Happy Commuter

I love my commute. The cheerful #14 Hawthorne bus stops right outside my house and takes me on a lovely ride down Hawthorne boulevard, across the Hawthorne bridge and drops me off at 2nd street. There I find gorgeous old red brick buildings, modern, airy, steel and glass constructions, and a parking garage covered in painted fish. As I stand and take it all in, sipping my coffee, listening to music and sometimes holding my umbrella, Max the Lightrail comes gliding up and I enter phase two of my awesome commute. Warm, spacious and smooth, the Max takes me on a scenic tour of downtown Portland. The friendly pre-recorded voices tell me when the doors are closing, in english and in spanish. Up Morrison street, past Pioneer Square, past the Galleria and a GORGEOUS stone church, over I-405 and the views of the Freemont bridge and Mt. St. Helens. We turn past PGE park and as the train makes the curve I can see the front of it from my seat. We glide through Goose Hollow and under this beautiful old bridge before we enter the tunnel leading to Washington park. Just like the metro in Paris, and the subway in New York it is dark and we pick up speed. A couple of minutes later the friendly voices tell me I've arrived at my destination. 260 feet below the street I disembark and watch the Max pull away, continuing on to Hillsboro before it returns to Portland. I walk though the tunnel, admiring the public art there, and take the elevator up to the street. There are only two buttons in the elevator: "S" (with a picture of people and the sun, I originally thought 'S' was for 'Sun') which stands for "street", and "T" which of course if for "train". When the doors open I am faced with the beautiful, wooden facade of the World Forestry Center. Sitting at the top of the hill, stone and wood and glass and sometimes a large banner depicting the current exhibition, it is breathtaking. Climbing the stairs to the mezzanine, I turn and see Mt. Hood in the distance, pink in the morning light. All this before my day at work. Work itself is also enjoyable. What could be nicer than helping people learn about the importance of forests and the ecosystem contained in a single tree? Every now and then we have celebrities stop by. Word has it that Steve Amen himself is going to stop by for OPB member day! Bill Sullivan, writer of many hiking books as well as the very enjoyable "Cabin Fever: Notes of a Part-time Pioneer" is speaking this Monday. I am a lucky girl, I think. And a very happy commuter.