Monday’s Meander: Roaming Riverland

Not long ago, I took my still-sore knee and headed to the Champoeg State Heritage Area, an Oregon state park, after three months’ absence due to winter rains. A beaming blue day with temps in the mid-50s enticed us to ramble through woods, fields and wetlands that border the Willamette River. Campers utilize this park well and fishing is popular but we saw people only here and there that afternoon, with a few walking their dogs.

Spring is indeed stirring more in Oregon. Next visits will reveal even richer greens and brighter birdsong along the many rivers we utilize and admire.

Monday’s Meander: A Time of Flowers

In the midst of sad and alarming news of this world, and upcoming anniversary dates of many family members who have passed, I need to dote on flowers. It has been raining several days and will be for another week, greyness permeating sky and woods and reaching inside these walls. And I am still nursing the torn meniscus, so there are far fewer hearty walks. It seems I must wait to go in search of the living beauties. However, I’ve found other early March photos of common Portland neighborhoods’ spring flowers.

They gently tend my spirit; perhaps they will lift yours, too. Though sorrows often linger, nature’s sublime beauty and constancy help us become stronger. I plan to share more current spring garden walks. And I offer a small spontaneous poem at the end since I’ve not posted any the last two “Friday’s Poem” feature.

Oh bravest flower that startles the cold,

you keep your secrets from us

throughout narrowed wintered nights and days,

and from depth of quietude bring forth glory

of your alchemy: root to shoot to bloom.

How vital are your moving powers in

the midst of troubles. Holy amid unholiness.

I ressurect hopefulness as each leaf

and petal shine within rising or falling light–

defiance of Spring revealed in extravagance

of verve, ferocity, tenderness.

Your sweet sighs, heralding flower,

fill this unsettled mind and soul like love.

Monday Meanders: Coastal Fun, Part I

Yesterday I decided that, sore knee/leg or not, we were going to the coast and having a lovely, relaxing few hours. The doctor said to keep walking unless it caused a real spike in pain or thing otherwise worsened. It hadn’t bothered me as much a few days so it was on–I’d also get to see how much I could push it on a forest trail, then the beach walk. I soon start physical therapy for 6 weeks, anyway.

I felt liberated as the stress of city life and cares of family life (and Marc’s work stress) melt away. (Above: appeared to be a combinatioin of fog and smokiness in Coast Mtns. but no sign of wildfires; air got clearer in time.) We first stopped at West Oswald State Park and Short Sands, the very small beach at edge of forest. It was , of course, busy with no rain and sun shining, mid-50s F temps. We took a different trail for an easy hike down.

Below: Marc, the happy rock hunter; me, admiring the creek view and contemplating the last part of trail as I rest the knee.

The ocean’s song beckons as we near beach; we first cross a swaying bridge.

Many people love this walk-in little beach–it’s somewhat protected from winds, and surfing is good. And plenty of rocks and random things for those who enjoy hunting, like Marc. It was nice to be on the south side for quieter exploration.
A surfing couple resting.

The streams of sunlight, at left, grew brighter as time went on–beautiful to watch!

We started back so we could have a few hours at another beach. Next week I will take you to another favorite coast stop.

See you next Monday!

Monday’s Meander: A Winter Steigerwald Walkabout

I located these photos dated January, 2014, as I’ve greatly missed our restorative hikes here. For almost two years, the public hasn’t been able to traverse the wonderul landscape of Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State. I’ve keenly felt the loss of access. Marc and I have explored the refuge for decades at least once a season; we seek many varieties of birds. Over 200 species of songbirds and waterfowl live in the refuge; purple martins also winter here, migrating from S. America. Other wetlands wildlife include at least 20 species of mammals and 15 of reptiles and amphibians. It’s been closed to the public for restoration and revegetation of over 200 acres. The major project is reconnection of Gibbons Creek and the Columbia River. Flood plain is being restored. This was the way it was for generations. It will have a needed, positive impact on wildlife– including the salmon, renowned in the Northwest. (Dreaming of fresh salmon dinner now…)

Today it felt time to revisit via photos from that other late January. I find the more monochromatic palette quite lovely, a good contrast to verdant greens that will return before long. Today I discovered it’s set to reopen this spring! There will be an additonal mile of trail. The easy round trip hike currently is 2.8 miles, mostly flat. People can also continue to Vancouver by taking a turn west on a wide paved trail. Cyclists and horseback riders are allowed to use that part, but we prefer to stay within the main refuge area.

I hope to make a birthday trek when Steigerwald opens up.

Mt. Hood

By the time we got around to heading back, the sun was fast lowering, shadows and golden light transforming the wetlands and mountians further in its panoramic winter beauty.

Monday’s Meander: Daydreamy Travel, a Weekend at Edmonds, WA

Today I’m returning to a Pacific Northwest community I immediately loved. Revisiting from the comfort of my home is not the way I’d like to do it, but the times are what they are. Edmonds, Washington, is a community 15 miles north of Seattle, comprised of 40,000+ people. In October 2017 I attended “Writers on the Sound”, a writers conference. My husband and I had ample time to explore after workshops were done. Though I learned a few writerly helps and enjoyed being with other writers, I was, honestly, more deeply impacted by the area’s natural wonders– including Olympic and Cascade Mountains and Mt. Baker, as well as waters of Puget Sound. (Some are more invigorating than others; some years they are just more useful to me, also.) But the walks and visual beauty provided me with with plenty of inspiration. And the boats! I love to be on a good boat, any size… a rowboat, canoe, sailboat, ferry– or a medium-small yacht. (I will try to locate old pictures of a 2001 family trip on the last sort. We travelled through the beguiling San Juan Islands for 5 days and made fun stops along the way.)

I offer some glimpses into enchantments I discovered that weekend. I plan on returning in person, of course. I suspect you will see why as we spend a few hours around Edmonds and its waterfront along Puget Sound, within 60 miles of the Pacific Ocean.

As the sun lowered, its vibrance charged the lands’ contours, the water’s undulating surface and damp autumn air with sunset’s energy. Such peaceful, awe-inspriing magnificence prevailed.