Tuesday, June 29, 2010


   Being away has its charms.  We're away from the hassles of the pump getting flooded and having to drive it two hours for repairs that weren't to be finished before we headed East.  We're away from taking walks that require vigilance looking out for rattlesnakes.  I keep Caesar on a leash when we walk now instead of letting him run so that he doesn't just jump on top of a snake waaaaay ahead of me.  Bo stays a little closer to when I have Caesar on a leash. (the rhythm of that -- Caesar on a leash -- reminds me of the Minnesota State Fair's motto of everything on a stick:  chocolate on a stick, deep fried butter on a stick...ok, maybe it's just me).  We're also away from the routines:  writing, exercising, paying bills, handling maintenance issues of relationships and living.  Being away introduces us to new people, events, listening to others talk about their lives, seeing family, being reminded of my parents and sister no longer on this earth.  And feeling good about cousins telling me I remind them of my mother.  There might have been a time when I resented that but no more.  I loved my mom and all her roles even if she drove me crazy when I was growing up. Away means new routines with Jerry, my brother and his family (walking through cornfields instead of through sagebrush trails) and meeting a cousin I didn't know I had.
     Being away is also sad at times.  I miss the dogs.  I miss knowing where my stuff is (and not having it in a suitcase).  I miss the time I get up early and write even when I'm struggling with a scene or chapter. I miss the smell of pine and juniper and looking out at the deck with flowers I've planted to see if I can keep them alive.
     Today we'll be away from my brothers farm meeting my nephews half way between Red Wing and Mankato where Clayton attends school and is working.  The other nephew (who came to my event in St . Paul, bless him) will meet us too.  That'll be good.
     Being away for today means we will return.  And tomorrow, we'll return to Oregon refreshed I think for having been exposed to the gifts of being away and having time to appreciate what we leave behind in both places when we go away.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Not since 1948 have we seen river flows at this level.  20,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) on Sunday.  It's starting to go down now so we can begin to see the islands that have been underwater.  Fortunately it only seeped against the dikes and wasn't pushing into the fields.  I'm always amazed at the power of water.  I don't even like to take the dogs for a walk when the river is that high for fear they'll decide to jump in after a floating stick and the current will be too strong for them.  So I watch from a distance and am grateful that the flow is slowing.  A very wet spring for us.  But everything is green, green, green!  I don't know what these are but I love the color.  Nice.
     Back to work.