Jefferson Monthly

Jefferson Almanac
10:32 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Oregon, An Optimal Place For Liking Oneself

I have a secret.  I want to share it.  In fact, I kind of want to brag about it.  Actually, it’s not bragging, like look at me, I’m so cool.  My secret is that many decades ago, after a fairly tedious, isolated childhood, I grew up, got the hell out of Lansing, Michigan and rather rapidly discovered I like myself and life.  A lot.  It took a few years to let go of the reel-to-reel head tapes, that inner voice that’s always asking you “what’s broke?” and how can you fix it and “do better!” fer the love of Pete. 

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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
10:14 am
Sun April 1, 2012

Time Depth Perception

Remember that kid from elementary school, the one with the terrible depth perception?  That kid was me.  I fell down stairs, missed the next rung on the monkey bars, and could be counted on to drop the easiest pop fly.  I eventually grew out of that, and these days my depth perception is probably as good as the next guy.  My spatial depth perception, that is.  On the other hand, my ability to judge and react to the depths of time remains terrible – just like everyone else’s. 

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Jefferson Almanac
8:35 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Beginner's Class

Years ago on our son’s twelfth birthday, he wanted to invite some friends to the Skateboard Park in Ashland. He had never been there before, and technically, he didn’t know how to “board” yet. His father, recalling his own experience of being an over-enthusiastic boy, suggested that maybe the whole family should check it out first to see if it was something he really wanted to do. ..in front of strangers. As often happens with exuberant youth, Henry seemed relieved to have his dream party reined in a bit. We drove to Ashland and found the park.

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Jefferson Almanac
10:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Piecing It Together

As 2011 accelerated toward closing I looked back over the year and felt ragged. Like a picket fence in need of repair and new paint — rustic and unpolished. True, there were accomplishments. I had completed the coursework for my doctorate and via an intense diet was on my way back to fighting weight. But the constancy of doubt, instability and the world’s woes loomed large. It seemed that for every good and decent thing, there was more difficulty.

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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
2:10 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Survival Of The Worthless

I recently flew from southern Oregon to Denver, giving me the opportunity to reflect on the fate of western landscapes.  As we took off from the Medford airport, it was easy to see how the neat pear orchards and vineyards of my compact valley are increasingly hemmed in by subdivisions.  But we quickly left that view behind, as we passed over the large-scale patchwork of industrial forestry in the Cascades.  A few minutes more, and we were above the Klamath Basin, one of the most thoroughly engineered drainages in the west, the vast rectangular impoundments filled here with water, there with

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Jefferson Almanac
11:56 am
Sat October 1, 2011

Praying For Nature To Behave Better

This column is called “Jefferson Almanac” and in reality there is no state of Jefferson. After a bit of research, I’ve discovered that no one really knows where the word almanac came from. It was first used in England 800 years ago for a document foretelling weather, seasons, tides, moons, sunrises and sunsets, so as to help farmers, hunters and fishermen do their work.

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Recordings
3:30 pm
Sun September 25, 2011

Kids & Classical Music: The Absolutely Totally Completely Unscientific JPR Poll

The Genesis Of The Idea:

A while back I read about an informal poll conducted by Britain’s Classic FM that piqued my interest. They asked kids to let them know who their favorite classical composers were. I’ll share the top ten with you in a moment. I thought it might be fun to conduct our own completely unscientific research to see what kids in the JPR listening area prefer, compared to those across the Atlantic.

How We Conducted Our Unscientific Poll:

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Jefferson Almanac
10:57 am
Thu September 1, 2011

The Razor's Edge

Sandy was in her mid-eighties when she died last May. She was a soft radiance of light in the time I knew her. She was elegance, even in infirmity; not a trait many can pull off authentically. She favored bright colors over the fashion-safe palette of mauves and dusty rose pinks. And she was unfailingly kind and patient, even with those she disagreed with. She could—as so many say and so many cannot do—”disagree without being disagreeable.”  She was a world traveler who made a pleasant, cozy home in Etna, and filled it with art, music, books and many friends.

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