Woodlands & Sunshine (Oregon) 01-Feb-2022

Our faithful readers know that we make frequent visits to nearby Jacksonville Forest Park. Very frequent. But not so much so to its literally across-the-street cousin – the Jacksonville Woodlands. The trails in the Woodlands are shorter, less hilly, and usually busier than those in the Forest. They are also more of an urban experience as they wend through and around private land and past people’s houses. We’ve gone there only on occasion, mostly to look (thus far in vain) for a rare lily – the Gentner Fritillary. But as now is the absolute nadir of anything wildflower, our goal on this cold, clear, sunny day was simply to log 5 miles (8 km) worth of exercise. Which we did and it was good. 😊

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Water in the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 07-Mar-2021

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. Ecclesiastes 1:7

It’s now the season when water flows visibly and robustly in Jacksonville Forest Park’s creeks. For a brief time, this essence of life makes its way to the sea with a pleasant melody of bubbles and gurgles and splashes and swooshes. It’s the most alive thing in the forest at the moment. But, in a few short weeks, when the first leaves and grasses and wildflowers of Spring emerge, the waters will have begun to recede. By summer surface flows will largely be gone. But their passing will have set the stage for the biotic abundance that is the Forest in Spring and Summer. Life will go on.

Along the Pipsissewa Trail
Below Granite Falls
Cantrall Creek
Cantrall Creek
Jackson Creek
Jackson Creek
Jackson Creek
Norling Creek
Cantrall Creek
Norling Creek
Cantrall Creek
Jackson Creek
Jackson Creek

Ruminations in the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 16-Nov-2020

We got enough rain a few weeks ago to officially break the summer dry spell but it was a paltry effort (hundredths of an inch / a few mm). Over the weekend we finally got real rain (2 in / 50 mm). More than enough to finally quell the last of the wildfires and wash the summer’s grit off everything. Enough to knock down the last of the colorful leaves of Fall and kick start the delightfully fragrant process of plant-based decomposition. Sadly, along with the rain came the predicted winter surge in the Big V, with cases, hospitalizations, and bodies piling-up exponentially, both here and elsewhere. Oregon is going back into a partial lock-down in hopes of fending off the worst of it but it might be too little, too late. A combination of quarantine fatigue, fatalism, ideological intransigence, and lack of coherent federal leadership has brought us to this impasse, which will probably persist until Spring. It didn’t have to be like this but it is. 😥

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A Walk in the Woodlands (Oregon) 18-Mar-2020

Social distancing has become the mantra of this new era we’ve entered (hopefully temporarily). From the chaos and heartbreak brought on by the Big V, hiking seems to have emerged as an acceptable – nay extolled – way of getting out of the house while still maintaining one’s distance. We just wish hiking’s moment had arrived under happier circumstances. We’re fortunate to: (1) like hiking and (2) live in a small town surrounded by vast expanses of parks and forests and wilderness. These provide ample opportunities to be out there without ever getting too near (or even seeing) another person.

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Fall Comes to the Forest (October 2019)

 Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Brontë
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