Category Archives: Summer

#augustbreak2013 Day Three


When I checked the prompt for today, I knew exactly which picture I wanted to share. Last week, when I was visiting my aunt at Gleneden Beach on the Oregon Coast, we walked down to the ocean from her house and next to the beach access path, someone had left their bikes. The people were obviously somewhere down on the sand, and the bikes waited for them to return, resting on a splash of yellow flowers. Something about that scene stopped me, made me want a picture of it, captured so perfectly for me what summer is like.

Then this morning, as I was sitting at my desk writing, I paused and looked up, noticing all the yellow around me — the Sharpie highlighter I use to mark the date of each entry in my journal (it makes it easier to find a specific one when I’m searching for something), the yellow edge on the plastic bag containing the shells and agates I collected on that same walk on the beach last week, the gold of the inside of the cover of the Pema Chödrön book I’m reading, and the yellow sun my pen pal Kerilyn Russo doodled on the back of the letter she just sent me.


August Break: Day 20

Sam has been feeling a bit left out, since it seems like all I think about, all I talk and blog about lately is Dexter.

Every summer, Sam turns from an entirely black dog to a mix of black and red. It’s the weirdest thing, like he gets highlights from being out in the sun. It’s the one time of year you can really see the German Shepherd in him, whereas the rest of the year, he’s all Lab and Border Collie.

August Break: Day Three

Time to make the donuts.

Even though my contract for my nine months of paid work with Colorado State University doesn’t officially begin until August 15th, summer vacation is over. I went in for a half a day last week, and yesterday for a meeting. Today is the Administrative Professional Council’s annual retreat, and yesterday I got word that the thing that typically starts my year, my first official project, is being sent to me on Monday (and it’s the kind of thing that needs done asap). I also need to put together my syllabus for my Writing for the Web class, and the week after next is our Graduate Teaching Assistantship training, various other meetings, and another training workshop I’m helping to facilitate, so time to make the donuts.

This is what my writing desk looks like this morning. It’s strange, this constant moving between my creative self-directed work and my paid work. I have to admit, I would have loved to stay in summer a little bit longer, and I should warn anyone I encounter at work in the next few weeks: I still have summer brain.

Leaving Home, Going Home

They say that home is where the heart is. I would agree with this, but the problem for me is half my heart lives in Oregon and the other in Colorado, with my body shuttling between the two. And yet, I don’t ever feel like I am living with half a heart, or carrying the ghost of another half, more like I have two full hearts residing in two different locations, but somehow still connected, like twins who can feel each others pain, sense what the other is experiencing.

This morning I discovered that other than the first day of July, when I correctly wrote “7-1-12” in my journal, I’ve been dating every entry with a “6” and thus giving myself a whole extra month of June. With the weather here at the coast never getting much warmer than mid-60s, you could almost believe in two Junes.

Cape Foulweather

But now it’s time to go back, to temperatures in the high 90s, to a place that was on fire when we left and is now in the thick of sadness, confusion, and anger brought on by another kind of tragedy. Yesterday, all I wanted to do was watch HGTV and sleep, which is rare. I hardly ever watch that much TV anymore–when I am “sick” maybe (too depressed and tired to get dressed and leave the house, barely able to get out of bed), but I haven’t been that for a long time now. This post from Jennifer Louden helped yesterday, “Ways to Channel Fear and Sadness,” reminded me of what I already know to be true. She ends the post with this: “We are human and fragile and afraid – together.  Never alone, my friend, never alone.”

Later in the day, I even found myself smiling a little.

There are a lot of lasts today: last full day at the beach, last sleep in this house, last farmer’s market, last serving of marionberry cobbler (*sob*). Walking on the beach this morning, talking about how this last month went by so fast (the kind of talk that always reminds me of this post on A Design So Vast, where Lindsey’s daughter says to her “When you’re in them, days take a long time.  But then when you look back they went really fast”–brilliant, and exactly…), I asked Eric “how do you get your life to slow down?”

Farmer’s Market this morning in Newport, our last one

Eric answered: less internet, less tv, less feeling like you have to be “on,” checking in and connected. I know from practice that slowing down is about relaxing into the moment, remaining present, surrendering, no judgement or rejection, no plans or control or even hope. Let go. Give up your agenda. Pay attention. Breathe. It’s simple, but we make it so hard.

South Beach, south of Newport, where we walked/ran this morning while being chased by 100 mosquitoes trying to eat us

Much love to you, kind and gentle reader. I have a post for tomorrow, but won’t be doing a Something Good list this week, as we’ll be on the road to Colorado, moving from this home to that one.

Things I Forgot about Oregon in the Summer

  • I forgot: The utter glory, the sheer magic of berry season. The full measure of deliciousness and wonder to be found in Marionberries, farm fresh blueberries and raspberries and strawberries, as well as farmer’s market cucumbers and lettuce and tomatoes, real maple bars, and seafood fresh from the Pacific.
  • I forgot: That giant, lush roses and daisies and sweet peas and hollyhocks grow wild in the ditches along the side of the road, and in some places, the trees are so thick you can’t see through them.
  • I forgot: There are some trees that are so green they are almost black.
  • I forgot: That nothing here ever dries completely, that it’s either soaked, soggy, wet, or damp. I forgot mud and mold and moss.
  • I forgot: Every summer has its very own soundtrack. This summer it’s Beach House Radio on the TuneIn Radio app. It’s perfect, “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air,” (Groove Armada, At The River).
  • I forgot: Even when you have tons of good food available, you don’t have to eat it all at once, don’t have to eat until or unless you are hungry. There is enough, enough time, enough goodness. You can wait, or you can eat–either way you can relax into the sweetness of enough.
  • I forgot: If you drive HWY 22, you will get stuck in traffic caused by massive farm equipment driving slowly down the road towards the next field.
  • I forgot: The gray sky and rain will make me feel terrible, down and depressed and tired, even this near the beach.
  • I forgot: This close to the ocean, it’s like there is a giant white noise machine running 24 hours a day, and it’s wonderful.
  • I forgot: I never tire of walking on the beach, the smell and the sound and the shape of it. This space, this place is precious.
  • I forgot: On some days, it’s so foggy that you can’t see the ocean, even if you are right next to it.
  • I forgot: In Waldport, owning a weed-eater is more important than owning a lawn mower.
  • I forgot: Sometimes driving to the store to buy groceries or taking a shower is the only time you’ll have alone, so take advantage of it.
  • I forgot: How much I like the people I love, how much I enjoy their company, and how much I miss them when we are apart. It is absolutely a survival technique to forget this, because if I felt the entire measure of how sad I was to be separated from them, I’d fall down and never want to get back up.

    Me and my brother (who I adore).

  • I forgot: It’s more fun to remember stuff with other people who remember the same things, even if your memory of it isn’t exactly the same.
  • I forgot: No matter how long or how well you know someone, you still don’t know everything.
  • I forgot: That I am never really ready to go home, because this is home too.

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from jamie’s post

What do you wish for this summer?

My biggest wish for this summer is that the High Park Fire will be 100% contained, controlled, stopped, extinguished. That the fire fighters will stay safe, that no more homes will burn, no more harm will be done, and no more fires will start this summer.

That Eric and I and our two boys have a safe trip to Oregon, and then back to Colorado. That our drive is smooth, easy, and without issue or complication, that the dogs stay cool and comfortable, and we arrive in Oregon (and then Colorado) with little effort or suffering. And that our Big Rig functions as a vehicle of love and light that protects everyone we pass or follow or meet along the way. That anyone else traveling in this same time frame is also safe.

driftwood beach, where we’ll be walking in just a few days

That I practice mindfulness and gratitude, experience rest and play and joy while we are in Oregon. I need the rest, and I want to connect wholeheartedly to the joy of the present moment and sink into it fully.

hiking two years ago at cape perpetua, on the oregon coast

That I have a good experience at the World Domination Summit. That I don’t freak out, I don’t push or bully myself to do too much, I don’t try too hard, don’t sink into feeling unworthy or afraid that I’m missing something, that I remain safe and well, and that I get to, in a kind and gentle way, meet the people on the list I carry in my heart and tell them to their faces “thank you and I adore you.” That I can have confidence, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment” (Susan Piver).

Happy, comfortable, safe beach dogs.

Naps, eating seafood, reading, writing, yoga, meditation, walks on the beach, hiking, meeting new friends, long conversations about nothing and everything, laughter, love, love, love.

where the forest meets the sea

And this, from Mary Oliver (shared here this morning), this is what I wish, not just for summer, but for my life. And for you as well, kind and gentle reader. Happy first day of summer and much love to you. May you have everything you wish for this summer as well.

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?