Monday’s Meander: Into Springtime Meadows and Woods

I am getting the itch–like so many others–to travel farther than a couple hours from home. But I admire both field and woods, and when you add a ribbon of river flashing here and there a simple amble is irresistible. Though we have many such areas to explore nearby, each displays a special character. This one is comforting and delights my eye with the many textures and shadow and light. Champoeg State Park was closed since a catastrophic ice storm in mid-February. We drove out in hopes of finding it re-opened (the website was confusing). We weren’t sure what we’d find, as forested land everywhere has suffered losses. And the ice not only immediately felled thousands of trees (one upon my car…), but did enough damage that they continue to crack, then suddenly break apart. So off we went and were pleased to find it open. Our last visit–with a post created–was in November 2020, right before winter’s chilling rains were steady and daily.

There were many trees down, with gaps that created enlarged new portals through the woods. There were broken branches here and there but most damage was cleaned up. We’ve seen bare spots in other natural areas…and often huge mounds of chopped trees near the trails. But this was not so at Champoeg–they’d trucked broken and shredded branches and downed trees elsewhere (look for one picture with the fence and see a few piles in the distance). We could gawk at the river more readily. The meadow, dense with waving tall grasses, seemed broader and brighter than during last summer’s visit.

Since our granddaughter passed away April 16, and a grandson has fallen ill with Covid-19 (thankfully recovering after 12 days), we’ve needed greater restoration of spirit and body. Perhaps you will enjoy this look about as I have. It encourages happy thoughts every time we visit there!

Friday’s Poem: Spring Visitation

The magnolia stirs you with fantastical flowers

and just like that some loose part of you

scurries off and becomes a child, wanders under

rustling green canopies, blossoms fluttering

atop your shoulders like scented butterflies.

Then there is a building, a stand-in for a homely castle.

It beckons you, so you pause.

The oval of stones is formidable; the steps

are welcoming, and when a man

who was sitting and in his own reverie leaves,

you approach, eyes half-blind in sun’s shine.

It is not the castle of a childhood domain

made of birches, nor a garden of serpentine paths

and a scarlet bridge across a lotus pond. Nor even

the backyard with pines and the Kwanzan cherry tree

dazzling with fat, fluffy blossoms that decreed winter over, done.

It is not like stone churches where you

were given to shivers of visions as music soared.

But this sturdy oval means more than its simple parts,

a resting place for, say, an explorer-empress

with attendant froggy friend, a chorus. The gathered

trees are nodding with beauty, and living breezes

skimming grass, leaves, water, skin.

She–the child you were or wanted to be–

reaches the threshold, turns to smile,

slippers on feet glistening lilac and gold

as she steps up. And vanishes.

It is a tear in the veil of time.

A chimera you cannot see long.

A reminder that recalls all the innocence

that sings in the small vessel of a child.

The moment is a kind hand hovering

over your head like a benediction from afar,

and you hold it close and move on.

Friday’s Poem: A Call to Spring

All photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

The vast drape of land calls us,

its undulation of tilting trails and spread of green

over density of earth teeming

with unseen things. There is genius

of growth beneath while horizon’s blue

offers a new comfort of light, empty of rain.

Today it is a genial drama, spring’s arrival,

and to be a witness is to feel the spirit stir, rise

with a deepening breath that carries

silken perfume of cherry blossoms

that startle the air with innocence

and shy resplendence.

Monday’s Meander: March Scenes from the Pacific Northwest

Contrasting views from the country to city…I savor them all. My long walks have gradually become less rain-slogged with more rending of cloud cover, allowing longer stunning light and, finally, deepening blue skies and flowers abloom. The bees are out and hard at it, what a relief. We saw a hummingbird by the river zipping about and lots of birds singing, fluttering here and there with their lovely plumage.

Bear with me if I often post shots of the spring glories. I need nature’s mysterious and lovely offerings more than ever. I suspect we all are eager for the good land’s magnetic vagaries and welcome continuity as much as we can get. Sunlight’s always a refresher. Sky that is bright feels like open arms. I do hope you all take a good walk this week, short or long.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Rescue

Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

From a nest of dark root and sponge,

among the frenzy of greens

arises this one small star

into thin sliced light. A vinca jewel.

It cannot be made unbeautiful

in tease of sun or muddled drear.

A commoner of perfection, it come to me a salve,

its color a prize released from stealth of ivy

for my eyes which open, close, open.

Treetops impale and tug March clouds,

are watchful as I rest and rise;

nodding fans of ferns kiss

my legs, musky beds of moss

suffer my hands and feet.

I live here, too, and from wherever

this day arrived it now follows elegant

lines, spasms of light and the succulent shade,

bringing sky to rustle of feathers

to this skin I wear as poor if valiant shield.

See, they each bear me down to the river

so I may siphon off miracles.

Savor every proof of life.

Be rescued again.