Last month Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown held an essay contest for Oregon 4th graders. For the contest children had to answer the question “Why do you love spending time in the Oregon outdoors?” The winner of the contest would get a trip to Washington, D.C. to the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony this year – which is featuring a tree from Oregon.
Charlie did not win, but his essay is below. To see the letter he got from Kate Brown (thanking him for participating in the contest), Click Here.
Very Personal Introduction Note from Mom (To My Readers): Charlie chose the words to this essay very carefully and wanted to make sure this was all in his own words. On a lot of levels this essay is kind of sad, because of his perspective on some things. On other levels this was a fabulous initiative he took. It is the first time he ever chose to participate in something like this. Charlie was Lead-poisoned in utero and later also poisoned as a toddler. He has a mental illness diagnosis and is a special program at school for children with disabilities.
An Essay By Charlie Parker Eliezer Rubin
“Why do you love spending time in the Oregon outdoors?”
My name is Charlie Parker. I live in Portland, near the river.
I spend a lot of my time outside and love being out in nature. I love the Oregon outdoors because I like walking, running, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, archery and swimming. I also love the Oregon outdoors because of all of the beautiful flowers and the amazing animals. When I go on walks I usually collect flowers and leaves to give as a present to my mom. I really love all the animals because sometimes if they are friendly I can pet and play with them.
In the summer I go swimming every day (either in the Willamette or Columbia River or in the Sellwood community pool.) One day this summer I was at the beach and I was looking for a log to float on. I thought I found a good log but it had bugs on it. Then I tapped the log and a little tree frog hopped off. I really liked the frog and I spent the rest of my time at the beach playing with it. I named him Frookie. At the end of our day I had to give the frog back to the trees and I was really sad, but I let it go.
Last week I went swimming at a beach on the river in Lake Oswego and swam with baby ducks for hours. Then I came back another day and fed the same baby ducks bread crumbs.
Another of my favorite outside things to do in the summer in Oregon is archery. One time, when I was five years old, my dad was at a store and I asked him if I could have a bow and arrow and he said yes. I have been using it ever since and I really love it. I love going to the archery range at the zoo (in Washington Park), even though I am not very good.
Today I was outdoors most of the day. I went to a farm and got a big pumpkin. Then we went to the beach on the Columbia River (even though it is the middle of September). At the beach I swam a lot with my brother and we buried ourselves in the sand. When we got home we carved the pumpkin too.
I love Oregon winters. I especially love snow and snowball fights with my brothers. One winter with my brothers I built an igloo. I also like to sled! In the winter I also really love Christmas trees because of all of the pretty lights. I love giant trees. We have a giant living Christmas tree in our neighborhood.
I really want to go to some big event as someone important because I have always wanted to just make a difference and be remembered. I think this might be the only chance I ever get.
– Charlie Rubin
September 15, 2018