Friday, August 31, 2007

Where Is Doris?

Doris Anderson is no relation to me, but I am still concerned for her well-being. This 76-year old woman from nearby Sandy has been lost since last Friday (my birthday) in the Wallowa Mountains in the rugged terrain of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. One more in a long string of Lost Old Ladies who took a wrong turn and never came back.

Doris went along with her bow hunter husband on a weekend adventure although she was not known as an “outdoor” person. When their car became stuck (while driving off-road where they were not supposed to be), they decided to walk for help. Doris became tired and decided to go back to the car while her husband pressed on.

He was found disoriented and very cold the next day by other bow hunters. When they went back to the car, Doris was not there. Forty searchers from the Sheriff’s office and the military looked until last Tuesday when they had to call off the search due to limited resources. Soon after, search dog volunteer teams showed up, and along with hundreds of bow hunters, are continuing to look for Doris. No sign, no trace, no scent. Nothing.

Where is Doris?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Burning Man

Like Woodstock, Burning Man is one of those events where you were either there or you weren’t. It’s out in the desert now, in the far dusty reaches of Nevada and thousands of people drive hundreds of miles to camp and romp and watch a big pile of sticks burn down. Called a “bacchanalia” it is, indeed, a hippie event of unusual proportions.

It wasn’t always held in Nevada, though. It actually started at Baker Beach in San Francisco in the late 80s and I was there once at that venue. A memory that hangs in my mind is of one of those “last halcyon days” happenings that can’t be replicated. The Black Rock Burning Man has changed beyond recognition from the early days and made a somewhat disjointed transition to the 21st century, attracting unlike-minded folks.

This year’s event has been marked by a prank gone awry with The Man burned early and the perpetrator arrested for arson. So goes the evolution. See article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Far from the melee, I sit here in Wood Village and wonder at the sheer insanity of it all and ponder what impels the unwashed masses to participate in this temporary community. Self-expression, self-reliance, art and experiencing nature? Getting out of town for Labor Day? Whatever…people I know are there and people I know are not there. Enjoy wherever you are!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Autumn in August

Fall comes early here in the Columbia River Gorge, and, despite the calendar, there is a crisp end-of-summer feel to the air when I go out for the paper. The geese know and are already hurrying south, flying over the house at dawn and dusk. The cast of light changes and sunspots move across the carpet in a different pattern. Now, sitting with my second cup of coffee and a Baroque violin concerto playing on the stereo, it begins to dawn on me that summer is over and my “New Year” has begun.

The upcoming Labor Day weekend will make it official. Windy has been married for over two weeks, my 70th birthday has come and gone, and it is time to flip the calendar page. Classes at the college start soon and I will return to my part-time job from mid-September to mid-October. Perhaps that obligation will keep me from falling into the autumnal angst that torments me every year. There is something about back-to-school and change of schedules and setting the alarm again and putting in a new furnace filter makes me inexorably sad. Another year gone by. So quickly now the time disappears.

Already the stores have Halloween costumes and decorations up. Can Christmas be far behind? Holiday 2007 will be a joyous time for us as we await the arrival of Windy & Chris’ little girl. But the months from now until then will be an adjustment for me as Windy moves out and I feel once more the aloneness of living by myself.

This is the time of year I reflect on the past and set some goals for the upcoming months. Seven decades to look back on. Lots left to be done. Luckily I received two journals for my birthday and I will fill them with thoughts and dreams and memories. However, this morning I have to do some laundry and clean the cat box. The mundane chores keep me on track.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Total Eclipse of the Moon

West Coast dwellers got a treat early this morning as we could view the entire total lunar eclipse between 1:51 a.m. and 5:24 a.m. Well…the ones who woke up (or stayed up) got a treat. I was lucky enough to be able to watch the whole thing from the comfort of my own bed. My house just happens to be positioned so that the bedroom window has a great view of the western sky. The alarm went off at 1:50 a.m. and all I had to do was reach up and pull back the curtain and open my eyes.

For three and a half hours I dozed on and off, all snug under the covers, waking every few minutes to watch the shadow advance across the face of the full moon. Quite a change from past viewings of sky events that involved sitting outside and shivering, all wet with dew or snow depending on the season. Good thing, too, to be inside as the temp dropped into the low 40s during the night. Of course, the aftermath is that I am ready for a nap this afternoon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hot Enough For You?

Well…actually it’s not. We just didn’t have any hot weather this year and not many sunny days to call “summer.” Is this global warming? Hah! Whatever…the weather predictions for this week are temps “dipping into the 40s” and a rainy weekend. I’m still sleeping under two wool blankets every night and wearing socks with my sandals.

It seems incomprehensible to many who love cool weather, but I miss those Missouri summers. Nostalgia is easier from out here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m sure my friends who are, in fact, sweltering back there would just as soon need a blanket.

Labor Day looms and weather notwithstanding, it is the End of Summer. School starts and no more white shoes allowed. I optimistically had packed all my winter clothes in plastic tubs and put them in the storage unit. Every morning I am out there in my pajamas looking for some jeans or a sweater. This is all very disorienting for an old lady.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Sounds older than I feel on this my 70th birthday. As I say every year…it is nice to be on the right side of the grass! Counting my blessings as I sit here on this very typical Oregon day (dreary, gloomy, chilly and misting). Flowers from a friend brighten the room, the animals are all snoozing, nice classical music on the radio, and all’s well with my world.

As I enter the eighth decade of my time on this planet, I am blessed with good health, a loving family, a pleasant home, a fun part-time job, great pets, a variety of activities with nice people, and a car that runs. Can’t ask for more.

As I do every year, I will spend the day looking back at the past year and making some plans for the year ahead. Possibly a little travel (California and Missouri), time with family and my new granddaughter, knitting, quilting, reading, hiking, and enjoying life. Nothing too ambitious.

Tonight I will turn on the party lights, burn some incense and candles, and listen to the CD a friend gave me. Tomorrow the kids will assemble at Scott’s for the family celebration. A nice weekend is in store.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Camping at Kingfisher

Poking at the dying embers of my campfire brings back dying memories of my time on Wild Pig Ridge and at Terrapin Station. Other bonfires…other times of lonliness. Drifting into the past now…another lifetime ago. It’s chilly here among these towering pines…no sun to warm my back. The smell of the forest intoxicates me. I’ve been too long away from just sitting in nature.

When I first bought the property on Wild Pig Ridge, there was an old mud floor shanty cabin there, falling sideways and caving in upon itself. Once home to the resident hippie pot farmer, it was no longer remotely habitable although there were still wire coat hangers in what passed for the closet. One hot Tehama County 4th of July my son Scott and I tore it down. This resulted in a towering pile of decaying lumber higher than my head. Throughout the long, lonely winter I spent up there, I burned those rotten old boards a few at a time in blazing bonfires that lit The Ridge for miles around. Sitting on my plank bench, poking at the fire with a long steel pole, I did a lot of musing and drifting through memories. Often I sat, with Babe at my side, and watched the dying embers as daylight faded and night came on and darkness swallowed us up. We would carry the warmth of the fire with us as we trudged back up the hill to our little trailer and settled in for a long cold night.

That was 1994-95 and I lived without bonfires for quite awhile after that. Then in 2001 I moved to Osceola and built a fire pit in the back corner of Terrapin Station. A torn down garage (that had been painted pink!) provided the first stack of wood to be burned. Rotting, decaying and full of bugs, it was a gloves and arms-length activity. Later the yard and all its bountiful growth was the chief supplier of fuel for the many fires I lit on that hill where I spent four happy years. My new pup Princess Dark Star and I would watch the flames rise and hear the sap snap and feel the same warmth I felt on The Ridge. All seasons I was out there burning. The Bonfire of Beltane on the first of May, the Hunter’s Moon flames in the fall. Sweating it out in the summer and shivering if I got out of the circle of heat in the winter. Mostly I remember sitting beside the fire on those starlit nights watching dying embers glow and feeling a sense of peace and tranquility unlike any other time in my life.

Now I live in an urban area where burning is prohibited and even indoor fireplaces are looked at askance by environmentalists. It takes a camping trip into the National Forest to be able to build a fire to sit by and reminisce and remember other times and places. And to dream.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Roth

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It is my great pleasure to announce
that my beautiful daughter,
Winifred Lora Graham,
was married to
Christopher Dean Roth
on August 12, 2007
at 2:00 p.m.
at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
in Portland, Oregon.

Windy and Chris Roth are at home at
3704 SE Long Street, Portland, OR 97202.

For all my friends who came to be here for the ceremony,
and all who couldn’t come but sent good wishes,
I am deeply grateful.
This was a very special day in my life.