Spirituality of Place

This past Monday, I drove 20 minutes up river out of Estacada to spend some time with nature for one of my classes. I didn’t really have a specific destination, so I just ended up driving until I thought it was a good place to turn around and park.

This was the first stop on my day trip:

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Whenever I drive a little bit out of town, I’m always amazed by how different the landscape is. Estacada is such a  small town that’s trying to make it “big”  that you forget how beautiful the landscape is as soon as you drive 20 minutes or so up river. The landscape completely changes and it’s almost like you’ve entered the world of a post-apocalyptic book compared to the small town. There was one point during my day trip that I thought something was going to come jump out at me out of the woods because it was the perfect scenario for that kind of thing. I was walking alone up the road to the bridge pictured and all I could think of was the book “The Road.” Other than that one scenario, my trip was really lovely.

After about 5 or 10 minutes of watching the river on the bridge, I decided to drive back up river for a bit. Then, I ended up here:

 

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This is where I sat for a while and read the chapter in the book On Our Way that was all about creation. It was really neat to sit in such a beautiful part of Oregon and read about being thankful for the world God created and learning how to appreciate the world around us. The picnic area I took these pictures at was called “Big Eddy Picnic Site” and it was a little area off the side of the road that had a couple picnic tables, a barbeque pit, and an outhouse right next to this beautiful bend in the Clackamas River. The part of the river you can see in the first picture was vastly different than the part in the last picture. The first picture shows that the river was very calm and soothing, but as soon as you got around the bend a bit, there were some pretty big rocks and rapids that caused it to be pretty choppy.

As I was sitting there, all I could hear was the rush of the river. Everything else was so quite in comparison. I didn’t hear any birds or the rustle of the wind, until it started raining on me and I had to head back up to the car. While I was sitting near the river, I did see a Bald Eagle fly towards one of the trees on the other side of the river and land in a nest at the top. That’s one of the great joys of living in the Estacada area, since you rarely get to see Bald Eagles on a semi-daily basis.

Sitting out by the river alone was a truly meaningful and beautiful experience because it was a time I could sit and reflect on my life and do my homework in peace. I was also able to have some time to pray and think about God, and thank him for all of the wonderful things around me. One thing I thought about was the fact that I take the place I live in for granted most of the time, because I never really stop and think about the beauty of the nature I’m surrounded by. I am really blessed to be able to live in this area of Oregon, and be able to drive out and get away from everything that might be stressing me out at that time. Because of this assignment, I’m going to make a point of thanking God for the beautiful things he created more often, and continue to be amazed every day by the beautiful landscapes and sunsets he has painted for us.

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