Indian Summer

In Oregon, the year’s most reliably pleasant weather occurs during Indian Summer. Today, on the eve of my 70th birthday, I strolled along the waterfront of the Columbia. The prevailing westerlies have lost their enthusiasm. This morning, the river laid flat. Paddle boarders cruised the smooth surface under a cloudless blue sky. Elsewhere, the convergence … More Indian Summer

National Parks

Recently, just prior to my “close call” with pneumonia, my wife and I traveled to Olympic National Park in Washington State. Two friends from Seattle joined us for the trip. We stayed together at Lake Crescent Lodge, which is located just inside the east boundary of the park.  Our history with national parks is long and … More National Parks

Pneumonia

On Monday, July 25th, I circled the drain. Tuesday: I wondered, “Whose feet are these?”  I stared at bloated flesh topped with stubby sausages for toes. Then, I fell in love with a girl named Maureen. No, that’s not right. Her name was Morphine. By Wednesday morning, we were going steady. Accomplises delivered her to my room. … More Pneumonia

Picking Blueberries

  Recently, my wife and I visited a U-pick blueberry farm in the upper Hood River Valley. Our son and granddaughter joined us to help with the harvest. Upon arrival, mourning doves crooned in the surrounding forest. A smear of clouds waltzed across the summer sky. An acre of mature bushes, loaded with ripe fruit, beckoned.  … More Picking Blueberries

Buying Time

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Omar Khayyam Morning: I wash dishes. In front of me, through a window opening to the east, I watch a nuthatch spiral up the trunk of our lilac bush. Rays of sunlight pierce the trembling leaves, and the bird’s eyes wink like sequins. Later, I’d … More Buying Time

Hanging With Savvy

My wife and I watch our granddaughter each Friday. It is the highlight of our week. Savannah, whom we call Savvy, will be two on March 14th. I have written about her before, here and here. This week I had her all to myself, as my wife was out of town. My energy level waxes … More Hanging With Savvy

Cabin Fever

Recently, I walked along Hood River’s waterfront. The path I take is 3.5 miles out and back. The fresh air acts as an antidote to the cabin fever that persists during Oregon’s winter months. The Port Commission has patiently developed this resource over the last three decades. Another decade of fine tuning should bring the … More Cabin Fever

The Final Four

Recently, the nursing staff at the infusatorium, where I receive treatment, took it upon themselves to start a cancer support group. At the first meeting I attended, some expressed shock at disappointing prognoses. As a hardy veteran of the cancer wars, I understand how the initial diagnosis upsets the routines of living we carefully construct. To discern … More The Final Four

Still Life on the Columbia

Yesterday morning, before the wind rose and fanned the fires smoldering in the Northwest’s back country, I strolled the waterfront along the Columbia River. The silent water laid flat and grey, tinted with the smoke that shrouded the hills and diffused the sunlight that strained to pierce the cottony haze. A lone fisherman sat on a bench tying flies, too intent … More Still Life on the Columbia