The Artful River

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”
― Hermann HesseSiddhartha

Over the July 4th weekend we took our annual trip camping up the McKenzie River here in Oregon.  The river has its beginnings at Clear Lake, from springs that immerge from lava tubes at the North end of the lake. It then runs down a steep grade in a series of gorgeous waterfalls & pools before running free. The water is sparkling clear.  Being by the McKenzie River is healing, but being on it and part of its energy in our kayaks is akin to a spiritual experience.

I find peace in rivers, especially the McKenzie. They provide inspiration for my art & poetry.

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The River Called to Me

With a voice born out of eternity

Fluent in all languages

Come

Rest

By my sparkling water

A silver ribbon in a dark forest

 

“McKenzie Rapid”- Gelatin print & stamps over pen & ink. The feeling of being in the midst of a rapid in a kayak is so exhilarating. I tried to capture the energy here.

 

 

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Salmon Run Raku

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Celebrating Rain and Earthworms

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It rains a lot in Western Oregon.  Until this weekend it has been a wet few weeks.  One can hear a good deal of whining about the weather by this time of year.  For me, I just roll with it.  Knowing we are having adequate rainfall and an average snowpack provides comfort to me in these times of “climate insecurity.”  The lakes will fill, the Salmon will have water to run in and a myriad of creatures and plants will be happy in the dry months yet to come.

Song of the Earthworms

The earthworms sing about rain

While we complain

Jolly songs as they move the soil

With their soft heads

Seeking the sweet aroma of decaying matter

Until they hear the drops fall

Turning to deluge

They turn their sleek, tubular bodies skyward

Toward the light

Emerging from their soil home

To languish in the freedom

Of puddled water laying on the earth

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Feeding Wild Birds

I have been feeding the wild birds around my house for years.  In the morning I watch them  from my bed as I sip  my tea. There is also a feeder hanging in front of my kitchen window giving entertainment as I wash dishes.  It’s a meditation of sorts.  There are the usual year round residents and then the migratory birds as they make their way North or South in the Spring and Fall.  I never tire of watching them.

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BIRD FEEDER

The Chickadee stated its presence in the branches above

“Chicka-dee-dee-dee”

“Chicka-dee-dee-dee”

Impatient

I fill the old mossy wooden feeder that hangs from a tree limb

With an abundance of shiny, black, sunflower seeds

From the  bucket hanging on my arm.

 

The chickadee knows me

I am no stranger to the birds here

The nuthatches, jays, juncos, hummingbirds

We are neighbors, friends of sorts

They go about their business and I to mine

hanging laundry, working in the yard

 

As I gaze from my window

I delight in their flit and flutter about the feeder

And find peace in watching them

Losing track of time

Well worth the price

for a sack of bird seed

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Crow Vision

flock-2574265_1920For the 24 years I have lived on my tiny farm in rural Oregon, I have witnessed a gathering of crows in the Eastern sky late in the days of the warmer months.  They are always flying South, as with some purpose.  Sadly, the woodland hills have been stripped in recent years for vineyards, so the nightly event has gotten smaller.  I’ve always wondered where they go and what mischief they might be up to.  Finally, I’ve gotten around to write about it.

THE CROWS COME AT SUNSET

From all corners of the sky

Black silhouettes winging together as a noisy flock

On their way to their secret destination

Which I long to know

 

I imagine they are sent from the spirit world

Spies in the sleek bodies of birds

Black as shiny coal

From beak to tail

 

They find their nightly roost

In the high branches of leafy trees

An avian barroom full of raucous cawing and flapping of wings

As they share the events of their day

 

The news comes as far as the cold lands of the Far North

To the dry, pastel arroyos of the Southwest

all the way to the crowded cities of the East

Stories they observed from the world of humans

Comedies born from intelligence gone bad

 

The jokes and stories are centuries old

recycled with different characters

Told with such squawking hilarity

That feathers loosen in the crows’ wild animations

And float earthward beneath the branches

 

The party goes on as the sky turns dusky to dark

Stars slowly appear

The birds’ black eyes grow heavy and their voices silent

Then all that can be heard is the sound of crow breathing

And the song of crickets that welcome the night

 

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A screenprint I made in 1994 “Crows at Sunset”