Mistletoe at Finley, mixed media, by Kerry McFall

Working at Muddy Creek school over the last couple of weeks gave me the opportunity to take the long way home via Finley Wildlife Refuge several times.  And the sun was shining – whoa!

Finley is my “church”, a place for quiet meditation, contemplation, rejoicing in nature even in the barest months of winter.  Huge flocks of geese rise as one with no prelude, and give voice like no other choir.  The oaks are the altars, the firs are the spires pointing to heaven.  The elk slip in and out of the thickets and meadows, the spirits of the ancestors.  Quiet pools mirror the sky in the marshes.  Bald eagles drift through now and then to remind me that there could be angels… but then just for the hell of it they buzz down over the resting geese and send them thundering skyward again.  And it turns out that even the humble mistletoe has a place in ancient myth and religious symbology, at least according to Google.  Beautiful.  My humble and sincere thanks to everyone who had a part in preserving this sacred place in the Willamette Valley.