Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The rainy season has started. Unlike my prior lives in the Midwest and East Coast, I love winter in Oregon. The rains turn the Willamette Valley into a waterfowl haven. Duck, geese and gulls by the millions return from their northern summers to spend winter here.

Along the river walk in Eugene today I admired the new arrivals -- wigeon, gadwalls, cormorants, glaucous-winged gulls. Then a white-headed runner went by. It happens to me now and then. He reminded me of Craig, though not as fluid. I could picture Craig effortlessly running along. An ephemera.

Then the sadness, thoughts of the tragedy of his passing, tears welled up. I focused binoculars on a pair of wood ducks, among the most beautiful birds in all the world, feeding in the pond weeds. That returned me to the moment.

A blue kingfisher sat on a wire. Away I went again, remembering other exotic kingfishers: over-sized ringed kingfishers that Craig and I savored along Rio Grande marshes. Tiny green kingfishers, tropical-emerald hued, that we discovered after a dusty winter hike along the San Pedro River in southern Arizona. If I let it, virtually anything I see in Nature can remind me of a moment with Craig, or make me wish I could tell him about it.

Funny, it's not like we spent all that much time together. You could total it in weeks, though those were some quality weeks. I really don't know how you could live with such loss if the measure was in quality years. I wish I could help Jean but it's not like my sadness makes any difference.

I spotted four river otters. They had discovered a pond near the river, just a block from Eugene's big mall. It was a fast food court for the otters -- each caught a fish every couple of minutes and would chomp it down. An amazing urban spectacle.

I wanted to stop the people passing by, eyes front, oblivious to the otters dancing just a hundred feet away, rushing to get somewhere before the rain returned. "Look, look there!" But I didn't. Craig would have.

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