A walk through Pier Park… Diversity brings beauty and strength

I decided to take a longer lunch today, and engage in one of my favorite past times-- walking the neighborhoods to experience the sense of place. 

I work in St. Johns, a very old neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.  Still affordable for families, although gentrification is threatening. There are many  small, older homes with sidewalks on every block and and I remembered the joyful games of my youth in Portland -- "Red light, Green light"  and "Mother May I".  Soft, fuzzy memories that made me smile.

I headed down to Pier Park to explore, and soon realized the park went farther back than just the soccer fields off the road.  Then I hit the jackpot.  Beautiful deep shaded woods with paths under green canopies and it was quiet and still.  A wonderful respite. 

Now often when I walk, I let my mind wander, hoping it won’t  stray into the clutter of work issues.  But sometimes I find a theme interrupts my random thoughts and my street walking takes on a certain focus.  Today as I wandered I started thinking about the smorgasbord of trees hidden in this green space.    And I remembered my University of Oregon class on “Trees of Oregon”.   I was so proud of myself when I was able to identify at least 15 of the 20 tree species in the park.  And what beauty the diversity of all those shades of green gave the park.  Conifers and deciduous trees… all part of the palette:  apple green, emerald green, asparagus green, avocado green, Caribbean green (of course one of my favorites) , khaki green, lime green, granny smith green… the list goes on.

The trees were healthy and together created a richness, a vibrancy that an orchard of  just one type of tree would not deliver.  And I thought how here in America we are on the cusp of a multi-cultural country, which will soon bring the same richness of diversity ... new faces, values, idioms, and social practices.  It will offer the American culture so much more creativity, with new opportunities tolearn from one another and cross pollinate, creating resilience and strength.    Communities and businesses will reflect the best from multiple cultures, no longer being locked in a singular homogeneous world, but being open and respectful of one another.  I celebrate and welcome this new horizon. 

Won’t you join me?