Ode to Nehalem River

My cousin from Eastern Oregon sent me this poem she saw on a friend’s Facebook page. As a Nehalem’ite’ for a very long time, it appealed to me and I thought it would to others, too. It is written by an area resident, Kala Cota, who has allowed me to repost it today. But then, how could I tie in a poem about the Nehalem River to the Master Garden Program? H-m-m-m? Possibly information covering plantings that protect the river banks and riparian areas? With a few searches I found OSU’s Publication Streams and Riparian Areas; Clean Water, Diverse Habitat. For those with a river or stream on their property, create a ‘vegetated buffer strip’. Use of native plants and removal of invasive plants are a priority to preserve and protect these beautiful waterways. So for all you Nehalem’ites’ and other followers, enjoy Kala’s poem. (Photo Courtesy Cammy Hickman – Nehalem River last winter.)

Ode to Nehalem River

I’ve been known to dip a toe
As that Nehalem River flows
Skip some rocks here and there
Float downstream without a care

Throw out a line and catch a trout
More times than not, I lucked out
Catch some crawdads for a feed
With melted butter, yes indeed!

It’s the place we learned to swim
With our cousins and childhood friends
Amongst the algae and beaver sticks
No heated pool for country hicks

I’ve waded in water ankle deep
And past my nose it has creeped
Our old swimming hole was the best!
In the shade we’d take a rest

We’d look for agates or arrowheads
I found a few in that riverbed
Fossils too, in those clay banks
High flood waters we have to thank

That river and I have a history
Its attraction ain’t no mystery
To a young ‘un country grown
On the river, is home sweet home

A raft or two, we sunk them sure
But the memories still endure
The laughter and pranks we played
Those were treasured summer days

In the autumn the leaves collected
On the dam that we erected
It was bound to fail, we all knew
As winter came and the river grew

Snow covered banks and sheets of ice
Don’t go near, don’t think twice
A beautiful sight this winter scene
Black water flows, but it’ll soon be green

Ever changing with the seasons
To everything a rhyme and reason
My favorite place, young or old
Nehalem River, you feed my soul.

Written by a hometown gal: Kala Cota

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