I always take Marine Drive as I commute to St. Luke’s. It’s a lovely stretch of road unmarred by stop signs or traffic lights, although the installation of speed sensors at two locations keeps drivers moving at a sane pace. Part of the pleasure of the ride is the experience of witnessing three modes of transportation – road, river, and air. On my right, planes zoom in and out of PDX like bees moving into and out of a hive. On the ribbon of asphalt that is Marine Drive, wheeled vehicles abound from bicycles to motorcycles, cars to 18 wheelers. But on my left a far more ancient method of movement, albeit in very contemporary form, is much in evidence on the Columbia. Big boats and little ones, boats under power, boats under sail, jet skis, outboards, canoes and kayaks all travel up and down North America’s second longest river.

I have to confess to sharing a wistful belief with Rat who asserted, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing —  half do much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Now, it has to be said that I have never owned a boat (and doubt that I ever will), but in my mind, boating seems the most marvelous of pastimes, despite the old adage that “a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money.” I suspect that boats may well be like swimming pools – it’s much better to have a friend who has one than to have one yourself. Still, in my imagining, it delights.

On my commute I have noticed that there is something unique to boats, not shared by either planes or cars. They create a visible wake. Every vessel from the largest tanker to the humble rowboat changes the surface of the water, leaving behind an expanding testament of its passing eventually resulting in waves that lap the furthest shores.

I have been on board vessels small enough to be rocked gently by the wake of a passing boat as pleasant as the gentle movement of a hammock in spring as well as in others tossed about violently by some inconsiderate speedster who took no thought for those also atop the water they pass. While I am no seaman, I’ve been afloat enough to know that everyone on the water is affected to a greater or lesser degree by everyone else on the water.

And I have wondered, as I look enviously at those on schooner, yacht and ketch, what kind of wake trails behind me as I move through life. It’s easy to deceive myself in thinking that a word unkind or an action ill considered disappears as soon as it is effected, but I suspect that I am often unaware of the wake created by my behaviors that have the power either to caress or toss those around me.

My times along the river remain a reminder to stay aware of those around me and adjust my wake accordingly.


Our fall season begins in earnest at St. Luke’s this week. Speaking of a powerful wake, The Ark, our program for the spiritual enrichment of children, sets sail this Sunday, September 16 at 10:00 am. Children of all ages are welcome. We are fortunate to have so many members of the parish committed to making this year’s voyage a success!

On Wednesday the 19th, we will host a presentation of Pleasure Unwoven, an excellent film produced by the Institute for Addiction Studies on the science of addiction. As September is National Recovery Month, this is a timely opportunity to become more aware of the nature of addiction as a disease rather than a moral failing. You may not be aware that Doug Scott, our Interim Rector, was Clinical Director of an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in northern New Mexico prior to his retirement and has an abiding interest in the process of recovery. We encourage you to join us at 7:00 pm in the Birch Room.

And for the teenager in your house, our Teen Fellowship Group will be meeting on Sunday, September 23 after church.

COMING UP: On Wednesday the 26th, you are invited to sit down with the members of your Vestry to discuss the ongoing administration of the church’s life and our expectations and needs going forward. This will be a question and answer session that will, we hope, lead to lively discussion about the evolving character of St. Luke’s life.