of Mt. Hood looms into view. But Portlanders know exactly what to say, “Ah, home!”

Whenever I glimpse the mountain, whether it’s close up against the twilight as it was Friday night, or peeking through the clouds as I cross the Glenn Jackson Bridge, I feel like Pocahontas when she sings the song, Colors of the Wind:

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Somehow I am connected to Mt. Hood. I don’t understand it; actually, I don’t even try. I just am, and it’s a connection that gives me roots, satisfaction and wonder.


Debbie S said...

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat after reading your Mt. Hood entry. I think my emotional response comes from a combination of things. I've been thinking of "love of country" a lot lately and wondering if we are losing it. I heard someone say yesterday that no matter where in the world they travel to, it is always bliss to return home. My oldest daughter left two days ago for a year sojourn in Korea. She has been welcomed in a more generous way than I could have hoped for, and my heart is bursting with pride/joy/awe at what this experience has already brought, and will continue to bring, to her. But, my oh my, I already look forward to this daughter returning to that sight of Mt. Hood and home!

Kim H. said...

I have to say, everytime I see Mt. Hood, I am in awe of it also. I love seeing it loom over everything, I love being able to see it when I am flying into Portland...yes, October is around the corner and I will get to see Mt. Hood again. And Portland isn't even my home!