Beamer book notes river's healing power
"A lot of my decisions and happenings in my life occurred on the river," said Dr. Bud Beamer of his recently published book "A River: The Thread That Binds."
Illustrated with photos by Dr. David Evans and Jim Schollmeyer, the book contains poems and essays about fishing, family, his late son Todd, and the significance in his life of fishing and the Deschutes River.
He explained how he got the idea for the book. "It's all the poems and essays I have written over the years, and I thought I needed to make them into a collection. I had also wanted to write a tribute to Todd," he said of his son who died in a drowning accident at age 28.
"A lot of my ideas were spawned in the presence of moving water," he said, noting he tried to make it a feel good book, "an antidote to the stress and trouble of the times we go through, something calming."
A segment of the poem "Rebirth on the River" notes, "In contrast, the fear that's created, by society's ills and mayhem, can deaden the soul and the spirit, and headaches and heartburn begin."
"So give me my fly rod and river, which will lighten the load in my heart, where I can feel the water engulf me, and the knot in my stomach depart."
The poem is accompanied by a photo of the author's wife Beth Ann Beamer fly fishing with a rainbow over her head.
Of the scenic photos, Beamer said former Madras doctor and photographer Dave Evans had an archive of photos, from which the author selected to match his poems. "They set the mood of the book and I was so pleased to be able to do something with Dave," he said.
He also used photos of his friend Jim Schollmeyer, who is a nationally known fishing photographer.
Having grown up in Iowa, Beamer described the surreal feeling he experienced the first time he saw the beautiful waters of the Deschutes River running through the middle of a desert. Also, the random acts of happenstance that led him to intern in Portland, drive to Central Oregon and stop at a store in Warm Springs where he met a doctor who said he worked for Indian Health Service.
Captivated by the river and scenery, he applied to work for Indian Health Service. "Three months later, I was drafted into the Army to go to Vietnam, but a few days later got notice I'd been accepted at the Warm Springs Indian Health Service clinic," he said. The clinic acceptance superseded the military call, so they were able to stay in Central Oregon.
Beamer started putting the book together in 2014, but even though it is self-published, he said it took forever. The publishing company's editor checked for errors and verified the quotes he used from various authors and songs. He was able to design his own layout and cover for the book.
There has been talk of a book signing, but currently, "The River" is just available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $29.95. "I did it primarily for family and friends anyway," he said.
He would like to have his thoughts and observations read by more people, however.
"I was pleased with the outcome. It is personal, but one family's experiences have universal application to other families. We're all riding the same rollercoaster of life," he observed.
Following a 33-year career as a family doctor in Madras, Beamer worked as an emergency room physician, and continues to work as a physician at a prison in Eastern Oregon, while also running his ranch in Madras.
He is active in the community, his church, athletic events, and cares deeply about the environment and helping young children. He was instrumental in helping to start a family relief nursery in Madras, to give at-risk toddlers the crucial attention they need for a good start in life. His work at the prison has shown him some of the results of child neglect.
"The book is about more than fishing. It's about being out in nature and its healing aspects, about the passions I have in life – ranching and family – and some of my own philosophy and aspects of faith," he said.
Living on the ranch, Beamer said he's always aware of the sunsets and how lucky they are to have a place with a view of the river canyon. "It's imperative we do all we can to preserve the environment. To deny we're not impacting our future with the actions and decisions we make is foolhardy," he said.
"I wrote the book because I wanted to show off Central Oregon, so people who come through here could see the beauty of it, the healing aspects of it – to hike and get out and have a good sense of life," Beamer said.