Friday, June 24, 2011

Full Spectrum

Here's a little poem I wrote while sitting next to the Umatilla River a few days ago:

Red. One red rock for a hundred gray ones.
Orange. Underbelly of a dead crawdad.
Yellow.  Sedums blooming on rocks at river's edge.
Green.  Glass beer bottle, sweating silver.
Blue.  Summer sky, sky, sky.
Indigo.  Electric bachelor buttons at trail's top.
Violet.  Waterskipper's shadow.

What a fantastic trip we had.  Not long, but rich in relaxation and fun and the deep sense I feel of being home.  Mark my words, I will retire in Cayuse.  So, plan on visiting, ok, and we'll hang out by the river and drink cold beers and listen to the birds.

The birds.  My god.  It's next level!  My dad and Tina have about 3 or 4 hummingbird feeders on or near their back porch and 2 bird feeders nearby, too.  When we came back from the river for lunch, before going back to the river, the kids and I sat on the back porch and just watched and listened.  They currently have mostly black chinned and a few tiny calliopes.  I was very happy to see a calliope, as I'd never seen one before outside of a picture in a bird book.  I have the flashy rufous hummingbirds at my house, so it was neat to something different.  The Cayuse hummingbirds are quite assertive and bold.  My dad said the calliopes are especially cheeky.  I like any creature with a little cheek!  Anyhow, Dad and Tina have to refill those feeders several times a day.  It's nuts!  Actually, it's sugar water!  Crizzazy. My dad drilled 3 swallow-sized holes into the lintel above the slider and the kids and I enjoyed watching the swallows swoop in and out all day. At the conventional bird feeder, I saw goldfinches, redwing blackbirds, magpies, mourning doves, cowbirds, house finches, and grosbeaks.  The best part for me is listening to the cowbirds sing.  Their song is a watery trill and just beautiful.  After we ate, Caroline sat on my lap and we just watched and listened, both of us completely entertained.  I think I said to her at one point, 'Now do you see why Papa and Tina don't have a TV?'  She did indeed.  After a bit, she skittered off, I slunk lower into my chair and nodded off for a short while.  I woke up energized and ready for River, Round 2.

So we walked back down the long driveway, crossed the road and slipped and skidded down the rocky path to the river.  I got wise and brought a cold Heineken and boy, did I ever enjoy it!  The kids played, I skipped rocks (of course thinking of Amelie and also that the  Umatilla is no less than the Seine in my book!), and we soaked up the day.


  1. Like "sweating silver". Soothing time, it does make it easy to imagine not having a tv. Final photo looks baptismal.

  2. love this post. calms me. i imagine the birds, the river. being home with your kin and kids on your lap and hummingbirds hovering. bliss! thANks for sharing, cher! -cornelia sweetie