Posted by: pilgrm34 | July 18, 2011

Rain, why not?

How will weather affect this urban wilderness pilgrimage? Will rain keep me from experiencing the Columbia Slough today? Though I personally prefer sunny conditions, in nature, rain is life-giving. In fact, the rainstorm is directly associated with the divine in wilderness tradition (Job 38:25-27). It is an important symbol of blessing throughout Scripture. Our society has become so narcissistic and disconnected from our environment, we rarely think beyond our own convenience.  So I tell myself I won’t let it deter me.

On the bridge over the Columbia Slough I stop to listen to the cry of a startled Great Blue Heron as it takes to wing. A moment later, the culprit appears, a thin, reddish coyote with its nose to the ground working the shoreline. A startlingly broad-winged raptor appears directly overhead, circles back and looks down at me doubtfully before reclaiming its southward path.  The feathers are dark and mottled—possibly a first year bald eagle. It was so close overhead, the experience has left me in mute wonderment gazing after it.

Columbia Slough in the rain

More distracting than the raindrops beginning to fall is the exasperating sound of a drag race on the other side of the dike. The wildlife appear to ignore urban insults. I find it more difficult to do so.

Another bird of prey, light in color flies over and suddenly falls, spirals, twists, touching down on the water in front of me, picks up a fish and disappears. It has to be an Osprey, though it happened so fast, I could not clearly see its markings.

As I bike on the dike trail, a barn swallow follows alongside close enough to exhibit her beautiful purple-orange markings. She’s flying languid circles around my equally languid bicycle in what seems like a friendly gesture, until I realize she’s escorting me out of her territory and is probably nesting nearby.

Barn Swallow


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