The other day, as we strolled down the Park Blocks between NW Flanders and Glisan, we came upon a stump. Trees in this part of the Northwest are not uncommon. Neither are stumps, for that matter. Yet this was no ordinary stump; it was a large, low cut stump which bore a striking resemblance to Gondwanaland.
What was also striking about this stump was its location. The Northwest Park Blocks, stretching from Burnside to NW Hoyt street along 8th Ave, are home to a great many oversized trees. The trees stand, lining the blocks like a royal guard creating a corridor for kings and queens to pass. The kings and queens of Portland’s NW Park Blocks represent all ages and walks of life.
These grand trees have observed and endured many a changes in their surroundings as Portland the frontier town has grown into the pleasant city which we now enjoy. The trees, circa 2011, enjoy the delight of children racing through the playground, the musings of men and women as they commune on the many benches lining the blocks, and the gentle, respectful pace of both car and bicycle as they quietly traverse the paved portion of the blocks.
The trees serve as a constant reminder to the contemplative passerby that our noble lives are but a whisper on the winds of time. Much of what one does will be forgotten, and in an age where information is abundant but wisdom is in short supply, the trees offer a humble reminder that in order to stand tall, one needs roots which run deep and branches which extend to embrace.
This day, amongst the grandeur and wisdom which the trees continuously display, the stump served as a reminder that even the grandest of trees can be laid low on a temporal whim. There is nothing to gain by lamenting its passing. Rather, as with all loss, we must take the opportunity to pause and reflect on our daily actions. Perhaps the stump’s resemblance of Gondwanaland is not an accident, for it offers a glimpse of the eternal time in which everything around us yearns to live.