Wednesday, June 27, 2007


When is the last time you were quiet enough to hear the whisper of shifting sands?

When did you last stand outside in darkness deep enough to reveal the Milky Way?

When did you last startle a deer? Or stand face to face with a raccoon? Or look down on the outstretched wings of a bald eagle?

In contrast to Saturday in the city, Monday I planted my feet on the same bit of beach Lewis and Clark stood on 201 years ago. I looked out over the same ocean and marvelled, as men have for eons, over thousands of yellow reflected bits of sun skipping across rippling seas.

My cabin fever has been banished once again in the celebration of summer.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Heartbeat of a City

The city breathes its own air, in and out in unique rhythm. The suburbs, where I live, we suck in canned air from the big box stores where every aisle in every town in every state sells the same products at the same "low price."

But in the city, you never know what you'll find, what you'll hear, who you'll meet. Maybe it's the automaton in his white make-up and brocade tails who waits for a coin to drop in his cardboard box before he moves. His mother must be so proud.

Maybe it's the Swedes in the seat in front of me on the streetcar... or the Koreans behind. Or the musician named Hillbilly who beats out his own tune on an oversized yellow gourd.

Maybe it's the flagship store for a major department store or the joke shop overflowing with magic tricks and glow-in-the-dark you-name-its. Or the corner store that used to be run by Mom and Pop, but has changed management a time or two.

Life in the suburbs is quieter, greener, but I love a day in the city.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A rose by any other name...

One of Portland's crown jewels is its International Rose Test Gardens. Nestled in Washington Park on a hillside overlooking the city and (on a clear day) Mount Hood, the test gardens house 7000 rose plants of over 550 varieties.

Which tells you nothing about what it's like to visit the gardens on a sunny day in June. The fragrance of fresh roses assaults you even before you get out of the car. A hundred different scents hang, mingled in the air. You follow your nose down some steps and over a slight rise until your eyes are filled with a sea of yellows, pinks, reds, purples, greens.

The children rush from plant to plant and let their faces be engulfed by the face of an open rose, breathing in the flower's essence in a floral kiss. Adults move slower, reveling in the garden's charm, pausing to linger over delicate buds. Each shouts out opinions of which is best - tea roses, hybrids, long-stems, old fashioneds - there's a rose for everyone.

At last the beauty overwhelms and we turn our backs on the rows and rows of roses, knowing they will continue smiling for those who come after.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Nobody likes to get rejected. I went through my school years trying to look and sound and act and smell just right so I'd be accepted. Not that I was just like everyone else... nobody else in my high school wore black and white saddle shoes...

But now I'm an adult and I'm sending my words out hoping they find someone who loves them.

And getting rejected.

I know rejection is part of the process. I know it takes rejection and perseverance to make it in the publishing world.

But it still stings.

3 rejections this week. 3 steps closer to the acceptance pile if I keep going.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Road Trip

I heard a program on NPR about road trips, about how we set out on them thinking we will have an epiphany, how a road trip is a metaphor for life... or at least we expect it to be one.

2200 miles from door to door. Washington, British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska. 7 days driving (2 1/2 in the shop) Mountain ranges, lakes and rivers, trees, rocks, moose, bison, mountain sheep and hot springs.

A grand adventure with a prize at the end...

my hometown.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Pulling Out

The mechanic thinks he may have located the problem and we're all hitched up to the trailer ready to head north again. 1000 miles to go!

Please pray for uneventful travel from here on out. Spirits are high and the gas tank is full.