Great Blue Heron by Neal Maine/PacificLight Images.
“After many years of trying to capture a heron in the snow, it finally happened along the Neawanna River in Seaside.” Neal Maine
For more images from Neal Maine, please go to http://www.fairweatherhouseandgallery.com / …artists tab/ …Neal Maine and Michael Wing
“Would it be possible to share the link that has Katie’s thank you as an end of year story on the Fairweather blog?”
“Of course! We would love that. We’re so glad you were touched by the letter and appreciate you wanting to share it with others.”
Dear Friend of North Coast Land Conservancy,
When I look back on this wonderful year at North Coast Land Conservancy, there is one day that stands out as nothing less than magical. As someone who has joined an On the Land outing or pulled weeds with us, who regularly donates to us or who simply follows us through our newsletters or e-news, you know that among our many projects, the big one we’re working on is conservation of what we call the Rainforest Reserve—3,500 acres of forestland adjacent to Oswald West State Park. I’ve made more than two dozen trips up there this year alone, with old and new friends. But this one day was unique.
We heard that Oregon’s poet laureate, Kim Stafford, was visiting the coast to do a reading, and we invited him to visit the Rainforest Reserve with us. The morning we set out, the coast was socked in with dense fog—classic pea-soup conditions. Yet barely a couple hundred feet up into the forest, the clouds gave way to blue skies and sunshine. The higher we climbed, the warmer the day became. As we climbed the ridge, the summit of Onion Peak gradually came into view: Onion Peak, the highest point in the proposed Rainforest Reserve.
High on the ridge, at the headwaters of streams that plunge down steep chasms to meet the ocean, at the tree line where meadows flourish on rocky balds, I felt like I was perched on an island of wilderness, a secret floating mountain in the sky. We couldn’t see the towns or highway that we’d left behind just minutes earlier. It was strikingly quiet. Quiet, but not silent. I closed my eyes to better hear the sounds of the rainforest: the buzzing, the singing, the whispering, and the whooshing of wings. I felt transported.
I often feel that way when I get off the beaten path just a little bit; do you? When I notice that I don’t hear the road anymore. When I realize my breathing has slowed and I can feel my heart beat. When instead of reaching for my phone, I look to the trees, trying to locate with my eyes the bird that my ears can hear so clearly. Happy memories wash over me, and I feel a sense of kinship with all of creation, past and present. It’s at times like these that I tend to get some of my best ideas.
As Kim put it that day, “This place offers not only clarity of water but clarity of thought. Maybe that’s the business we’re really in: conserving places where all species can be their best selves. Your gifts are the only way we can make that happen. In our land conservation work, I often bump up against folks who say, “I’m not an environmentalist,” or say “I like open space, but I’m no tree-hugger.” I’ll admit that I have been known to actually hug trees now and then, mostly to feel for myself the scale of some of the big trees we still have on the Oregon Coast. But to the extent that tree-hugger means by-any-means-necessary, I realize that’s not me. And that’s not the organization I work for. By working with willing landowners, by keeping in mind the people part of our people-plants-and-wildlife formula for coastal conservation, we keep open the lines of communication with everyone.
Because I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who hasn’t experienced one way or another, a moment of magic in the natural world. Who hasn’t felt transported, or felt a deepening of connection with all of creation by being in a wild place, away from the houses, roads, and towns where we spend most of our lives.
The way Kim Stafford spoke about the land that day was so grounding, and so humble and human. It reminded me that we are all just people, doing the best we can to take care of our place, and for so very many reasons:
We save this land because it brings life, water and breath.
We save this land because we love the critters that live here, the wildflowers, and the forests.
We save this land because, in the end, we know it will save us.
Or as Kim said that day, on the shoulder of Onion Peak, one of the pieces of ground we are working so hard to conserve, “It occurs to me, while standing here, that this project will offer what we will long for more and more: clear water, quiet, and starlight.”
Thank you for sharing your time and your treasure and allowing us to do just that, here on our coast: offering clear water, quiet, and starlight, for all creatures, forever.
If simply being in nature is already such a powerful experience for me, what was it about being in one of my favorite wild places with a poet such as Kim Stafford that made the experience even more profound?
Part of it was the day itself: standing on a peak floating upon fog, in the gold and blue of a fall day that felt stolen from summer. But I think Kim was somehow able to read my heart and put words to what I was feeling better than I could myself. Each of us, every human being, has a need for nature, is part of nature. Each of us feels that connection, deep in our hearts and souls, even if we can’t put that awe and that sense of wonder into words the way he could.
The next day Kim emailed us to thank us for the day we shared. What a gift it is to work with such amazing people—people such as yourself—who care so deeply about our coast and for our coast.
Thank you for helping to conserve Oregon’s coastal lands, forever.
All my best,
North Coast Land Conservancy
Preserving the Oregon Coast Forever
PO Box 67, Seaside, OR 97138
Hosted by the Seaside Library Art Committee
“Maybe no other local wildlife creature represents the natural history of the North Coast land ocean interface better than the great blue heron.” Neal Maine
19 images of the Great Blue Heron, a natural history art show, by Neal Maine at the Seaside Library, on public display combined with a printed image guide detailing the natural history of the great blue heron.
“The goal of this photography display is to celebrate this unique bird and bring life to how the features of the great blue heron fir the abundance and freshwater systems of the North Coast. Natural history photography places high value on the quality of the image but even more important, is the desire, skill and patience to capture and illuminate the beauty of the coast landscape and its unique wildlife.” Neal Maine
“This is the perfect time to share NCLC’s gratitude for FAIRWEATHER’S support of our conservation work on the coast. We are delighted to share about the new social media outreach program NCLC has launched for our business partners as a thank you for your support. Four times a year NCLC will be posting a thank you to FAIRWEATHER on our FB page, with a photo.”
Here is the schedule for FAIRWEATHER’S posts:
Last week of February 2019
Last week of May 2019
Last week of September 2019
Last week of November 2019
Thank you for valuing the beauty and magnificence of the Oregon Coast. Thank you from all of us at NCLC to all of you at FAIRWEATHER.
North Coast Land Conservancy
Preserving the Oregon Coast Forever