Into the Desert: Steens Mountain

Mount Washington along the Santiam Pass

I sipped hot green tea as I drove over the Santiam Pass at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

The air was still night-cooled, and the tea felt good on my throat, raw as it was from so much smoke from a brutal summer of forest fires.

The familiar landscape of a pass I’ve driven maybe a hundred times gave way to the the suprising landscape of a big burn as I neared the top. The Whitewater fire had burned parts of the forest on either side of the road, and I noticed the mosaic pattern of the burn left swirls of green amidst the blackened earth.

Dropping down into the high desert, as I have called Central Oregon since I first visited there, is always exciting in the way it transitions from the deep green of the Cascades to the beige and sage of the high and dry country. Continue reading Into the Desert: Steens Mountain

A fledgling leaves the nest

He left for his final training run here in Oregon around 10:30 a.m. I teased him about the intense heat. It’s supposed to be 97 degrees today, a slight downturn from yesterday’s 101.

Last night I made him some sockeye salmon on the grill, and last week we went for a Father’s Day hike up to just one more of the many beautiful places here in Oregon.

Part of me wants all of these memories to stick with him through the next four years of college. So that he longs for this place like a small ache. Continue reading A fledgling leaves the nest

Sex-ism

I’m not a great feminist like I’m not a great father.

But I try.

I don’t like the word ally, even though I understand it and want to be what it implies.

What I am is male. A white male, in fact, living at the height of my species’ dominance and the pinnacle of my sexs’ power.

Entitlement isn’t a concept or a designation you either fall into or you don’t, if you’re white, male and living in America, you’re entitled.

Here I am, writing about myself. When what I intended to write about was women. Continue reading Sex-ism

Fork Stuck In The Road

I was musing about the collosal failure that was the AHCA. Not from the moment the Republicans pulled it yesterday, but from the beginning.

From the very first intention to defeat the ACA rather than  working to build something with their fellow Americans across the aisle.

And through a messy rollout, there were no overtures to improve it, just a lusty zeal to repeal, to strike back at a president they couldn’t afford to allow a signature policy victory to stand on.

Continue reading Fork Stuck In The Road

Papa

I’m not sure when I switched over to calling him Papa.

It was always Ken, my wife’s father. Before that, he was Ken, my girlfriend’s father.

When we got married, he had tears streaming down his heavily lined face. He was signing our marriage certificate, and he stopped, looked up and said, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son.”

And to this day, I have never felt anything less than a solid member of the Carpenter clan.

Continue reading Papa

Thoughts from a snowflake

I stopped by an old friend’s apartment to commiserate tonight and to wait out the hellish Portland traffic.

We drank a couple of Sticky Hands IPAs, and I relived some Facebook conversations for him, since he quit it a few weeks ago.

I’m a little envious of this and tell him so.

But he’s not unaware of what’s going on. He knows about the latest antics of our orange wannabe dictator. He’s aware that the Senate silenced  a female member while allowing her male colleagues to read the same words she attempted to.

Continue reading Thoughts from a snowflake

No, you can’t be neutral in a debate about your own humanity

When Lewis Wallace first showed up in the newsroom where I was the digital manager a few years ago, I had no idea how much I would learn from someone with very little journalism experience.

For many years, my horizons had been expanding beyond the fairly white-bread missionary world I was raised in. Oh, I knew many people from different cultural backgrounds, and, for a while, I considered myself to be well cultured. The problem was they all shared the same ideology.  Continue reading No, you can’t be neutral in a debate about your own humanity

January Roads

It’s easy to not like January. It’s bleak, it’s past the grand family holidays of December, it has 31 days, and it represents the coldest, hardest, deadest part of winter.

No flowers will bloom until late February, and the daylight, while remaining infinitisimally longer each day, is dulled by steel-grey skies in the long and relentless march to Spring.

I made a playlist for myself but with her in mind. She likes to sing in the car, so I picked every other song to be one she could sing along to.

Continue reading January Roads

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