God Is Here

When I last travelled the desert, I passed this one empty house.  It was along a flat stretch of highway.  A straight away nearly twelve miles long. Springtime was busting out.  The desert filling with promise. Green spotted the hills and I could see dots of little yellow flowers. And rain.  Rain was loving the…

Fire

The plume rises before us.  White and billowy.  We watch from across the valley. Then walk back to our camp by the lake.  The beautiful alpine lake snug against steep cliffs – where remnants of snow cling to rocks on the far side. It is the place we pick to monitor the fire’s behavior.  To…

Jellyfish

“Do it again,”  the kids yell.  They crowd around as my husband leans over the side of the dock and traces his hand through the water.  Flashes of green spark in the water.  We all bend toward the water and splash our fingers, making trails of color in the dark. “Bioluminescence,” my husband says and…

After the Snowy Day

When they wake in the morning the fire has died and frost covers the window panes. New snow  blankets the ground outside.  The woman and her husband and the boy push themselves out of bed. The man makes a fire while she boils water for breakfast.  They drink coffee and hot chocolate, wrapping their hands around…

Grouse

It’s the hard business of being that gets to me.  That’s what I’m thinking.  I’m thinking about the way you get worn down.   The day in and out of work.  Stumbling at the end of a day in the woods, or no woods, the ones cut down and me thrashing through the dog hair…

Apples

I found the bear one fall day as clouds slouched up the valley, pushed by an incoming storm.  Crows flapped in the alders and before I could reason the oddness of so many, the dog was off and tearing into whatever was there below the trees. I shouldn’t say  I found the bear.  I’d already heard rumors…

Pretend you are Prairie

Let’s do it.  Pretend. Pretend  the wind is blowing or the grasses are bending. Maybe clouds swirl  or it’s hot and the sun bears down.  Pretend whatever you want.  Pretend you’re prairie if you want. Pretend you have  roots and blooms of yellow or blue. Pretend beetles crawl in the dirt of you.  Pretend you are…

Beaver Lake

One morning, not so long ago, my husband and I walked together.  We followed a muddy wisp of a trail along the river to a beaver pond, or lake, as it’s called, Beaver Lake. The sun shone in our eyes and made the frost on the trees glint. We were chilled at first but the…

The Wolf

I have never seen a wolf.   Not in the wild.  My dad did.  Once.  Up north, as they say, in the boundary waters.   Early morning and we kids were all asleep in the tent when he woke to cook trout caught the night before. And to smoke cigarettes.   There he was on the rocks by…

Finding The Trail

We circle as I point down at the trees.  There, I say, is the spot.  I see a creek and a patch of alder.  It is the first patch of alder beyond the bridge site. The opening I saw on the aerial photos back in the Forest Service office, the place on the map where…

Three Steps and Two Blinks of an Eye

The cottonwoods stand out now,  making the difference between the light green of the alder and billowy yellow of the cottonwood leaves obvious. We see this now as we scramble up the mossy rocks that lead to the bluffs overlooking the Stillaguamish River valley. I hold tight to my son’s hand, tell him to stay…

Forecast

By CS Austin (Guest Blogger) The young man from Syria in the camel colored coat noted drily, “Americans always talk about the weather.” We were on the train, seated in fours in the dining car. He had found Portland unappealing, with its flourishing homeless population and only gas station jobs on offer for an electrical…