Monday’s Meander: Back to Bishop’s Close in December

I am thinking daily of family and holidays, as are most. And photos surfaced of a wintry walk through Elk Rock at Bishops Close, a place about which I have posted often. It is a delight– the grounds are seamed with trails and rocky steps, shadowed with hideaways, and gentled by trickling water and a small pond or two. My last visit here was shared on WP in July this year.

The Scottish estate house always impresses a bit–it is so stolid and commands a respect. Elk Rock, its garden, is perhaps the oldest and biggest (13 acres) private garden in Oregon. It was managed from 1897 until 1957 by businessman Peter Kerr who developed his estate and grounds. It is now used by the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.

In summer the air was bright, the plants and flowers waving in warm breezes. This time winter’s veil is lain over all. The quietude of December wandering is deeper. The air sharp, the river that wends it way below a bit more forbidding, birdsongs more silenced. Yet I am drawn to it as much in this season as any other. It is a place to think as one climb’s about and to long pause and admire nature’s work.

These photos date back to 2016, the day of Christmas. Naomi was visiting from S. Carolina where she was/is an art professor; Alexandra was visiting from CA. where she was PR manager at an arts center. And since I appreciate Bishops Close as well as my adult children here is that mosey. (Not all family like personal photos shared so those are discreet.)

An altar used for outdoor Holy Eucharist.
View of Mt. Hood, across the Willamette River, seen from the back lawn.

On my refrigerator is a sticky note left by Naomi last year before she flew back to S.C. after Thanksgiving. I’d had the luxury of seeing her three times in 2019. On that note she wrote: “Bye, Mom! Love you! See you again before too long. XOXOXO-Na.” I left it there to enjoy looking at– never thinking it would at least a year more. But I’ve not seen her once since, nor another daughter, Cait, in VA., for an even longer period of time.

So it is that we begin a new sort of Christmas or other religious holiday. No doubt you will agree: one primarily of the heart and spirit. We can manage it, though, can’t we. Make sure to get out and take good walks, no matter wintry or other interesting weather. I will be out there with you, as well as right here.

10 thoughts on “Monday’s Meander: Back to Bishop’s Close in December

  1. That is a beautiful estate, Cynthia, and I love that view of Mount Hood. As for the quiet holidays with family so far away, my aunt back east used to say that we all see the same moon, no matter where we are, that she would hear me if I asked the moon. She’s been gone 2 years now, but the moon will always be there.

  2. I live in an apartment by a nice pond. I walk around it, call the geese “ladies” when they’re there. They remember me in the summer time and move. They forget after a few seasons, and then they remember or relearn. I feel no pleasure in life, a prison cell of existence, not that I’m whining. I got to have fun in the early days. In other news, I’m afraid of nature. I don’t like wandering in it as much as I used to. I prefer to stay in my area. Sometimes in the summer, I’ll walk to the grocery store to get some soda. I enjoy sweating. They still haven’t put the mountain dew into the machine. Hopefully it’ll be back in June.

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