The lion came late. Where have you been? I have missed your bluster and roar and rain. March came gently, quietly, and now shakes his mane. Wind moved heavy on the gray water, the kind of wind that closes doors or blows wide open the ideas of the past, and the water rippled like forgetfulness. The gusts of wind blew the white petals and the black crows out of the wild cherry trees bordering the road.

Last weekend we went walking in the fan of the valley, where the big river spills down out of the crux of the mountains and continues north, hills and rolling churns of earth and big basalt hillocks the cause for the water's meander. Some of the fir and cedar and maple trees are big, and along the trail they feel strangely domestic, like horses stabled and cared for, well-loved, appreciated. We walked over a bridge and the swallows and swifts darted and surged on the wild air, and a big breath from behind us took the hat from S's head and down it spiraled, where long bare tree branches on the opposite bank caught it.

He scrambled down into brambles and we could hear him cracking the dormant branches and reeds and willows down below the steep embankment of the river's cut that most other years would be underwater in winter. Victorious in his retrieval of the hat, we continued our stroll through the riverside woods, now sheltered from the wind. We could hear the whooshing creak and crack, the groan and sibilant heft of branches sighing under the motion and weight of air. The air was wet, and rain spattered lightly, a random drop on a cheek like rough playful kisses.

We followed the mill race away from the river's wide and rocky course, and we stopped to watch big black-sided fish dart through the current. Clouds scudded and soared and were torn asunder by the wind, but turned the water into a reflection of the luminous grey. We took a detour along the shallow stream, wending our own trails through grass and sedge, new sprouts of blackberries mowed in the fall, thistles and mustard and someone had planted tulips in the mole hills.

We crossed another wooden bridge over the dark stream and detoured again into an old filbert orchard, the draping branches with their pale green flowers, not yet sending forth green foliage. Pollen colored the damp earth and the dead leaves on the ground a light dusty yellow like sunshine. The remains of stumps, saplings and some larger trees, gnawed at the base, indicated a beaver's habitat. Wood chips the size of my hand littered the ground around one cottonwood tree that had recently been felled and stripped clean of bark and branches. My what big teeth they must have.

We sat beside the beaver's tree as it pointed into the grey eddying water, on the grassy skirts of the filbert orchard, on the gentle green bank of the mill race, where the mill's shallow water had cut the bank at its constant level throughout the years and seasons. No mill now, the old ways are replaced with dreams of profit, but the mill race and pond still host beavers and ducks and geese and fish. There was no avoiding it, it came slow with a low roar and then rushing, and we three sat silent and listened to the wind in the trees and the quaking hard flutter of the silver-sided cottonwood leaves on the opposite bank.

We shared water and an orange and an afternoon constitutional, and continued our exploration of the trails. We walked to the dirt bike track, where usually there are numerous children on squat but agile fat tired bikes. We were completely alone, and maybe that's why I felt compelled to do something I always thought would be fun. I'd ridden the course before on my mountain bike, but I always wanted to walk it, to feel the pull of gravity and the strength of my legs and the hard breath in my lungs climbing up those steep big bumps in the road.

I started down the steep runway onto the course, up and over the first hummock, running down the steep, up the steep, down the steep, around the curving sweep, and JJ and S started after me. I was not racing, I was having fun in that windy day exertion kind of way, but they picked up their pace and started running after me, heaving up and down the dirt hillls of the course, and I was struck by the silliness of it all and doubled up laughing hard, so they passed me. JJ cut the corners laughing as she ran, but S got to the finish line first, although he didn't cross it out of recognition for the absurd. JJ stomped and whooped and laughed, and then as we walked away from the dirt bike course and the building with the James Dean noseless alien painted on the side, she saw a circle cut in the gravel by bike tires and showed us how it looked like a drawing of a girl's face.

We walked back across the river over a different bridge, a wider span, craggy rocks covered with moss and sprays of river grass, and the swift current was fractured churning emerald green. Up the river we could see the heavy pregnant storm clouds darkening the land, and sheets of rain falling from the black underbellies of the clouds into the river's narrowing valley at the edge of the mountains.

The path brought us to the art and fabrication departments of the university, and we explored the old ceramics kiln and the metal shop's courtyard, and walked through the bedraggled and weedy community garden. It is time to plant fava beans, with their lush green thick foliage and their striking black and white flowers. We continued onto campus to look at the deciduous magnolias that line the walkways, candelabras of huge pale fawn pink tulip-shaped flowers. Back on the streets we recognized how quiet the wooded river trail had been, away from the bustle of down town, car alarms, phones, traffic. It was a small dampening of our exploration, it changed us back to some other sense of consciousness, and we said quick goodbyes in the blustering chilly air.


Hush. Come out here a moment. Exhale and breathe in and taste the bright clean air with those taste buds way down deep in your lungs. Stop, just a minute. Shut off the voices, the nagging, the worries, the reminders, the distractions, the rush, and think about being weightless, unburdened. Breathe. Take a step back into your self. Look around. You’ll see the world much more clearly through your own eyes. Find your center of balance and stand like you will not be moved. Consider your strength, your poise, your connection with the wholeness of the world. Right now you have no inadequacy, no age, no complaint, no weakness. You are complete and whole, you are who you are, and the wind that rolls across your skin cares only that it has found something to touch. Seek peace in your mind and heart and soul. Be still. Dwell in silence.

The warm southern wind blew through the tall trees and I watched them sway, ancient firs on a high hill, they moved like figures dancing. A hundred years old, a hundred feet tall, so high they moved when the rest of the forest stood still and hushed, I could hear them sigh and bend and creak, soft singing tree voices, as the wind and sun moved among their branches. They cast dark shade, dappled across the creek and on the forest floor’s bare winter branches of huckleberry, vine maple, and the blooming brilliant yellow wild violets. The tiny feathered fir seeds came twirling down, they looked like pixie dust shining in the sun, specks of tree dust glinting in the sunlight. I stood looking into the sun, watching the trees sway and the seeds fall for what might have been hours, like watching the roll of ocean waves or the free motion of birds flying.

Ours is a brief existence, too short, over too fast, the erosion and decay inevitable. Tortoises and trees live more than twice as long as we do. We tuck ourselves away into plastic and metal boxes, and hide in paper caves, we cut the light from our eyes with glass. I can’t but I try to forget time; it is imperious and intangible and I can have no effect on it. I love to watch the seeds falling, the promise of renewal, rebirth, the continuance of wind in the trees.


We walked in the big trees.

All Saturdays should be like this. Saturn's Day. Turn it vibrate it wheel it on that heaven so far beyond the pale glow of Terra's biolumiescense.

The creek is so low, and the woods so parched and dry. I worry about this summer. It felt like June, except the water was too cold for swimming, but I was tempted to peel all the sweaty clothes from by body and dive into the peridot-green pool we found today, three miles past last summer's big fire.

Big ju-ju yews lined the banks and we walked humbly. Native Americans considered them to be big medicine. Pacific yews are rare; until today I could count on my fingers the yews we've seen. They are somber dark forboding trees, not large, but ceturies-old, they have twice the presence of any ash or maple. They do not seem like benevolent trees, but like territorial watchers, with branches hanging low and nothing except trillium and wild grapes grow beneath them. We walked softly beneath their ancient moss-laden dark branches. They make the air still. I counted seven on our side of the stream.

As we walked along, the creek changed from green babble to deep churn to red roll to white froth, and the bank's trail climbed, so we were not near the water's edge, but we could see it down through the branches.

We came to many fallen trees, including one that had rocked over in a wind storm and ripped a huge chunk of earth vertical. The roots and earth, the rocks from under the roots, stood twenty feet tall. The fir that toppled, ripping the branches from other trees as it fell, roaring as it fell, lay across the path and halfway across the rocky burbling water. I believe, when the wind caught that treetop, by chance or hubris, it did indeed make a sound. I could not deny its existence.

The difference between blood, which flushes our mammilian reptilian aviarian amphibian bodies pink, and between chlorophyl, which flushes those ferns and trees and vegetables green, is one, one, atom's difference.
A hundred thirty-six atoms of carefully arranged hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen placed around one single cell of either iron or magnesium. That is all.

The sun's light pleases us, every one. You do not need to explain to me creation.


I’ll be like that Indian girl with the wrinkled sweat-stained white Jack Daniel’s baseball cap and the dirty fingernails who held her hand, palm facing out, across her eyes, so that I wouldn’t exist. Maybe she's not crazy.

No profit or loss, no equity statement, no policy, drag it out and say I really don’t like it, the way words lose their meanings. Babble-on. What ever whatever words. I wonder about the hidden lost depths in words like “knit” and “knot” and “know,” “write” and “wry” and “wring.” Get around it. Twist it. Delve. Linguistical spelunking. These things keep me up long after the trains in the yard, early or late between the darkest hours of the night, are done clanging and locking and thumping and whistling in their linear love.

A grey old man with white hair stood under a young blossoming cherry tree. White blossoms fell in the bright sun. He stood shoulders hunched, face drawn into wrinkles from years of worry and joy, and he watched something that could have been a hundred yards or a hundred miles away that I could not see. His gaze did not flicker, he stood long and quiet and I wondered at the past worn into the soles of his shoes.

My bottom lip split and I taste blood even though it is not bleeding. That scent is like sunshine, hematite, the ocean. This body of mine desires to slide through water.


Who first spun, looped a long strand with fingers, doubled it back on itself, noticed the value, the creation, the method? What ancient need, what story of creation, what desire to make a useful thing? We knit last night, the five of us, each pair of hands working the long thin needles in her own rhythm and rhyme, some pushing front and back, some reaching and catching. Some smooth, others abrupt in her own motions. My hands don’t move the needles much, but do move the yarn; I watch my index fingers catch and hold the strands, my middle fingers and thumbs hold the needles, seeming so arachnid and separate from the rest of me, nimble and clever and quick. My hands. Could they span the night with thread, could they catch luminous moth wings in gossamer strands?

These knitting hands look like my Grandma’s hands, long lean fingers, strong fingertips, but I lack the curved-back thumb and hard nails, I lack the knowledge she had for playing piano, and my hands have not held so many hands of children or baked as many cookies. Her hands were always warm and dry, calloused but smooth. I remember watching things grow from between her two extra long bronze-colored steel needles she always used, click click click click, they moved fast and steady. When her eyes failed and she fell into delirious sickness her hands still moved sometimes like she were knitting, trying to loop it all together, a body’s comfort, the ancient rhythm a salve for the soul, and there I feel that ache in my heart. So bittersweet, some memories.

Last night I smiled to be surrounded by knitters, their work growing and spilling from the thin sticks they held. I noticed how our threads were as different as our working rhythms, different textures, thicknesses, colors. It is a curious phenomenon, to create something, to not know how it will look until it is finished. Between the hope and the completion, the perception of the thing changes. We lose any supposed objective sensibility, and cannot see it except through our own eyes, which saw it all along, from beginning to end.

JJ & I sat on the wood floor, it felt good and cool beneath me, and placed me at eye level with the top of the coffee table. I watched the knitting projects increase and the wine in the bottles decrease. We worked with quiet conversation, the two men on either side of me relaxing in their own chairs, joining in with observations. The knitting circle is a place of reflection and learning, of quiet talk about children and education, of books and travels. Politics do not enter, and religion is only sometimes mentioned as a personal relationship, without judgment, understood. We weave laughter and stories into the simple stitches, the things remembered are knit together with care, loops connecting loops with the intent of creation.


In Sunday’s sun we went stumping through the marshes, a walk through the fen with two dappled dogs that blended with the shadows and the grasses. The wetlands are amazingly dry this year. The lay of the land traps and seeps with runoff from springs and hillside streams, lazy slow low valley meanders, bog water. A myriad of grasses makes a winter palette, all the shades of green and gold and rusty red, punctuated by copses of stunted trees. Each shallow pond is encircled by yellow straw grasses and cattails gone downy to seed, tall sedge the color of rust, small stunted trees, and man-built aeries for eagles or hawks.

Thousands of Canada geese from one horizon to the foothills fanned their tails high above us, upside-down white V on their feathers spread to compliment the formations of their skeins in flight, big black wings beating the air and the cacophonous honking in rhythm. They spread their pinions and their webbed feet and circled gliding down to splash in the bright blue water.

I recall once years ago we walked the fen, grasses and rushes and bushes reaching above our heads to scratch the damp dark winter sky, and through the stark rustling leaves of grass we could see out across the dark lake the great sweeping wings of a bald eagle hunting for fish. We stood in silence, hoping the great bird would circle closer, and we held our breath when he pivoted, spinning on the wind with one wing to earth the other to the heavens. We could also see a flock of winter swans on the water, halfway on their southbound journey, and the air was thick with the sounds of ducks and geese. The eagle disappeared behind a tall stand of trees.

Sunday’s sunshine glistened blue and shining on the glassy ponds and twisting streams, on the wings of birds. We walked through the sandy bottoms and across muck and mud, hopping from one tuft of grass to the next across the deepest mires. Tracks of deer and raccoons, coyotes and countless small rodents, ducks and geese peppered the soft loam by the water’s edge. We watched a great blue heron lift with one, two, three strong beats of his wide wings, rising just above the marshes, and then he went gliding a long distance, graceful long neck tucked, long beak outstretched. He tilted his wings, a pause in flight that caught my breath, stalled, then settled gently back to earth on his long stilt legs. We saw three white egrets standing knee deep in the reflective bright water, so serene and patient, the lines of their bodies like calligraphy.

We returned home happy and tired from carefully picking our way through the mire, our heads full of the sounds of birds.


From across the infinity that stretches between souls and half the physical world away comes a hello. I saw the red and white bordered international air post envelope in the mailbox and the wild angular scrawl. No chicken scratch, this writing is made by a much larger, wilder bird.

I dropped my bag with a happy grin and opened the envelope with greedy fingers, pulling forth two thin blue pages of paper filled with the best kind of run-ons and quirky spelling ("Britich ladies").

She left more than a year ago for travels in Spain and Morocco, then found family and work in Paris, travelled to Rome on holiday where she met a young man, and moved into his North London home. With his seven Sicilian roommates. And soon added Italian to the number of languages she knows. She worked as a bar maid for an historic bar and as a well-off Spanish family's nanny long enough to save money, has gone with him to Sicilia to meet his familia, including the Mama, who gave her many hugs and called her Bella because she ate all the food that was offered. Now they are bumming on beaches in Mallorca. I think it's a serious romance, which she has not had before. She has started dancing again.

In June, she tells me in her ferocious hand, she will be bringing him home to Oregon.

He's funny. In an honest, acerbic, wry, offensive, practical kind of way.


February always feels forgotten, some brief too-fast blur of daffodils and ice and mud. It’s gone again and overnight the cherry and plum trees have burst their blossoms, exploded with pale pinks and whites, delicate and fragrant. The oaks still stand nude, small leaf buds on the tips of branches a bare hint of sap stirring.

Saturday morning I taught veilwork in my dance class. Not everyone likes veils; it can be a measure of patience. It takes time to figure out how the fabric moves, and not only how it moves, but how it moves to best please the eye. It also takes arm and shoulder strength, which is something many women past a certain age tend to neglect. I love watching all the swirling colors, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing my students experimenting with turns and flares, finding their comfort level to simply play with the veils. It is a sort of silliness, playing with a big piece of cloth, but it is also a form of artistic expression. We had a good time and I cut the lesson short because I had a class to attend.

I went with one of my students to a workshop with a dance historian and ethnologist. Her emphasis is on Ottoman Greek folk dances. We learned some wonderful stepwork, and danced while playing our finger cymbals to a 9/8 rhythm. I can’t explain all I learned without hearing the music or being able to perform the steps or at least clap the rhythm. It did fascinate me, and I want to learn more.

Later that afternoon, S & I went hiking with JJ in the woods, and found ourselves in a section that had burned during the summer’s fire season. It was very Hemingway of us, stumping through the black trees and scorched ground and bare brambles. We made our way to the creek side, and the thick lush woods that escaped the fire’s ravaging blaze closed around us. We were enthralled by the sword ferns that stood as high as our heads, and the myriad of mosses and lichens and ferns of as many different shades of green as can be imagined, growing on the ground, on tree branches, rocks, down to the water’s edge. The bare branches of maples wore their pale green mossy beards, and lungwort hung with its chunky deliberateness from the oaks. The moss covering the branches forms a symbiotic relationship; the trees extend aerial roots into the moss, and benefit from the trapped moisture.

The contours of the land are a jumble, rising and falling from some volcanic upthrust eons ago, and the trail switched back and climbed or descended along the course of the rocky wild creek. In places the water was shallow and tumbled with white rapids, and elsewhere it spread into deep dark green pools suitable for diving and swimming. We crossed two bridges over small burbling tributaries cascading from some high spring above us in the rocky cliffs. We felt awe as the sunlight splashed against the water and dappled the world with shadows from the big firs and maples. The air was heady and crystalline, and we all felt euphoric, quiet in our thoughts, relaxed and happy. JJ and I galloped on imaginary horses and the dogs coursed ahead, traveling to some imaginary kingdom. S took photos of the light and shadows and the colors green.

After our hike, we returned home for dinner with JJ & Shellybelly came to eat and laugh. We danced and joked and drank red wine while S barbequed kabobs with steak, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. We gorged ourselves on cheese and crackers. We listened to the blues and to techno and to gypsy music and talked about God and culture and the most beautiful woman in the world. JJ is the funniest woman in the world, and Shell is the so-sassiest. I think I must be the happiest.

Sunday I slept.