Diana Coogle

Jefferson Monthly Contributor

For more than twenty years as a JPR commentator, Diana Coogle wrote about living in the Siskiyou Mountains without electricity. Three years ago she built a new house on the same mountainside and now lives with a washing machine, refrigerator, and other common electrical devices (though she still heats with wood). Convenience, she says, is not such a bad word, after all, and there is still plenty to write about. She recently wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on Old English poetry and is currently working on a paintings-and-essays book with Applegate artist Barbara Kostal. Her first book of collected commentaries (Fire from the Dragon’s Tongue, followed by Living with All My Senses: 25 Years of Life on the Mountain and An Explosion of Stars) was an Oregon Book Award finalist. Her latest book, co-authored with Janeen Sathre, is Favorite Hikes of the Applegate: A Trail Guide with Stories and Histories.

Jefferson Almanac
10:25 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Cheeses, Chocolates, And Wildflowers

Is the road to love paved with Rogue River Blue?

Like the Syrah grape leaves that wrap a wheel of Rogue River Blue cheese, our taste buds, leaf-shaped on the tongue, wrap around the cheese as we put it in our mouths. Then, like the judges at the 2012 World Cheese Awards, who rated Rogue River Blue one of the sixteen best cheeses in the world, we might say we could “sense the cows and the grass in the cheese.” One of the best tastes my tongue ever wrapped around was fresh goat’s milk in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area, where I met a young couple backpacking with their herd of goats. I emptied my water bottle so they could fill it with milk, the freshest, most delicious milk I have ever tasted. I could sense in it the wildflowers and shrubs of the Trinities.

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Jefferson Almanac
1:18 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Taking The Frenzy Out Of Christmas

In search for a simple Christmas.

There are those who love Christmas. I am one of them. I love the Christmas tree with its special ornaments, the evergreen-scented wreaths, the bells, the carols, the lights. I love making pies and cookies, making presents, wrapping presents, and giving (and, yes, receiving) presents. It is all so much fun.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:23 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Wilderness Godmother

While backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, my hiking partner and I came to a broad river crossing with thigh-deep water. With hardly a second thought, always confident in water, I took off my boots, resecured the belt of my pack, and started across.

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Jefferson Almanac
1:17 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Meeting Scrooge

I was walking through town the other day, humming the tune from the Little Drummer Boy and ticking off in my head the exciting list of things I had to do for Christmas, when I ran into Tom, Dick, and Mary Scrooge. “This could be a sour note in a merry day,” I thought, but stopped to say hello anyway because, after all, it is Christmas.

“Hello,” I said, “and merry Christmas!”

“I hate Christmas,” they said, as I had expected.

“How too bad,” I sympathized. “I love Christmas.”

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Jefferson Almanac
10:30 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Birds In The Cherry Tree

On one solitary, late-spring walk through a village in the south of France in 1964, I came upon a tall yellow brick wall around some private estate. Over the wall drooped the graceful arms of a cherry tree, well studded with doublets of dark red cherries dangling over my head like the original fruit of sin. I didn’t need a serpent to suggest I take eat. In a wink I had snatched a double handful out of the leafy green and azure sky and was walking again, popping forbidden fruit into my mouth. The cherries were darkly sweet, as rich as pudding, bursting with juice.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:28 am
Tue June 1, 2010

Moving Day

I know that some people move every few years, but I don’t know how they do it. How do they face that disruption of an old life, that chaos between living here and living there, again and again? It’s driving me batty.

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Media & Society
2:20 pm
Fri January 1, 2010

Page Turning

Computers are useful for keeping track of schedules, but I like beautiful, nature-photograph desk calendars. Last year’s was by Ansel Adams. Week after week I turned the page to another black and white photographic marvel — the grand foamy cloud of spray from Yosemite Falls, snow hummocks looking like powdered biscuits on a platter, the long curve of very white ice on a very black lake. Every turn of the page was a new delight.

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