By Louie Ferrera
Here in Sonoma County, you don’t have to travel far or look very hard in order to find your little slice of Eden. I found mine at a forested eddy on the banks of the Russian River.
This spot has completely transformed since I was last here a couple of months ago. Back then the earth was on the cusp of awakening, now spring has arrived in all her glittering, green glory. The trail down to the river is overgrown with blackberry vines, thimbleberry and willow branches.
This place is well hidden—invisible—unless, like me, you know where to look. The river is in no hurry today and moves past me at a snail’s pace. The water’s subtle hue reflects the deepening shades of green from the surrounding forest. Tiny leaves drift butterfly-like to the surface; they make an inaudible splash creating small ripples that spread slowly to the shore.
The Ludwigia weed on the opposite bank is in full bloom. A mighty shake from God’s paintbrush has dotted the tops of the plants with bursts of brilliant yellow. The dappled light beneath the trees where I sit is in constant motion and shifts with each gentle breeze.
When I arrive today I’m greeted by the wood fairy flute notes of the Swainson’s Thrush.
Beginning on a low note, its song gradually rises in pitch and speed, spiraling up and up, note by note, until the sound disappears into the forest air. This elusive and difficult-to-spot songbird appears in our area right around this time every year and is one of the indicators that summer is on the way. In this crazy and unpredictable world, it’s reassuring to know that some things can still be counted on.
Everything here moves at its own deliberate pace. The sights, sounds, smells and feelings combine to create the perfect recipe for quiet meditation. Like Monet in his garden and Vincent with his sunflowers, I see something new every time I visit this magical place.