Along the Metolius River

This weekend I attended a wedding in Camp Sherman. And, true to form, I came back with exactly 1 picture of the bride, taken on my fiance’s phone, and about 50 photos of plants and the river.

Metolius River

Cottages and campgrounds flank the river on either side, but between the fenced-in lawns and the moving water winds a narrow footpath.

Abandoned Cottage

Wild roses, water hemlock, and wild mint grow along the riverbank.

Camp Sherman 12

This time of year the rosehips are vibrant red.

Camp Sherman 3

The thistles are spreading their seeds.

Camp Sherman 9

And the mint is blooming. I had to gather some for smudge sticks.

Camp Sherman 10

But mostly I felt a need to sit on the grass by the river and watch the water flow.

Camp Sherman 11

We were blessed with beautiful weather: two crisp, cold nights and a clear, breezy Saturday. The wind was in our favor, blowing all the smoke from the wildfires west toward Portland. I could smell the faintest hint of smoke from the burning forests, a little tickle in the back of my throat. It seemed impossible, watching birds dart over the river to catch insects, listening to the unhurried motion of the water, that not far away the mountains are ablaze.

Camp Sherman 7

I sent wishes for the safety of the people near the fires, and then I just listened to the river. It had a lot to say about flowing at a natural pace and enjoying the journey.

Camp Sherman 1

I always feel like I’m in a hurry lately. As I watched the water flow over multi-colored pebbles, it occurred to me I’m not even sure what I’m in such a hurry to do. What do I really want to accomplish? What’s so important?

Camp Sherman 6

Maybe nothing. Maybe I just need to spend more time by the water, paying attention.

“and all afternoon I listened to the voices of the river talking.
Whenever the water struck a stone it had something to say,
and the water itself, and even the mosses trailing under the water.
And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me what they were saying.
Said the river I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered the moss beneath the water.”

from “At the River Clarion” by Mary Oliver

 


3 thoughts on “Along the Metolius River

  1. The pictures are lovely!! They made me long to be in that neck of the woods. That poem by Mary Oliver is one of my favorites, albeit it’s hard to pick favorites from her glorious body of work. I was looking for an old blogging friend of mine that went by the name of “greenwoman.” I didn’t find her, but I found you. 🙂

    Like

    1. Mary Oliver is my absolute favorite poet, and like you I’m never sure which of her poems is my favorite. I hope you found your friend, but I’m glad you stopped by!

      Like

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