Jefferson Monthly

Features and columns published in the Jefferson Monthly.

Moving Day

Jun 1, 2010

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.

The End Of Forever

Apr 1, 2010

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.

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.

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.

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.

Page Turning

Jan 1, 2010

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.

Moon Promenade

Jan 1, 2010

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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