Monday, November 6, 2017

Illusive Time

Seven weeks have passed since I last posted. How is that possible? How can days pile into weeks without my notice? I look at my calendar. I open iCloud photos. I search for highlights of time lost.

The week after my last post, fall quarter began with unusually large classes in a partially unfinished building. I'm in a spacious classroom with floor to ceiling windows that frame the changing seasons, and the folks in IT ironed out the frustrating computer issues by week two. Or perhaps week three.
By mid October, classes were settling, and it was time to winterize the garden. I’ve had a board and brick bookcase since the early 1980s. It was in my work office for close to thirty years until the building was torn down and I landed in a much smaller space. We re-purposed a few of the boards and bricks and brought in the potted plants for an indoor garden. Blooms blur seasonal change.
In late October, I accepted a new personal truth: afternoon gym workouts weren’t going to happen. So I began 6 a.m. spin classes. Enough time for an intense hour-long workout and still make it to my first class. I can’t pretend I like it, but I feel good when it’s over.

The month ended with streams of trick-or-treaters at our door. Such a change in West Seattle. When our daughter was knocking on doors, my husband watching from the sidewalk, she was one of few kids in the neighborhood. Now they seem to be sprouting like autumn mushrooms in the Northwest forests.
We are in a constant state of change as nature gifts us lovely sunsets and hummingbirds that flutter through the leafless branches and feed just beyond my office window.
I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rain & Gratitude

I struggle to decide what to wear. Rain is predicted, but we hope to finish our hike before it begins. Not having worn long pants all summer, I opt for lightweight leggings under my skort and carry both fleece and Gore-Tex®. Just in case.

Choosing a hike also proves challenging. We hope to escape the forest fire smoke by heading north from Seattle, then east on Highway 2. In Gold Bar we stop to reconsider. The smoke is hanging high, so we decide to avoid elevation and nix our plan for Heybrook Ridge given the view will be nominal. Instead, we head for Bridal Veil Falls, a hike I’ve never done despite a lifetime in the region.  
We picnic at the side of the falls, breathing in the damp fresh air, grateful for respite from the smoke and for the firefighters struggling against the violence of a changing environment. Like writing, hiking grounds me when the stresses of our physical and political world become unbearable.
The long awaited rain begins as we descend from the falls, this gray rain so desperately needed after a summer of drought. I hold open my hands, my mouth, like a happy child, hopeful this rain will be enough to control the fires. I feel the rain on my face and think of my mother a child of the Dust Bowl dreaming of rain, and I am grateful.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Haunting Synchronicity: Podcast Interview

Two weeks ago I walked into the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service Building. In 2004 INS vacated the 85-year-old building haunted by the history of Seattle’s immigrant community. Now repurposed and renamed, Inscape is “the largest arts and culture enclave in Seattle.” 
I was invited to Inscape for an interview with Laura Allen of Two Ponies Press. As we discussed my work, my distracted mind wandered the corners of her studio and wondered what joys or horrors it once held. I didn’t vocalize these thoughts during the interview, perhaps I should have, but the odd synchronicity of discussing the influences of immigrants and refugees on my writing within the walls of a building that once held power over their future did not escape me.

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast of our conversation as much as I enjoyed my visit.