I observed the summer solstice by showing up for jury duty. Jerry dropped me off at the courthouse downtown. It was a relatively painless experience, as these things go. Comfy chairs, no blaring TV, free wi-fi, a good book to read, frequent communications from the staff about the status of our potential empanelment (30 names were called, mid-morning, none of them mine) and, just before noon, blessed release. In the eyes of the law, I have done my service, and I'm off the hook for the next two years.
It was a beautiful day, sunny but not hot, and I decided to walk home, or at least see how far I could get before calling Jerry to pick me up. I went over the Hawthorne Bridge, along the East Bank Esplanade, and connected with the Springwater Corridor Trail. Wildflowers were in bloom everywhere -- purple, fuchsia, yellow. I saw ospreys nesting, herons wading and geese paddling off Ross Island, and a professionally-printed sign glued to a bridge support that said "You could be a millionaire... if you stopped fucking gambling."
Jury duty doesn't lend itself to photography, and I didn't have my camera with me anyway, so instead of wildflowers and waterfowl, you get a picture of a cool twiggy structure I found that has both moss and lichen on it, and another cactus flower shot. Oddly enough, this is from the same plant as the one that bloomed so spectacularly in May, but the blossom is twice the size and white instead of pink.
Looking at the map after I got home confirmed my hunch that cutting through Oaks Bottom and over to Bybee would have shortened my hike by a couple of miles. But I wanted to go all the way through Sellwood so I could familiarize myself with the portion of the trail that reverts to city streets between the Sellwood Bridge on the west and Three Bridges to the east. Plus I was starving by that point and realized that SoTac Coffee and Cream, which I'd been wanting to check out, was just a couple of doorways off my route east on Umatilla. Plus I get into this macha mindset sometimes where I just have to do things the hard way.
So, fortified by a double scoop of Tillamook's fine lemon sorbet and wild mountain blackberry ice cream, I finished my journey. I did a shade over seven miles in a shade over two hours, including osprey-nest ogling and ice-cream buying time. A pretty good pace, considering that I wasn't even thinking about power-walking. In the back of my mind I've been pondering the best way to get downtown and back by bike, and this was an opportunity to scope out a likely path. It would be a fairly easy trip, I think; it might take half an hour.
I actually wouldn't have minded being picked for an average-length trial. Average = a day and a half, according to the judge who greeted us this morning and explained the jury selection process. It probably would have been an interesting experience. I was summoned a couple of times when we lived in the Bay Area but, like today, just sat until they dismissed us. We were excused outright at Sea Ranch because of its remote location.
Really, though: Given a choice between courtroom deliberations and a long, lovely walk with wildflowers, birds, and ice cream to sweeten the last leg of the trip.... well, you know which one I'd pick. And not a jury in the world would convict me.