Raking Leaves

“There’s a reason you can learn from everything: you have basic wisdom, basic intelligence, and basic goodness.” Pema Chodron Autumn arrived. Outside, the maple trees turned from green to crimson and gold. Their coat of leaves drifted with the wind and tumbled to earth. Undressed, the bare branches revealed damage from last winter’s ice storm: … More Raking Leaves

Star Gazing

Lately, the morning sky has drawn me outdoors before first light. There, under the comfort of a blanket, I recline in a deck chair on the front porch. The planets Venus and Jupiter are prominent out east this month. And, due to the absence of streetlights in our remote part of the Hood River Valley, … More Star Gazing

Good Books

I have multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects the plasma cells in my blood. The initial diagnosis occurred in December of 2007. So, it’s been four years and seven months. My first doctor gave me five years to live; the second opinion I received generously offered six years. In retrospect, both those prognoses seem pessimistic. … More Good Books

Spring Fever

My wife and I are prepping our house for sale. We live about 15 miles south of town in the upper Hood River Valley. Our home is tucked into a remote corner of the county. Private timber company land and a Forest Service seed orchard adjoin us to the west and south.  Deer, elk, and … More Spring Fever

Stormy Weather

Last fall, snow came early to the valley, and then stopped. The foreshadowing of a long, gloomy winter evaporated with a succession of sunny December days. The New Year heralded more of the same. In front of the Post Office, snapdragons I’d planted last March stood tall. Customers marveled at blooms so late in the … More Stormy Weather

Blue Collar Cancer

Recently, I visited family in San Francisco, my hometown. My roots are urban, but 40 years ago, my wings carried me to more rural environs. I was born at Children’s Hospital on California Street in 1946. My parents worked hard providing their five kids with the basics: bikes, baseball mitts, and a safe home. I … More Blue Collar Cancer

First Connection

Recently, at twilight, a deer appeared in my driveway. Silent as the emerging darkness, she stepped carefully onto the gravel. Behind her, a creamy froth of clouds smeared the horizon; crickets chirruped in celebration of the declining day. I watched as the doe slipped into the tall field grasses. After several minutes, I walked out … More First Connection

On the Road

I’ve been traveling. Recently, my wife and I attended the graduation of our niece from Whitman College in Washington. Tillie, the daughter of my wife’s sister, received a degree in Theatre with a minor in Spanish. She landed a much sought after two-year position at the college admission office, which will provide her income and … More On the Road

Passover

Spring is putting on airs, choosing to arrive fashionably late. Each year our community celebrates its agricultural roots with Blossom Weekend. Normally, pear and apple trees, festooned with an array of white and pink blossoms, attract thousands of visitors. They arrive like bees, pollinating local merchants with disposable income. This year, nary a blossom presented … More Passover

Renovation

Soon after the New Year I resumed my six-mile walks. Wet weather interrupted some outings; others surprised me with unexpected mid-winter sunshine. I work fulltime but my job is not physically demanding. Accordingly, these walks provide the best barometer of my health. This is especially so now that I have restarted drug treatment for cancer. … More Renovation