It’s Thursday afternoon and I’m driving home from work. I’m a little blue: I’m tired from lack of sleep, I’m sick, I feel fat. My mental energy is sapped. I am a mass of melancholia. As I enter the last straight stretch before Oregon City, I glance to my left at the open water of the Willamette.

There, in the center of the riverway, is a bird (a duck? a goose?), flying parallel to the road and at exactly my velocity. The bird is skimming the river. Its flight is an arrow. From time-to-time a wingbeat grazes the surface of the water, scattering flecks of white. We travel in tandem at fifty-three miles per hour, the bird slightly ahead of my car. We race past the trailer park, the motel, the marina. For more than a minute, we seem to be joined by a fixed but invisible cable.

It is a thing of wonder. A thing of beauty.

It is exhilarating.

When I go over the hill and enter Canemah, I am no longer blue.

2 Replies to “Messenger”

  1. mac says:

    This morning, the wind was pushing a red-tailed hawk up the pasture towards our house. It wasn’t even trying and it must have been doing 50 mph. It was amazing. On Wednesday, we had another blue heron at our pond. I can’t decide if I want to watch blue herons, or have fish in our pond 🙂 Where’s Canemah?

  2. B says:

    You realize, of course, that it’s duck hunting season and the supreme court just agreed to hear 3 cases potentially weakening the protection of wetlands nationwide.

Close Search Window