Still Lifes

“In every heart there is a god of flowers, just waiting to stride out of a cloud and lift its wings.” Mary Oliver from The Kookaburras In late August of this year, of the summer when my wildflower garden flourished and yielded a wealth of colorful bouquets, crickets sang each evening their mindful refrain. “Soon,” … More Still Lifes

No Other Anywhere

1969 was a hell of a year. Astronauts from Apollo 11 walked on the moon. The Beatles released Abbey Road, their final album. A national draft lottery was held for men, aged 18-26. In Massachusetts, a tragic auto accident occurred on Chappaquiddick Island. Out west, Charles Manson’s cult committed horrendous murders. That summer, thousands flocked to … More No Other Anywhere

Summer

Summer came and went. It left behind a northwest parched by a succession of hot spells so extraordinary that even climate change deniers had their ‘come to Jesus moments’. Rain arrived, at last, in early October. The dire predictions retreated, forgotten along with admonitions to floss our teeth, avoid sugary drinks, and quit smoking. We are … More Summer

Hallelujah

          Hallelujah The primary colors of tulips brighten my yard. Grass sprouts between the bricks of the path. Manic behavior infects the bird life. They chatter about coupling and food, warmth and territory. Rivals join the juncos and towhees at the feeder. Finches and song sparrows visit. The numbers increase, but … More Hallelujah

Wet Weather

“Just remain in the center; watching. And then forget that you are there.” Lao Tzu In early November, wet weather arrived to cleanse the Hood River Valley. Seasonal debris in our yard glistened with rain. Oval blades of lilac nested with the serrated ellipses of cherry. The lobed margins of oak leaves tucked themselves into … More Wet Weather

My Beautiful Life

          “I prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.” From Possibilities by Wislawa Szymborska   My Beautiful Life I walked alone this afternoon. October’s velvet light slipped through The shade of a Big Leaf Maple And tattooed my arms with shadow.   Erratic winds stirred the branches And … More My Beautiful Life

The Towhee

            The Towhee Needles of sleet fell all throughout the night           And the towhee pecks at the hardened crust,     Seeking the moist carpet of leaves below.       But it is too deep. Only the memory         Of his … More The Towhee

Tender Mercies

In December of 2002, an uninsured driver caused an accident that left my oldest son, Noah, paralyzed. He was 22. In the immediate aftermath, our grief knew no bounds. We searched for answers. But none existed. Our resolve hardened against the injury’s tyranny. We imagined fictitious recoveries. But these were just pantomimes of wishful thinking. … More Tender Mercies

Down by the Riverside

Soon after the New Year, I walked the perimeter of a sandbar on the Columbia. It juts north from the Oregon shore in Hood River and is called “The Spit.” Kite board enthusiasts know it as the largest sandy launch site in the Mid-Columbia Basin. From March through October, surfers take off from here and … More Down by the Riverside