What Next?

In September, smoke from wildfires shut down activities in much of Oregon. An eerie mustard colored sky shrouded the community of Hood River. The burnt smell of the air created a vacancy reminiscent to March/April’s sheltering in place. Eyes itched and stung; throats seized up dry and scratchy. People were dispossessed of how to pass … More What Next?

In the Oregon Hills

I can’t remember how I learned to read. I don’t recall the teacher’s patience to help me sound out vowels and consonants. Nor the prompts to form these sounds into words. Was I encouraged at home by my parents? If so, there’s no memory. That process disappeared with time. Yet, the gradual step by step … More In the Oregon Hills

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

Books

Oregon’s reputation for tough winters suffered a setback in 2017/18. November, December, and January stretched like lazy cats across the blanket of the Northwest sky. They shed rain but mild temperatures prevailed beneath their sleepy overcast. On Mt. Hood, skiers lamented the lack of snow. In the valley below, orchardists fretted. They prefer harsh conditions … More Books

Why Things Happen

Why Things Happen For J. D. Riso   I listened to the rain fall for hours And read a mystery next to my cat, Both of us dismayed by the dark, wet sky.   I listened and read and accrued the clues Of how and who as to why things happen. I heard rainwater scampering … More Why Things Happen