Observed

Beneath the Heavens

March 14, 2010

This time-lapsed video perfectly punctuates a morning of snowshoeing with my wife, along the glacier-fed White River on Mount Hood. Shot 2,600 miles away on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, the video reminds me of my insignificance in the universe and, at the same time, the wonder of being part of its grandeur. The photographer had this […]

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Tonsorial Tale

July 13, 2009

Over the years I’ve learned to let silence invite candor. So people sometimes tell me more than they should, or more than I want to hear. Today, the guy cutting my hair mentioned how fast my eyebrows grow. Then he volunteered that his eyebrows have always been too sparse. Except for two adjacent hairs off […]

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I would have stopped there if I had been a few decades younger and still reckless and easily thrilled by mega-fireworks. It was one of three stores on the Nez Perce Reservation in tiny Lapwai, Idaho, competing to sell the really good stuff for the Fourth of July. I passed it ten times during a […]

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Sacrificing scenery

May 31, 2009

Until the last few days, I hadn’t traveled through the Columbia River Gorge and seen the new price of protecting the planet. For several miles east of The Dalles, the bare ridge lines that for eons had starkly demarcated earth from sky now are scarred with wind turbines. Aligned like robotic sentries, they look like […]

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Alone

May 30, 2009

South of the tiny hamlet of Pilot Rock along a lonely road, I saw an ancient barn. One end had collapsed. No one lives close enough in the desolate hills to have heard it. The rest of the building looked ready to fall in the next big wind. I ventured inside. Sunlight poured through holes […]

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At the bus stop

May 28, 2009

Mother: What are you so angry about, bitch? Daughter: I’m not angry. Mother: It’s all over your face, bitch. Daughter: What are you talking about?

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Music Fix

May 27, 2009

I make no secret of my adoration for The Avett Brothers, a band I fell for even harder after seeing them live last summer. For that concert at the Oregon Zoo, I stood in a monsoon-like rain, oblivious to the drenching. Now I’ve seen them again, this time indoors last Friday night at the Crystal […]

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Slumming in the City

May 19, 2009

Movement outside the bathroom window. Peering through the blinds, I see a heron atop the neighbor’s garage. It’s scoping out the goldfish in our small backyard pond. Some are so large they’re often mistaken for koi. All are oblivious to the harbinger of death gazing upon them.

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Spring flower girl

May 9, 2009

In evening light, she and a friend drift past my house. “Can I take a picture of your hat?” No hesitation or strange look in her response, only a guileless yes. “What’s the occasion?” She glances at her friend. “I make them all the time from what I see along the sidewalk.” Lilac today, maybe […]

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Wine and Wind

May 3, 2009

We had crowded into a building filled with tables filled with wine. As we — wife and another couple — snaked through lines of people and sampled the wares of artisanal vintners, rain began drumming on the roof like it does in Florida, not Oregon. The sound drowned out the chatter. Wind swept through open […]

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Purple prose in aisle 5

April 21, 2009

I can find just about anything at my neighborhood Safeway grocery. That was my reaction while perusing its modest books section for the first time. Romance novels pack the shelves, though some titles hawk a niche form of lust. Romance novels apparently have sub-genres, including what I cynically classify as the rich-dominating-studs-knock-me-up category. Take these […]

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Moved and Alive

April 17, 2009

In February on a rare sunny day, I helped friends dig up and move a Japanese laceleaf maple from their backyard to their front. No chance the tree was going to survive the unavoidable mugging at our hands.

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Lunch Delight

April 10, 2009

My intrepid correspondent (wife), a food cart gourmand, spotted this menu item in downtown Portland AFTER ordering the yakisoba. Or so she claims.

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