Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In the summer, there are three things I need to accomplish to feel that all is as it should be:

1. Berry picking at Sauvie Island Farms. Despite getting the first bee sting I've had since I was 5, the day was gorgeous, the berries plentiful and I was surprisingly tickled with the new added feature of a wagon ride out to the fields and back. It was driven by this young lad with what has to be one of the sweeter summer jobs for a teenager–driving a tractor around and around while listening to your ipod.

2. Half an hour in from the coast sits my favorite camping spot. Last year we got shut out and had to settle for a day trip to the swimming hole, but this year there was plenty of space. The water wasn't too cold, though the chilly breeze let us dip no deeper than our waists. Instead we watched salamanders crawl among the seaweed, watched hawks circle the sky. We admired the giant evergreens, and lush, mossy campsites kept in tidy order by an inmate with what has to be one of the sweeter prisoner work gigs - a shovel for ash, a pair of clippers to trim back the foliage creeping onto the paths and the tall, bright forest all around you.

3. Tin House runs a week-long workshop every July and every July I hop on my bike and savor what becomes a well-worn path out to Reed College to sit in on lectures and readings. This year, my favorite bit of advice came from Steve Almond's lecture about the particular torture that is the life of a writer. It is this: If you can find some more efficient form of rescue, I recommend you do so.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Hello summer

Finally, it's hot. Say what you will about leaping from 55 to 95 or how it makes you lethargic or how you have to rush from one air conditioned container to the next...I love it. I'm in love with it. I'm lovin' all up on it. After so many months of cool wetness, this all-encompassing, full bore blaze is like a long hot kiss.

I love the long days and the way the heat builds across the hours. This is the brief time of year when direct sunlight actually flirts with my bedroom, licking the window sill and curtains just before it drifts behind the neighbor's house. The view is less than stellar–a wobbly red fence, the meeting point of two garage roofs and beyond the giant swaying trees–but for a few minutes, the curtain glows and billows like a jellyfish. The breeze stirs the heat without distilling it, like in a hot bath made hotter by the sway of a knee.

Love it, I say. It won't be here long.