Winter at the Door of Hope

A heavy snow falls around the Door of Hope church in NE Portland

When we got an unusually heavy snowfall earlier in the month, I wanted a picture of the Door of Hope church in the snow. The church sits at the edge of Irving Park and Ellie and I used to pass it as we walked around the path that circles the park, but these days after a quick visit to the dog park she wants to head out into the neighborhood instead of going further into the park.

I had thoughts of making her go up to the church as the snow continued to fall, it isn’t much farther than the dog park, but I just couldn’t do it. This theme continued as we walked, on the one hand I knew this was a historic storm and it was not something I’d have the chance to photograph again, but on the other hand this was also going to be my only chance to enjoy this much snow with the pup, and I chose the pup. I did take pictures on our walk, some of her and some of the neighborhood, but only on streets she chose to go down. An hour and a half later I dropped off an exhausted Ellie at the house and went back out alone for more pictures. The snow was still falling as I reached the Door of Hope and took this picture.

A few days later I bribed Ellie with treats to get her up to the church on our morning walk, now bathed in the morning light, every inch of snow trampled underfoot by families enjoying the unusual snow. I had thoughts about making her sit in front of the little utility building from the previous post, it’s just a little further up the path to the left of this picture, but she wanted to go and I couldn’t say no.

Snow and Sun at the Door of Hope

I Could Live Here and Be Happy

A snow-covered utility building and trees makes for a peaceful scene in Irving Park

Well, except that it’s just a little utility building at the edge of Irving Park. Fremont Street and 7th Avenue are a bit to the right and behind, basketball courts immediately to the left. The walking path around the park goes past here, I’ve walked by many times with Ellie and never thought about taking a picture, but I was struck by how completely the snow transformed the scene and made it seem so peaceful and lovely, like a little cabin in a snowy forest.

The Happiest Dog in the World

Our dog Ellie stands in deep snow in our backyard

The snow was still coming down as a tired but happy Ellie waited to go inside after a long walk through the deep snow. Despite my best intentions I didn’t take too many pictures over the hour and a half we walked as it often felt like it would intrude on the fun we were having. So after getting her settled inside I went back outside for more pictures.

The Saddest Dog in the World

The Saddest Dog in the World

After an unusually heavy snowfall hit Portland one night, Ellie and I were working our way back home on our morning walk when I noticed a massive snowman in front of one of the houses, the kind you see in the movies but never here since we rarely get much snow, so I wanted a quick picture. Ellie was starting to tire after our long and joyful walk through the tall snow so I left her on what I presumed was the sidewalk and told her to stay and walked a few feet over and got my picture of the snowman.

I had to laugh when I turned around and saw the saddest dog in the world, all alone in this desolate landscape, looking for someone to love. Her droopy jowls when she sits still make her look so sad, but I knew the mental calculation she was making. She gets a treat if she sits still when we’re near a street and I give her the stay command, and she gets a treat if she sits still while I take a picture, so what she really wanted to know was, “Am I getting one treat or two?”

She got two.

You do make me laugh, pup, you do make me laugh.


As Goes the MAX, Go I

A MAX train in the snow in Portland, Oregon

I take the MAX light rail to work most of the time, so during our winter storms I often decide to go to work or take vacation time based on how well the train is running. The day after our big snow the trains were running well so I went back to work, my hat’s off to everyone who made that possible. It takes me a lot longer to commute on the train than by car but it is much less stressful. I did take some time off later due to ice, typically our biggest problem in the winter.

These pictures are taken at the 7th Avenue station, where I board the train in the morning and get off in the evening. It’s about a 15 or 20 minute walk from our house. That walk is also the most dangerous part of my life, especially the busy streets near the station, I had to jump back on the sidewalk on Thursday when a semi blatantly ran a red light at high speed. I drove on Friday since protests were likely to shut down the trains during my evening commute (and they did) but when I got in the car in the morning, it hit me how much I miss the car but not the drive. I love driving but the traffic makes it miserable. I’m very thankful for these trains, I just wish I didn’t have to deal with cars to get to them.

Many of these posts are written on the train, but it’s a Saturday morning so I’m writing this one on the couch.

Snow surrounds the train tracks at the NE 7th Avenue MAX station in Portland, Oregon