Coming Home

The Columbia River Gorge
Mt. Hood as seen from The Dalles, Oregon.

There is a point on U.S. Highway 84 heading West where the road seems to descend into this big gouge in the landscape, past millennia of accumulated sediments in the strata gouged, revealed and polished by successive glacial floods.

It dips down from the arid and Martian-featured landscape of the Columbia plateau and the Channeled Scablands to where the big, blue river rolls peacefully toward the Pacific.

It’s this point where I feel like I’m coming home. Where the landscape transforms from wide plains to steep walls traversed by mountain goats. Where green oasis appear wherever streams and rivers meet the mighty Columbia.

Continue reading Coming Home

Radio Silence

radio silenceThe long, hot summer is giving way to what could be a long, warm fall and winter.

The daytime temps still reach into the 90s, but at night you can feel the chill in the air that precipitates fall.

Weekdays bleed into weekends in slow motion with little delineation.

The toxic glow of Fox News permeates the living room, so I hide away hunched over the laptop. And when the noxious wind of judgment and hatred from various numbered clubs and televangelists reaches its fever pitch, I head out on the bicycle trying to put miles between myself and my world.

The kids are spread out over two sets of grandparents trying to find a foothold after eight years away.

We pick up where we left off with old friends like it was June, 2007. Except their kids are grow up and leaving, which reminds of us of the advance of years.

Parents are more linear, more set in their ways, but then so are we, which provides the friction that causes the smoke that tells us there is a fire somewhere.

It’s months-long therapy for a chronic condition picked up in transit. Or a way to sift though life’s choices, to read the map looking for wrong turns and detours missed.

An unplanned rest stop in a slightly familiar place.

The radio silence is deafening.

When everyone else is living out loud.

 

To unfinished stories;

UnfinishedSleep, or something like it.

More is needed.
I think.
Moving about is a product of the engine inside me. Well fueled, and I have the energy to go from here to there.
But the opposite is sometimes true.
On days when the fog rolls in like it used to cover San Francisco when I still lived on those hills and valleys. I suppose it still does, even though I’m no longer there.
I like to breathe it in like pea soup and let it clog my pores and gouge out my eyes and fill the crevices with gray nothingness,

Continue reading To unfinished stories;

Gut Decisions

An assortment of pickled vegetables for making Bloody Marys.
An assortment of pickled vegetables for making Bloody Marys.

Much like good bacteria lying dormant in my gastrointestinal system for lack of food to revive it, I believe the fermentation bug has always been with me, passed down through the mists of time from one person to another, waiting for a reason to revive.

Having been raised in Europe, where naturally fermented foods like yogurt and cheese were not just staples but everyday delights, I grew up with a taste for strongly flavored, potent and sour things.

The bluer the cheese, the better. The more sour the yogurt, the better.

My mom was making kombucha in the 80s and 90s, long before it became a household name. My grandmothers made pickles and sauerkraut that sat in jars on shelves for us to consume throughout the long winters.

Continue reading Gut Decisions

A failure of words

journal_txI’m generally a pretty open person.

I like to live my life out loud.

There is a lot of freedom in sharing yourself and your experiences with other people. In fact, it’s highly recommended as a type of therapy.

Sometimes, though, we go through these particular cycles in life where you have to draw back into yourself because of social mores, laws, the balance of risks and rewards for a particular action.  Continue reading A failure of words

10 Flooding Photos from Houston that look like the apocalypse

Continue reading 10 Flooding Photos from Houston that look like the apocalypse

Getting off auto pilot

I love that feeling of turning onto a road I’ve never driven before. That moment when the familiar gives way to the unknown.
When your eyes fill up with brand-new views, and you have to work harder for every moment.
There is no auto pilot here.
When pulling off Highway 90 onto 18 in Madison, you can feel the transition more than just the four and five lines giving way to two lanes. You can feel it in the increasing number of pickup trucks, combines, clotheslines, Chevy Caprice police cruisers and supper clubs.

Continue reading Getting off auto pilot

The Tin Man seeks a heart

Tin Man
Tin Man

I read a story this week about a woman who moved to Portland, Oregon from New York city and found herself incredibly lonely. Like dangerously lonely.

The better part of my life has been spent pursuing the opposite of loneliness. One of the reasons I moved to Chicago was because I believed that a city with eight million people would be the antidote to loneliness.

At first it is.

You’re surrounded by the cacophony of this human hive. It fairly roars with the constant sound of movement. You can’t look around and not see humans walking somewhere quickly. Nobody meanders in Chicago.

Continue reading The Tin Man seeks a heart

An alternate universe in each of my sons

The 303 train from Chicago to Blue Island broke down last night, leaving me stranded in Chicago waiting for a later train.

Unfortunately, that meant I’d miss my son’s track meet.

He sent me this text just as my train pulled up to the Vermont Street stop where I park my car.

Carson RunsWhat’s unique about this text, is that it stems from a conversation we had last night while sitting around a small table at Chipotle.

It’s been a long two-weeks of sickness around our house, with everyone dealing with a combination of allergies and head colds, with a little strep throat thrown in for good measure. We needed to buy Carson a pair of running shoes for his track meet on Friday, so I made an executive decision to eat out, which is rare for us.

Continue reading An alternate universe in each of my sons

"THE WORLD BREAKS EVERYONE, AND AFTERWARD, SOME ARE STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES." – HEMINGWAY