The Wild and Thoughtful Salmon River

Spence here: Back to where the Huckleberries roam! Although, it is too early in the season for the huckleberries, (but luckily it is time for blueberries!) I felt happy to wander down familiar paths this week in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. I have taken my family on The Old Salmon River Trail and Billy and I have walked the lengths many times. What a magnificent forest–I feel, one of the kindliest places I have ever been–and I am proud to call the trees there my friends! The forest floor is cool and shady, the glacial-fed river always slightly breezy and refreshing, and the logs of old growth giving new life to trees, ferns, mushrooms and other kin.

My thoughts wander the depths of the galaxy lately–from low as the worms to high as the hawks. Billy and I celebrated our five years of dating anniversary! High! I am thinking about the next five years, and what we will make of it. I am very excited. We talked about an epic journey, perhaps a walk across North America. We are continually talking and moving towards simplifying our lives and conserving (and intelligently using) resources. I have begun to research ideas for building walking rickshaws. I enjoy our talks as we take a run together, walk the trails or play cribbage. I have been slowly making improvements to our music studio–beautifying the place with shingles. Billy had a great idea for the mural on the side of our house, which is turning out wonderful. More pictures of that will be included next week. We also brewed some Blue Fig Gruit this week! My internship at the bike shop is pretty fun and I am learning much.

On the low side of things, I am still lamenting over my dog bite. I got bit by the neighbor’s dog a few weeks ago and the bruises are still bothering me. The doctor I went to asked me if it was provoked! (Uh… No! Why would I provoke the neighbor’s dog?) Anyway, it has made me afraid of other dogs and this makes me simultaneously uptight and sad. I had a dream the other night about walking into the fighting ring with my future demons. The orator of my dream said not to worry this time because the fight was to be practice for much harder times ahead. What it all means, I don’t know. I read a book recently however, which talked about our being our authentic selves. When we are, we have no need to worry, as our path will open up to us as it needs and our struggles will be known and we will be supported by the people we love.

The clouds rolled back into Portland this week, giving us a little break from the heat. I am not worried so much about impending doom, but will try to keep the clouds in mind, as protection from possible blistering troubles! The water of the Salmon River refreshed my energy and celebrating another important milestone with my beau has renewed my empathy and openness. Let us try to carry that forth at least another week!

Billy here. Each day I feel so lucky and happy to be alive in the world and to be able to share my life with Spence. I was thinking on the river trail about how wonderful it is to be alive. Once, when I was a kid, I ran through a sliding glass door. Sometimes in my life I take it for granted that I’m still alive and I could’ve died then (or any other time for that matter, such as the time I was living in Las Vegas and learned on the news at my lunch break that I had missed a gun wielding hijacker by minutes on the road I took to work). Just as I was having this thought of taking life for granted, I slipped and fell to the ground, as if the forest were there to remind me again – hey, life is short and you could miss it! Sometimes I spend a lot of needless time worrying or just thinking too much. My grandma used to say that some people were just too smart for their own good, but you don’t even have to be smart to think too much.

I was going to talk about watersheds and the importance of clean water. I was going to ask if people knew where their drinking water came from or the headwaters of the nearest creek or river. While this is important, it’s just that I feel knowing something isn’t as important as enjoying it and respecting it. The limits of our knowledge don’t touch the depths of our hearts. I will never truly know the depths of the people or places I love, because they are more complex than what is possible for one mind to grasp. This is not to say that learning is in vain, but that the joy, respect, and participation we put into our experience is just as important as critical thought. And maybe critical thought alone is dangerous!

On that thought, let us pause to enjoy the fruits of the summer: blueberries and figs that go into our home brew, the strains of yeast that ferment them, the herbs that preserve them, and the water that gives us life! A toast to summer and may we loosen the grip on our hearts!

2 thoughts on “The Wild and Thoughtful Salmon River

    • Thank you! It really is a magical place. Also, I didn’t know until this trip that the Salmon River is the only river in the contiguous 48 states whose entire length is a protected wild river!


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