The 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 growing 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.
I was listening to my son tell a story last night.
It’s the one where he gets arrested in Northwest China, along with a bunch of other young people and his grandparents, my mom and dad.
He loves to start with the line, “Oh, yeah, I got arrested in China.”
“What?” His younger brother asked, skeptically. “Why didn’t I hear this before?”
“Maybe because you run off to spend the weekends with your friends every chance you get,” his mother said, disapprovingly from her end of the dinner table.
That little interruption aside, Cole launched into the story, perhaps the sixth or seventh time I’ve heard it, but more likely approaching the 50th time he’s told it since he traveled to the remote region of China with his missionary grandparents last summer.
I was perusing the usual tabs this morning in an attempt to see how everyone’s day will be better than mine, (I’m moving today) and I came across an interesting article referencing a story I worked on many years ago as a reporter at The Oregonian.
After reading the sad story, I wanted to go find my original story, so I Googled Tim Akimoff, Oregon State Hospital, Urns.
In and of itself, that search is fairly tame. I learned not to search for things like Tim Akimoff, scarification or other such search terms that lead me down very depressing pathways filled with haters and trolls.
I don’t believe in writer’s block, but something happens in the spring. I can write a thousand words every day in winter, but when the sun comes out, I want to live it not tell about it.
Still, things happen every day. Lessons are learned, experiences are had. Some you catalogue out of a sense of duty, some are buried away for contemplation on a rainy day, and some are fleeting, like a cool breeze on a warm day.
This is why you write every day. Some of us have minds like vast containers capable of storing every imaginable thing. And some of us have minds like cluttered drawers, chalk full of the detritus of our travels and adventures.
My nightstand looks like this. I cannot cram the old drawers shut any longer. The bottom drawer is full of small things that remind me of long ago. There are marathon bibs and medals, an action figure I’ve always loved, a badge a friend gave me, papers and notebooks I save, even if there are just a few notes in them. The top drawer is full of newer memories, manila envelopes with old tax statements, a knife I earned on an outdoor adventure, some newspaper clips from my reporting days and a leather pouch with some favorite pipe tobacco in it.
Writing is like this. You file away the pieces of your experience in sentences and paragraphs for later reference so you don’t have to make up the details later on.
You write to capture all the in betweens, the intangibles leftover from the stuff in the drawers.
I this way, you have a more complete picture of your life or the life you’re trying to create.
The department of fish, wildlife and parks biologist parked his rig up along a small ridge in a remote part of northwest Montana and got out to address the reporter and photographer waiting for him.
“What we’re going to do today is try to relocate a small, 2.5 year-old male black bear to a prepared habitat where he will hopefully hibernate the rest of winter away and awake in the spring with no memories of the human food he was consuming,” the biologist said.
It’s cold in Chicago for the second time this January. A stark contrast from last Juneuary, our first (mild) winter in the Windy City.
By cold, I mean all that air that normally oscillates around the North Pole and makes it particularly uninhabitable, has wobbled out of its usual orbit and is swinging, seemingly at random, into latitudes not quite used to these temperatures.
Meanwhile, our old comrades in Alaska are reporting green lawns, buds on trees and spring-like temperatures during a particularly balmy winter.