Posted by: pilgrm34 | July 22, 2011

cotton everywhere

A grey rabbit is poised to dart near the trail as I approach the Columbia Slough Bridge by bicycle. With one wary eye on me, the other is regarding an alien object, a human campsite. It is all enormous eyes and lean wariness in spite of its curiosity.

Cotton has begun to fall from the cottonwood trees and is creating swirl patterns on the glassy surface of Columbia Slough.

Columbia Slough and cottonwood at Smith-Bybee Wetland

A flotilla of Canadian geese is ambling along single file under the bridge. On the other side the leader makes a sharp left turn and the others follow closely one by one until they all disappear between two islands in the Slough. Their languid rhythm for some reason reminds me of Scripture: “Look at the birds…they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26, NAB). Two military jets roar overhead, streaking by on their daily rounds and drowning out all sounds. The contrast between the geese and the jets is startling. Our society does not teach us to trust. We are instead driven by fear and anxiety: of not having enough, of lack of control and of being left behind. Ours is a fear-based culture. I meditate on the significance of Jesus’ constant greeting to his followers, “do not be afraid” as I continue on.

I bike the road into Kelley Point Park, a cottonwood forest at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. It has a mile or so of beaches as well as open grassy areas. It was once an island wetland before settlers thought it shouldn’t be. Surrounded by water on three sides it still has qualities of an island though. A tall cottonwood canopy creates a leafy cathedral.

Kelley Point Park cottonwood forest


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