We spent a few hours relaxing at Mc Menamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon recently, and I was enchanted by the quality of the light. It’s an old Masonic nursing home facility-turned-Lodge, done up in the artsy style that only McMenamin’s seems to manage here in the Northwest. Although it has some nice big windows, it’s quite dark inside on a January afternoon. Several “sitting rooms” have fireplaces, which provide their own uniquely warm orange energy, lighting the soul as well as the body and surroundings. I am drawn to fireplaces like a moth. I could stare at them for hours. Our house doesn’t have one now, more’s the pity.
The Victorian feel of the Lodge is nowhere more obvious than in the lamplight – festoons of lace, taffeta, and silk fringe surround the pale golden bulbs, true to the era, with layers of sparkle thrown on from cascades of beaded strings and tassels. Inadequate though the light may be for reading, it’s fine for sketching. It manages to pull the world in around you, cocooning you in a place where you can almost believe that everything is okay, and you don’t need to pick up that newspaper after all. A man came in to the room where I was sipping my wine by the fire, plopped down on an overstuffed couch, and pulled out his cell phone… the cold blue reflection on his face was like a slap. He didn’t stay long, it wasn’t his kind of place. I was glad.
Posted January 27, 2016 by Kerry McFall