Jefferson Monthly

Jefferson Almanac
10:12 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Voice

“We are at the threshold. We are going to see change.

If we can create the vision in our heart, it will spread.

As women of wisdom, we cannot be divided. As bringers

of light we have no choice but to join together.”

—Agnes Baker Pilgrim

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Jefferson Almanac
8:42 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Connections

In October of the year following my divorce I moved three blocks away from my children’s father. I hadn’t worked outside the home for almost six years, my children were five and three, and I couldn’t afford the mortgage payment on our family home. I was having trouble finding an apartment with no work history and I was in graduate school at the time, still parenting during the days, and despairing as to how I would add a job into the equation.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:51 am
Tue February 1, 2011

A Long Slog Through The Gender Jungle

One autumn night in Ashland, half a dozen people rent the Community Center and hold a forum where anyone can take the mic and talk about that old question: What Do Women Want?  And What Do Men Want?  

I purposely don’t take notes -  I just want to recall this as a finger painting of emotions, longings, anger, tears, hope, blame, even one young lady jumping up and down with frantic joy, exuding that we have to get in touch with the nature spirits and doing a cartwheel at the end.  Not to make fun of her; I got it.  That was as good an answer as any.  Been there.  I think.

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Jefferson Almanac
8:38 am
Tue February 1, 2011

You Reap What You Sow

Last January, between storms, I sat in my soggy yard dividing iris rhizomes. Yeah I know I should’ve done this last fall, but the kind of gardener I am precludes adherence to any strict dogma, dictum or rules. My motto: “get it planted and it will bloom...eventually.”

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Jefferson Almanac
1:15 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

The Importance Of Being Playful

I am a refrigerator decorator. Oh yes you might think, as you imagine the door covered in orderly fashion with photos of family, friends, good time memories…but this is not what I mean. On my fridge door there are no family pictures (except one of a dear deceased cat, Elvis, whose holding magnet is a red crown), no sentimental cards, doodles or to do lists.

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Jefferson Almanac
2:02 pm
Mon November 1, 2010

What Happens Next? A Dialogue In Verse

We gathered in the well-lit room

Poured wine, settled back to chart

Our way around the coming doom

We all had brought our favored facts:

The end of oil, the ocean’s rise

Growing deserts and glacier’s cracks

We knew the numbers, and the score

Had each summed up our carbon feet

And all believed that less is more

But still we held on tight to hope

Trusted in our lifelong luck

Even atop this slippery slope

So one by one we spoke our dreams

The engineer went first and sang

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Jefferson Almanac
11:36 am
Fri October 1, 2010

Wild Carrot

“What will you do with your one wild and precious life?  —Mary Oliver

On this night the rain has come, and early autumn blows the petals from the sunflowers. Maybe by the time this writing is published we will have experienced that brief return to summer so blessedly common in Oregon.  Maybe not.  And so, I think of endings.  TS Eliot says in my beginning is my end, and Albert Goldbarth in his wildly beautiful essay “After Yitzel”, says nothing ever really ends, or if it does end then the impulse is to make it again.

To redo, do over, re-nova. 

Again.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:55 am
Wed September 1, 2010

Thanksgiving

Our son’s truck was stolen last fall.  He and his sister live together in Eureka and attend College of the Redwoods. They both have jobs and juggle classes, work and social lives. Losing the truck put a crimp in their style, a hitch in their giddy-up not to mention it was a real buzz kill.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:46 am
Sun August 1, 2010

A Portable Blessing

“I have traveled a great deal in Concord.”  —Thoreau

This is my Concord, this Ashland and I have traveled a great deal in it and found it my balm, my guru, my god-infested Athens, my healer, my Renaissance painting (as good as any Botticelli). And though I’ve traveled the world, much of it hitchhiking or hopping trains, ever eager to see new vistas, it’s all toned down in past years and I find it all under my feet and I don’t want to leave, even for a day.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:37 am
Thu July 1, 2010

Buddy

The end began on a dark, icy night in February. I came home about 10:30 to find my dear Buddy lying on the bed, his favorite spot to be sure, but he always greeted me at the door when I came home. Within a half an hour he felt cold and seemed almost comatose as I frantically called the emergency doctor.  He was 45 minutes away but would come to my house in what seemed like the opposite end of the world to lift my 55 pound dog into my car and guide me to the clinic. I wasn’t sure if Buddy would live. In fact, I felt he was dying.

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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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Jefferson Almanac
9:56 am
Thu April 1, 2010

The End Of Forever

One of the highlights of the past year on television was Ken Burns’ masterful history of American conservation in his PBS series “The National Parks – America’s Best Idea.”  As Burns eloquently demonstrated, preservation is at the heart of our conservation ethic.  And not, of course, preservation merely for a year or a decade or a century.  No, preservation is to be “for future generations,” “for posterity,” – that is, forever.

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Jefferson Almanac
8:53 am
Mon March 1, 2010

Wild Child: Somewhere In The Evans Valley I Left My Heart

Southern Oregon is the place I am always attempting to return to, the landscape of my dreams, the one that fills me with a longing that spills out when I reach that final stretch of I-5, what my children call “The Tallest Mountain,” Sexton Summit, and we begin our descent into the land I love.

I still call it home, even after all these years away.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:49 am
Mon February 1, 2010

There's Enough? Isn't There?

A lot of indexes indicate the recession is over. The economy is sort of growing again. At the same time, many voices from the green/sustainable realm say, excuse me but if it all keeps growing, it ain’t sustainable. Therefore what is good for growth is bad for the planet and our sustained survival, at least with our customary comforts.

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Jefferson Almanac
8:39 am
Mon February 1, 2010

No Child’s Imagination Left Behind

Memories of school days stay with us our whole lives.  What do you remember about your years in school?  Do you remember the spelling tests, the multiplication worksheets, the maps of the thirteen original colonies?  Do you fondly recall the weeks of filling in answer bubbles for state examinations or slogging through phoneme awareness flash cards?

Probably not.

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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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Jefferson Almanac
10:38 am
Fri January 1, 2010

Moon Promenade

A bright light shining directly through the window awakens me. Sleepy and startled I blink at the illumination covering the comforter I’m curled under. Although the colors are washed out, I can actually see the pattern of the flowers on it. It takes me a few seconds before I realize that it is not an unnatural light, but the dazzling light of the December full moon. I breathe in wonder at this spotlight from 238,854 thousand miles away and how it comes in through my window at the precise angle to bathe me.

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