Monday’s Meanders: September River Light, with Love

I’d love to share a slew of photos of my wonderful twin granddaughters, almost 18 months old and running about, giggling and squealing, gabbing their twin baby speak. We spent two happy hours yesterday in a pretty park. Alas, I am not allowed so on to today’s topic: my love of rivers.

On Sat. I embarked on a brisk walk along the Willamette River–often a route to explore. That day, voluminous cumulus clouds and warmer fall light were quite lovely. Fall has begun to come into its own. (We still have temperatures in mid to upper 70s Fahrenheit after days of needed soakers –great for firefighters to help contain remaining Oregon fires.) This last wave of heat will end; chill rain will dominate by end of October or early November. Winter, grey and damp, and yet not without its charms.

Above, the top photo reveals people gathering above the beach area. There are stairs leading down to a partly sandy stretch, accentuated by large rock formations along and in the river. During summer, scores of people come to swim, kayak, and various boating activities. Kayaks are rented out of the two blue crates at left side of the second photo–now closed up for the coming winter. I regret I didn’t rent one–each summer flies by and I just don’t get out there…next year! Being in almost any boat draws me.

I’ve shared photos of this area with lots of folks swimming and lounging–even during this summer of COVID-19. Everyone has craved more outdoors and the river, it seems. Now groups are on the wane, though boaters will long commandeer the waterway. Fishing remains popular.

Below, up the stairs and near the entrance of the area, stands an old iron furnace operated from the mid-1860 for about twenty years. It was the first iron furnace on the Pacific Coast and turned out 42, 000 tons of pig iron. Oregon Iron & Steel failed as a business after the 1893 financial crisis, one of the worst in U.S. history.

From here there are pathways–one dirt into the woods and another paved. We often take the paved one for a longer outing, as it connects to Old River Road where few cars go by and walkers enjoy a walking lane–and earnest bikers speed by.

The walking lane is delineated by the white line but this gentleman took to and owned the road–as many do in order to keep good social distance.

Below is a spot we have seen deer, and to the right is a glimpse of an old white house I covet…

I was on the lookout for more leafy color but that is yet to come. So it was time to wind up the walk, back where I started, feeling content and happy…

….but wait—-a last gaze at the serpentine, peaceful river as clouds bunch about treetops even if, lovestruck as I am, I’ll return soon enough.

Monday’s Meander: Elk Rock Garden of Bishop’s Close

Once or twice a year I post about this graceful, fully accessible garden spread over 13 acres. It changes wonderfully over seasons and displays a fascinating mix of botanical life. The house was built in 1914 by a Scottish businessman, Peter Kerr, to resemble a Scottish manor. It was built along the Willamette River to also give a good view of Mt. Hood in the distance. At his death in 1957, his daughters decided to give it to the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon, with a provisory clause that the garden be open to visitors.

Wandering there gives rise to deep peace. Join Marc and me as we stroll about on a recent visit.

Outdoor altar for the Holy Eucharist, for staff at the Diocese ; it is covered in kiwi vine.

Monday’s Meander: Come with Me Down to the River Again, the Good River

I could make up a song about all the rivers I love! Once more to the Willamette River, a safe place to walk about during these times and partake of a good variety of beauties. This is the Foothills park area. It is a quieter river southwest of Portland without the big ships, though we have seen seals swim up here.

I became, to my surprise, 70 over the week-end! Despite not being able to go to a favorite beach cottage in Yachats (OR.) or Cannon Beach as we often have this time of year, we enjoyed our meanders nearby. I do miss traveling, however, modest. Next week’s post I will share Yachats as it truly is awesome there. Meanwhile, I hope you can feel Spring’s peaceful breezes off the water if only in your imagination. And one day perhaps you can visit Portland area and find our many great rivers for yourselves. One reason I love it here are the various bodies of water. Enjoy.

Monday’s Meander: Spring Keeps Unfolding Along the Willamette River

For some reason I have lately been having problems downloading iPhone photos to my Dell laptop. These few show a small array from the wonderful walk yesterday as it edged towards mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit. There were more shots of people fishing, of flowering bushes and 6+ feet tall graceful grasses and others… In any case, I am grateful we could get out and enjoy this. About a quarter of the sparse number of walkers had masks on. There was plenty of room to keep our distance–a little lonely for this time of year. Many cyclists of all ages sped by. Heartening to see kids on their bikes having fun.

Such a relaxing couple of hours outdoors! Spring perhaps means more than ever.

It was less empty than it appears…but in ordinary times, this area would be full of folks barbecuing (there is a covered picnic area just left of photo) and gathered in groups to chat. There were several dog walkers (I didn’t want to intrude upon snapping a pic) and a few couples and families on pathways alongside the water. We all found the relief of beauty and other peaceful moments, as well as friendly nods or greetings as best we can.

Until next time–be safe, stay connected to others, keep nurturing hope and spread small kindnesses.

Warm regards to all,

Cynthia

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.