Every year in December, the Tumalo Creek Holiday Lights Paddle Parade takes place on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. This year, I took pictures of them paddling through the snow. I thought maybe there wouldn’t be as many participants, but a little snow falling didn’t stop people from joining in on this annual event.
Here’s a short video of paddlers on the river.
Paddlers decorate their kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and canoes with holiday lights and paddle from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe for about a half mile to the Flag Bridge in the Old Mill district.
You can see a snow-covered inflatable reindeer on the kayak on the left side of the photo below. I enjoy seeing reindeer wherever I can.
On a desert wander, clouds fill my head. A scrub jay calls to me in its raucous voice and my attention shifts. I stumble over a rock, plain and gray. The rock beckons me to pull it from the sandy soil. Just a rock, I think. Dark and hardened, like my thoughts. It’s stuck fast in the soil and I pry it loose with a juniper twig.
I cup the rock in my hand and feel its weight. Though it appeared ordinary in the soil, it is not. Other hands have held this rock. They chipped away the darkness to reveal a shining edge. My fingers trace its sharpness; an unforeseen treasure from the past brought to light. My desert wander turns to wonder. As dawn breaks, the clouds lining the horizon disappear.