Winding through the broad valley
the Willamette runs north,
the aorta of country life
pulsing through the earth.
The life most know
fuels along the highways,
the roar of cars and fast pace.
Falling from the mountains
the river can be white and rapid
but through the vast farmlands
the run is leisurely and deliberate,
around islands of sand and gravel,
backwaters and shallow channels,
glinting in the summer sun
through fields of hops,
slipping quiet and unnoticed
beneath the many bridges.
We are changed by the river,
closer to our original selves
after days and nights
bathing in the river tongue.
To live in that way
dissolves the mirage
for a few precious moments,
draws us closer to source
in the ancient way.
Leaving no trace,
the shore gently shifts
in the summer winds
and our marks upon the water
dissolve in the river’s path
ever onward to the sea.





Solace of This World

Out along the line of trees
leaves riffle in the morning breeze
as the sun slowly rises
bringing heat to the valley.
A few clouds circle above
without the storm force of winter.
Cars flow down the avenue,
people intent on their drive to work;
more heat off the asphalt,
music plays, the white noise of news.
In the mix of the city,
ingredients added,
stirred up and baked
without sign of the baker.
I go within, past the sound
of garbage trucks and banging cans
to the solace of this world,
accompanied by breath
to the silent space that waits,
comforted while the world streams by,
the peace of the inner well
deep and cool and clear
in my empty cup.





Time Bound Links

Along a mountain trail
beside the Clackamas,
buried in wooded beaches
rimming the Columbia,
lying in high dunes
between Sand Lake and the Pacific
you left fragments of your soul
remaining in time,
I find the shards
embedded in earth.
Picking them up,
desiccated and brittle,
I recall the days of their making,
then weightless
I lift them to the sky,
blow my breath
across the fragments
and they’re gone,
airborne and returned
to the timeless.
No gravestone or marker,
no imprint of the sacred,
just time bound links
on the long chain of life.