by rivers   11 comments

Posted at 5:17 pm in oregon

After crossing western Canada and traveling south through Idaho and Washington, I visited with friends in Oregon for about two weeks. On most days my friend, Paul, and I took Sabrina and wandered along secluded streams in the Cascades. Creeks and rivers have always figured largely in my life, from growing up along the shores of the mighty Ottawa, to paddling the waterways of eastern Ontario with Don, to camping beside the Smith and other rivers of the Pacific Northwest. Without hesitation, I can say that the most memorable hours of my life have been spent on or within a stone’s throw of moving water.

The cold, clear waters of the Cascades hold a special place in my heart for I came to find peace next to them after my father’s death, so it was there that I returned during this journey. I was not disappointed. We sat beneath the eroded basalt of waterfalls while water tumbled overhead (mp4 video clip). Beside fast moving streams, we found Water Ouzels, also known as American Dippers (Cinclus mexicanus). Of these birds, John Muir wrote:

He is a singularly joyous and lovable little fellow, about the size of a robin, clad in a plain waterproof suit of bluish gray, with a tinge of chocolate on the head and shoulders. In form he is about as smoothly plump and compact as a pebble that has been whirled in a pot-hole, the flowing contour of his body being interrupted only by his strong feet and bill, the crisp wing-tips, and the up-slanted wren-like tail.

No matter where we went, we found a Water Ouzel or two to keep us company. The sight of them brought back memories of the hours that Don and I spent watching ouzels along some of these same rivers watching ouzels. This time, I shot a few short movie clips of the ouzels just with my still camera. I’ve made a one minute movie clip of an ouzel hunting for aquatic invertebrates in a clear mountain stream. It’s not really very good, but gives some idea of how these little birds dive into the fast-moving water, walk about on the bottom, then climb out to bob on bent legs while singing a few notes before diving back in. Listen for the chirps and warbles which can barely be heard over the rushing of the stream in the final seconds of this clip.

Written by bev on November 27th, 2008

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11 Responses to 'by rivers'

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  1. Dear Bev,

    May Love bless and keep you on Thanksgiving 2008 and always!

    With special gratitude for your presence today,


    27 Nov 08 at 7:42 pm

  2. Bev – such a transition from the previous posts! The waterfall movie is wonderful, and the ouzel is a delightful little bird to watch. I can see how John Muir came to his description.

    More moving water – that’s what we need. There’s nothing quite like sitting down and watching it, nor anything that can so easily wash out the bumps and grinds of the mind, even if it’s only for a short while.


    28 Nov 08 at 6:08 am

  3. Lovely images, Bev, and I am there with you and Sabrina in spirit, thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Wonderful to see falling water and Sabrina’s lovely face against the greenery when all here in the Ottawa region is falling snow, ice and gray skies.


    28 Nov 08 at 10:07 am

  4. It’s interesting to hear the rushing waters in both videos, while I sit here on the bay. The sound of waves is so different, mostly rhythmic like a heartbeat, receiving all that flow from everywhere else.

    Glad you are posting and keeping us updated on your journey. I’ve been thinking of you.

    robin andrea

    28 Nov 08 at 1:55 pm

  5. Bev,

    I don’t comment here as often as I should, as I usually end up trying to compose something that comes up short. I suppose it boils down to saying how your writing resonates in me. I’ve long said that you are one of the people I’d most like to take a walk with, you have a great eye for nature, and a great skill in putting life into words.

    Having also lost a spouse, a great love, to cancer your descriptions of the journey take me back to those days closer to Janice’s death. It has been, hmm, a rewarding experience. Looking forward as always to more of your posts. And more dippers.


    29 Nov 08 at 2:25 am

  6. Am – Thank you, and the same wishes to you.

    Wayne – Thanks. I love to share movie clips such as the “under the waterfalls” and the ouzel. I don’t think that many people even notice the small birds around fast-moving streams as they move quickly and are difficult to spot. It’s their bright chirps and singing that reveal their presence. And yes, moving water does have a soothing effect on our spirits.

    Cate – I’ve been hearing about the snow and cold back home and am sooooo glad that I decided to forego our winter and spend the time wandering in the west and south.

    robin – yes, interesting how water can sound so different, and how certain streams and rivers have a very distinctive sound. I’ll probably be writing something about that in the next couple of days.

    Clare – I would like to walk with you too, and who knows, I may make a trip up your way sometime — perhaps even soon — so it might become a reality. I expect that you and I share many similar experiences. These events do change us in many ways, don’t they?


    29 Nov 08 at 1:15 pm

  7. Bev, like Clare, I don’t comment as often as I should, but know that you’re on my mind quite often. I look forward to hearing more about where you are in souteast Arizona. You’re much closer to Texas now, so maybe you’ll feel an urge to get to Dallas one day…in which case I hope you’ll go with me to our newest attraction, a terrific nature sanctuary.


    30 Nov 08 at 10:21 pm

  8. My brother has lived in Oregon for almost 30 years, and I love visiting out there. Lucky you!


    2 Dec 08 at 10:44 am

  9. Those two river photos are spectacular. Love the falls, but especially love the reflections and textures in the top photo.


    4 Dec 08 at 7:44 am

  10. I found your blog in my reader…you have created a wonderful site here! I absolutely love your waterfall capture…I find my”calm” being surrounded by nature in my woods…I can see why you chose this spot. I’ve enjoyed my visit! Beautiful photography.


    7 Dec 08 at 8:42 am

  11. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photographs and moving thoughts.


    4 Aug 10 at 4:09 pm

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