Sunday, November 20, 2016

Road Trip

This day has been so sweet, nothing to do but read, write, draw and nap in the cozy silence of my little studio.

Finally, about 3, I decide to get out of the house for a bit, maybe walk by the river.  By the time I get to the park, it is pouring down rain in the best Oregon tradition.  The river is as gray as slate, hurrying  along, the rapids of summer long gone, now it is a flowing monolith, punctuated only by raindrop impacts and the familiar "cat's claw" pattern made by incoming breezes.

The rain is driving, and I'm not wearing my rain pants. Within minutes, my jeans are getting soaked. I decide to retreat to the car. But now there is nothing to do. I have an appointment at four, but it's only 3:30. I have not brought my book.  What to do? My mind is a little frantic, confronted with empty, unplanned time.

 Of course. I breathe, and note the in breath. Then another, and another. Rain falls on the roof of the car, making hard sounds that contrast with the soft light outside.  Thoughts fall away, and there is only my breath and the rain.

30 minutes later, I am on my way to the appointment, refreshed and at peace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Today for the first time in six months I feel strong enough to go for a walk in the woods.  The recurring health problem I struggle with has left me with a gray succession of days, spent in exhausting pain.

Today though, there is a respite. So.  The wooded trail.  It is as I left it, muddy and silent, and golden with fall.  The leaves on one Alder tree are so bright that  for a moment I think the sun has broken through the tall trees on this rainy day.

As I climb the hill past the glowing trees, all the loss of the last year falls away; illness, the loss of my Mom, my job.  Here, the concerns of the future cannot press do not press in me as much either; money, insurance, my health and What To Do Now, all fall away with every step I go deeper into the woods.  Now there is only the trail, and the trees.

A silent mist marches through the steep forest, softening the edges of my vision.  Ahead, something brown crosses the path, visible for a fleeting moment, and is gone.  A deer, probably, though there are also cougar and bear here.

At the pass, I pause to take a picture of a tiny white and gray mushroom pushing up from under some blackberry leaves.  In a depression in the cap is a tiny puddle of rain water. Two dark pine needles float there, in the shadow of the dark green blackberry leaves.

On the way down the hill, the cares of my life re-assemble themselves.  But they come back in a little lighter than they were before the walk.