Bi-Mart: Eighty-five stores in the Northwest, bright open spaces, imperceptible music, friendly staff in red or blue smocks—and stuck in the past. But I had to go there. Our K-mart closed, our Fred Meyer wouldn’t have what I was looking for, and I knew that the store was easy to navigate once I got past... Continue Reading →
I retired. I’m retired. I’m a retiree. Is there a less appealing word for such an appealing status? Literally, retire means to pull back or withdraw (think of tire on doors in France, meaning pull). That isn’t even what I’m doing. That definition makes me think of a horse who is trotting along doing its... Continue Reading →
Tikal, Guatemala According to an epic poem written more than 3000 years ago*, Gilgamesh, who was the ruler of Uruk, and his opponent-turned-best-friend, Enkidu, decided to destroy the Cedar Forest where humans were forbidden to enter. Gilgamesh and Enkidu, both of whom had super-human strength, traveled across seven mountains before they came to the forest.... Continue Reading →
Last weekend at the cabin, everything was raggedy: trees were down, nothing was blooming, appliances were acting up, and roads, boots, ditches, and even our faces were running with cold rain. But, or, as Butt the Hoopoe says in Salman Rushdie’s playful Haroun and the Sea of Stories, “but but but.” But but but for... Continue Reading →
We walked farther than the dogs needed to because I needed to keep going. In the illumination of a streetlight, I saw concentric circles in the knobby twigs.
Here’s how you shut it off. You leave town with your husband. You rent a place that has kayaks. You concentrate on figuring out how to pull yours through the sand to the lapping ocean, then on how to get into the plastic shell. Then you row, or paddle, or whatever it is that you... Continue Reading →
This story is about three of the people on this solid earth. This story is about them in the middle of September up until now, and it is about them before that time and after. It is about the people they knew or know or will know, too, and indirectly, it is about the ground... Continue Reading →
This story is not about Marion’s casserole, but that is where I have to start. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Partially brown a pound of ground beef, then pour off the grease. Scrape the ground beef into a lasagne pan, then pour in a few cups of elbow macaroni. Find the can opener and... Continue Reading →
One night on the way to visit my father, I heard about a crime that was allegedly committed by a twenty-year-old man. My first reaction was to be upset: it was none of our business how old he was, or even that it was a “he” and not a “she.” I remembered my reaction when... Continue Reading →
My husband, the dogs, and I spent last week at his family’s beach cabin. It’s a modest structure with a flat roof and a lot of history—his family’s history; I married in relatively recently. The cabin sits on top of a cliff above a long narrow beach. The beach’s upper terrace is a strip of... Continue Reading →
Today there were flickers of fall. I spied them in the curled leaves beneath our cherry tree, its crown still green. I smelled them in the air, both brisk and sour. I felt them on my feet which brushed against the dew. I wore the flickers in my spine, which hunched today to force the... Continue Reading →
I think of the eye tests where the ophthalmologist says, “Which one’s better, One or Two?” and I ask to see One again. I try to keep Two in mind as it blinks off and One takes its place. “I can’t tell you,” I say. “It’s all right. Let’s try this,” she says. “Which one’s... Continue Reading →
With our monitoring of first flowering date, we have a feeling of belonging to the world, rather than resistance to it; of concordance, rather than shock.
When visitors show up, you need to remember these two words: igualmente (likewise, but easier to kick around) and tampoco (me neither but casual, like uh-uh.) Just say them over and over, and then get ready to drop them as your guests began to talk. “I’m so glad to be home,” someone says. Actually, I... Continue Reading →
In the weeks leading up to my 40th college reunion, I started musing about Barb now and Barb back then. I collected my few mementos: a yearbook, the freshman book with all of our high school photos in it, and a set of peach-colored towels that we are still using. I considered the astonished Barb... Continue Reading →
Letter to my boyfriend after my junior year of college. I had just returned to California for the summer from Pennsylvania by Greyhound bus, May 29, 1977. My kids don’t know what a stubbed toe, a stubbed heel, or a scraped knee is, really. They understand the concept, but they aren’t even sure how you’d... Continue Reading →
Edges hold the world in, so I can live here. And yet the pursuit of edges pulls me out of my world to see what else there is.
I’m in position. I’ve rocked forward, left leg in front, body planted on the right. Now I’m rocking back. My left knee rises, my right should cocks back, my elbow, and then my right hand follows. Now I explode like a spring, hurling every joule of available energy—from my leg, torso, shoulder, biceps, forearm, wrist,... Continue Reading →
I am writing about herbicide here, and I am aware that my discussion may alienate some people, and yet I believe that in some circumstances when managing lands, herbicides are the best alternative. Note, however, that I’m not an expert on this. My brief statement of support for the sparing use of for herbicides in... Continue Reading →
ludic (adjective): (Of play) spontaneous and without purpose; (of behavior) undirected and spontaneously playful. I need the occasional ludic break to get through the day. Ludic is running through the park with a young son. Ludic is playing tug-of-war with the dog. Ludic is arranging blueberries on the rim of my plate; it’s humming or... Continue Reading →
Who goes there? I am usually too ignorant to even know someone is passing by. And when I do pay attention, I am astonished to learn the extent of transit, variety of travelers, and breadth of cargo that moves in my neighborhood. I live near a residential home for women in rehabilitation, and I see... Continue Reading →
Great glory, wonderful day! I’m astonished how good it feels when the sun finally shines, when grasses show as mounds in unmown lawns, and cherry petals start to grace the ground, reminding me to look up. Dogs walk faster, squirrels linger with more derring-do, college kids talk louder as their masses move up sidewalks. At... Continue Reading →
Can you conjure the time when you most experienced bliss? Have you felt suspended among bats of down comforters above and below, your body—and your thoughts, or lack of thoughts? That’s how I was.
Our weekend cabin is about a mile off the paved road. It has sunlight and wind, the music of two creeks, and a wood-fired hot-tub. It has indoor water and electric wiring. But it’s off-grid. Off-grid means complications for keeping a refrigerator cold (and I have sagas about our propane fridge.) Off-grid means a diesel... Continue Reading →
Challenge: Take photos of all the letters of the alphabet in nature. Do not move except to get the camera into position. Do not alter images other than cropping them. See what I learn from the challenge. Outcomes: A bunch of photos. Pleasure while pondering views and images. Skills in photography. Skills in imagining features... Continue Reading →