Recently I've had the lowest lows I've felt in years. Feelings of loss, change, and that nothing matters have hung over me. I can only describe this as a flat nothingness, and it has taken me down these past few weeks. I know there are a zillion things more important than my feelings, and I'm not completely comfortable sharing, but something about admitting it here helps. It's the truth of where I've been lately. 

In recent days I've begun to feel far better, and for that I am so grateful. I decided to check back in here today after taking a hike and a few pictures at Silver Falls and feeling a spark again. The leaves hadn't turned as much as usual by this time of year, a couple of the waterfalls were completely dry, and it was so warm it felt wrong, but there's nothing that affects the spirit like a walk in the wild, and I came away heart-soothed, remembering that there is so much beauty in this world and much to be thankful for. My walking practice fell off some over these last low weeks, but this week I'm getting back to this daily ritual with the enthusiasm I had before. What better medicine is there, after all, than getting outside and accepting all the gifts that nature and movement offer body, mind, and soul?

slow notes:  

It hasn't felt very autumnal with our 85-degree weather, but I'm in nest mode anyway, and one aspect of that is making stews. I keep going back to The First Mess:

Read recently:  

I find I'm reading more and more poetry. I don't know much about what makes an academically good poem, but I do know how certain poems feel - like they've given that twisting tornado in my chest words.  

Currently on my table are some Native Nations anthologies (and books of native art, which is really poetry, too), and I am in love with Tom Hirons' new poem, A Party For the Broken. I don't see it on his website yet but you can read it on Instagram, @bearspeakstothestars. 

It begins:

"Tonight we will have a party 
Only for the broken pieces
Only the crooked and the blunt ones 
Are welcome tonight..." 

I think I'd feel at home there.

doe's dawn



My beloved mom died last month.  She had a big, generous, complicated heart that positively impacted so many lives, and I feel so lucky to have been a tiny star that she chose to be in her orbit.  I have so many feelings that I seem unable to express right now.  Perhaps with time I will, but for now I will keep most of them, and her, close to my (broken) heart.    

A few nights after she died, I dreamt that I was in the living room at my childhood home.  It was dawn.  I stood in front of the multiple tall windows that looked out over the back yard, the pasture, barn, and chicken house beyond.  I noticed that a doe was in the rhododendrons just outside, two spotted fawns at her side; she nuzzled them and looked into my eyes.  Just then I heard a rushing sound, looked up, and saw a huge flock of white birds descending.  They swooped and swirled, flying right up to the windows, emanating a warmth and love that wrapped around me like one of her hugs.  I woke up and smiled for the first time in days.  

Early last year I committed to getting outside to walk first thing in the morning.  There were a few days last summer I didn't make it due to unforeseen health issues, but I did more often than not until it became a sacred practice, even through winter (which I find more enjoyable than summer).  Mom wasn't really able to walk much the last few years of her life, and she often lamented that fact and how she wished she could get out and walk like she used to.  I've been feeling her with me in the mornings these last few weeks, and I know now that when I need to feel close to her all I have to do is get out and walk.  Every walk I take now is with her.   

slow notes:

A few books I've read and liked recently:  

The beastly temperatures of last week have given way to much more tolerable ones this week, albeit still quite warm.  My little garden loved the heat while it lasted; there are a couple of ripe sungold tomatoes to pick, the mystery squash plant is positively majestic in size, and the lettuce is bolting before we can eat it all.  My flower pots and baskets that thrived and cascaded last year have not done well this year, but that's okay.  It's been a very strange spring and summer so far and I think we have all done well with what we've been given, yes?  

When things happen or I feel overwhelmed, my first instinct is to withdraw.  I'm hoping that feeling goes away and I want to dip my toes into the wider world again soon, but for now I'm content just showing up here.  I've thought about closing this space, or starting a new one, as life feels so different than it did when I started writing here 12 years ago, but going through posts and pictures recently I realized there really is a continuum here that I don't want to break, at least not yet.  And so, onward.  

Sending out much love.  Until next time ~

frida & other earthly matters


I have loads of pictures to go through from hikes and other outings, but here's a few phone snaps from last weekend's trip to see the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism exhibit (and a few other collections) at Portland Art Museum.  My heart swelled with love for Portland as we drove through downtown, and going to the museum and seeing Frida's art and costumes in person made for a perfect day.   

I first went vegan 12 years ago with my sister and have been off and on with it in the years since.  I was raised vegetarian and have been *mostly* so my whole life, but I have had meat or fish on rare occasion in between.  However, with my cancer diagnosis, and as other earthly matters have been weighing more heavily, the idea of going vegan again has grown again in my heart until, after a few false starts, I finally recommitted.  I'm not going to be super strict if I'm visiting my family; I'm just going to do my best in the moment.  (I've also given up alcohol.  What can I say, I'm all or nothing.)  I'm not here to be pious, or judgmental, or to say that you should do it too.  I just really want to do this for my health, for the earth, and for the animals.  


I don't have much else to say right now.  I'm looking forward to seeing my mom, dad, twin sister, and brother this coming weekend.  Mom isn't doing well and we are going to surprise her with a visit at her new facility.  I hope it lifts her spirits.  She needs all the love we can give her right now. 

Until next time ~



Blue jacket, blue sweater, blue sleeping bag, blue eyes with thunder heads rolling over them.  I saw him folded on the sidewalk ahead as I crossed the street.  He said nothing, but those eyes silently pleaded as person after person walked past.  I got out a few dollars and then guiltily covered my expensive bag with my arms as I approached him.

I'll often stop (I don't care what the money is spent on, it's the moment of kindness and acknowledgment that matters), but I rarely exchange more than a couple of words. 

After I walked away, I heard him call out.  I went back and knelt down beside him this time.  Up close, I saw the child in his face.  I thought of his mother.  Does she know where he is?  Is she a safe haven for him?  He asked me why no one stops.  "Everyone just keeps walking, like I'm not even here."  Then, on the verge of tears, he asked, "Why is everyone so mean?  Why is everyone just so angry?"  A dozen reasons flashed through my mind, none of which I could bring myself to say.  

I touched his arm and said, "You're right, people are angry.  I'm sorry.  But I'm not angry."  A slight untruth, that last part.  I tried to smile.  

His voice was somehow both ragged and childlike, his back curved in defeat.  I didn't have the right words (I never do) or any soothing answers.  He was gone when I passed back that way, but his questions and those stormcloud eyes have been with me for weeks. 

I know there are reasons to be angry.  There are things that deserve outrage.  The world can be a very unkind, unjust place.  And no matter what we look like or how we manage to pass ourselves off, we all carry some kind of storm inside.  What if, instead of outrage toward our fellow human beings, especially those we don't like the looks of or don't understand, we offer a little tenderness and see what that world looks like?


slow notes:  

This, on compassion.



Poems.  I don't mean the written word, but the seen, the heard, the felt.  I find them most often in the forest, for that is where Douglas fir, Mahonia, licorice fern, and Trillium live.  It's where wild ginger, chanterelles, singing birds, the scent of humus, and a thousand glorious shades of green live.  It's where life and death and love and all manner of magical unseen things live.  But I also find poems in my own back yard, crawling under piles of rotting leaves, inching their way up tree trunks, or dripping from the rain-filled gutter.  I feel them settling into my bones like a valley fog when I walk with the moon.  I can sometimes taste them, salty and wild like a coastal gale, and my heart becomes an ocean.


slow notes: 


Have you found these kinds of poems?  Maybe in the touch of the dog's nose on your cheek?  In the rhythmic ticking of an analog clock?  In the caw of the crows outside your window?  In the scent of the garlic you grew last year browning in a cast iron pan for tonight's dinner? 

I know that some may feel that there is no poetry in the world right now, and my heart is with you.  

Maybe today you are the poem.   



January was slow and quiet.  Its calm and nothingness felt so soothing after the busyness and social activities of the holidays.  The chance to decompress and go inward was deeply appreciated.  I inhaled soft silvery fog on long morning walks and spent  many  dark evenings with a book in my chair by the wood stove.  We took four trips to the coast, where winter's king tides luxuriated on our favorite stretch of sand.  High winds came to visit our town more than once, scattering gifts of soft mossy branches with each gust.  Clear blue skies and sunshine were often present, too, giving us a lovely balance of the natural forces.  We baked bread and made stews, deep cleaned and decluttered.  We had movie nights and music nights.  We bird-watched and book-browsed.  

As we now approach mid February, daffodil greens have pushed up through the sodden ground and the towhees are back in the camellias.  Trametes versicolor (turkey tail) is taking my breath away on trails by the river.  Buds swell on the end of branches in joyful rebirth.  Baby cleavers, so delicate and bright green, tell me that the wheel is turning.  I can hear spring gently journeying up through roots and rocks, whispering sweet promises of fragrance and color and things brand new.  

I can feel the lists of flowers I want to plant / vegetables I want to grow / projects I want to start all beginning to germinate in the back of my mind.  I dream of tomatoes, hollyhocks, suppers outside under the twinkling lights, bats swooping through the trees, and bare feet in touch with the earth once again.  But, for all of these stirrings, I'm not ready to part with beloved winter just yet.  That soft silvery fog is calling again today and I'll happily fade to grey once more for the chance to be wrapped in her magical spell.


slow notes:

by mlekoshi