A World of Speculation

One of my favorite places in the world is the Portland Chinese Garden. It’s a block surrounded by some of the busiest streets in Portland. On one side is an office building; on another a single-room-occupancy hotel; just a couple of blocks away are the downtown post office and the train station. And in this garden is a paradise — a place of calm quiet, still water, an ever-changing landscape of growing, blooming, dying, and rebirthing plants, with a tea house where hours can pass without my ever noticing them.

On a day last week, we heard jazz pianist Randy Porter play there. There were maybe a hundred or more people sitting in chairs around the garden and the music drifted out across the water, where the locuses bloomed huge and pink on tall stems. The garden seemed small for the first time, with the office building across the street forming a backdrop to the “Flowers Bathing in Spring Rain” pavillion (fortunately, August in Portland is not a time of spring rain). My husband and I remembered long walks in our former neighborhood in Lake Oswego, when we would walk by a house on our street and hear astonishingly beautiful piano music being played, which we later learned (after we moved) actually was Randy Porter.

So it was a evening of great music in my favorite garden, with a chance to round out our Porter collection and catch up on the old neighborhood with Randy’s wife, who ran the CD sales table.

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