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.
Cottages and campgrounds flank the river on either side, but between the fenced-in lawns and the moving water winds a narrow footpath.
Wild roses, water hemlock, and wild mint grow along the riverbank.
This time of year the rosehips are vibrant red.
The thistles are spreading their seeds.
And the mint is blooming. I had to gather some for smudge sticks.
But mostly I felt a need to sit on the grass by the river and watch the water flow.
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.
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.
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?
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