Walla Walla, Washington 04.07.2020

Last night my husband and I got in the car and drove toward the full (super)moon at perigee, closer to us than at any other time this year.  The fourth full moon of this year, this full moon is called the Pink Moon after wild ground phlox, one of the earliest flowers to herald the return of spring in North America.  Some call it the Paschal or Egg Moon, as it is the full moon that determines the date of Easter.  Though it looked more peachy than pink to me, I love the idea of a pink moon, a color that makes me think of kindness and compassion, of birth and rebirth.

I felt the moon's pull yesterday and was energized to work outside.  I cleaned and shoveled and turned and watered.  I planted tomato, kale, and sunflower starts.  I tucked wildflower, chamomile, lettuce, and hollyhock seeds into the dirt as the day began to fade into night.  Perhaps it is too soon, too cold for these things to be given over to the elements, but I am placing all my hope in watching something survive and thrive right now.  And what better time than when Grandmother Moon is offering a full moon bath?  

This pink full moon also felt like hope in a time of uncertainty and loss, giving everyone around the world a reason to look up and feel wonder in the midst of isolation, to remind us that there are phases and new seasons for everything. 

I hope you're doing well.  Courage.  

a necessary sabbath


What a strange reality we are living.  How are you doing?  I've been at a loss for words here - these pictures are almost two weeks old now.  I know we are all doing the best we can in these uncertain times, and I know circumstances are much harder for some than others.  My heart goes out to those suffering in more ways than I can imagine.  I hope we can all give each other, as well as ourselves, grace.   

Instead of talking about the darkness in the world right now, a link I found helpful yesterday:  

Jack Kornfield:  The Bodhisattva Response to Coronavirus

Also, some thoughts, most of which I feel pertain to this time, from a book I found inspiring recently:  Sabbath by Wayne Muller:

"For thirty minutes walk slowly and silently, preferably outside in nature, but it can also be done indoors - without trying to get anywhere.  It is more of an amble, a stroll.  Let your senses guide."  

"Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence ... And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves ... part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it.  We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.  For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope." 

"Lectio divina, or contemplative reading, is an ancient practice common to most religions.  It begins with reading a short passage of scripture or other inspirational writing, and then quietly reflecting upon it - not analyzing or trying to figure out the meaning - but rather allowing it to quietly work on you, as leaven in the bread, as water on a stone.  The key is to read slowly, chew over the words, and allow them to quietly nourish and heal you."  

"Where had these new herbs and grasses come from?  They appeared from within the earth of this field, seeds that had always been embedded in the soil.  Because they had always been trodden underfoot by the relentless activity of the cows, they were never able to grow into their fullness.  When the land and the seed were given a necessary Sabbath, the earth could then, in its own time, reveal the breathtaking wonders of which it was naturally and easily capable."

I found so much good in this book that I wanted to remember, I started keeping a journal of favorite passages.  What books, podcasts, or other things are you finding comforting right now?   

Much love.  

not too cold


Every morning when I get up, I brew a cup of either tea or an herbal coffee substitute.  Last November, seemingly overnight, I simply lost a taste for coffee.  I'm not sure why.  I have never desired to quit drinking coffee or found it distasteful before.  But, here I am, just as happily living without it as with it, wondering if one day it will seem appealing again and I'll go back to my morning cup.  However, lessening my caffeine intake (I still get some in my Earl Grey or green tea) has greatly improved the middle-of-the-night wakefulness I have always experienced, and for that reason alone I may never go back.  

I knitted some dishcloths and a twine scrubby a few weeks ago.  It is still hard to imagine knitting anything more complicated than a dishcloth, but these were a fun endeavor and I was happy with how they turned out.  For more than 10 years we have tried to reduce our waste and the plastic that comes into our home, with varying degrees of success.  Some habits are hard to break.  We are not big shoppers, but my husband has become almost as devoted to buying second-hand as I am, and we are both always aiming to use/wear/make things that are reusable, biodegradable, and natural.  Making the things we use and wear is a constant goal, even if it is just a small project like this.  

Watch:  We haven't had cable TV for more than a decade, and living here we are not able to pick up anything more than static with an antenna, so we stream the news (I mean I do, my husband hates the news) and watch shows via our Roku.  I usually watch a clip of the morning headlines from Portland and then national and world news on another app.  A small, simple dose to catch up, quick and done.  We still really enjoy watching a series together at night, but I sometimes dive into something on my own and recently finished Broadchurch.  The wonderful Olivia Colman and David Tennant lead.  

Read:  I read Pigs by Joanna Stoberock last month, a commentary on what we have done to the Earth and each other.  Also read was Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah.  I was pulled in by the title and how the description reminded me of The Snow Child, but this felt like a Lifetime movie.  Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth was about a fractured family with secrets and unresolved, hard feelings.  It was well written, but I found it depressing and went back and forth about continuing to the end, which I eventually did.  I loved Berlin: The Twenties by Rainer Metzger.  Amazing photographs, from an era and city I feel I know from another lifetime.

Listen:  I've been listening to the Poetry Unbound podcast that started last December.  Hearing poetry read is, for me, a much more powerful experience than reading it.  Padraig O Tuama has a beautiful reading voice and his brief but contemplative thoughts on each poem are so lovely.  Also in my earphones is Sabbath by Wayne Muller.  I grew up in a family that observed a Sabbath, so this idea is not new to me, but it is one that I have not practiced since I was a teenager, and grudgingly then.  Though I currently don't identify with a particular religious Sabbath, at this stage in my life I welcome the kind of peace and restoration observing a digital or other kind of Sabbath could bring.  

How has your week been (aside from politics and coronavirus)?  It's been beautiful here.  Sunny, a bit breezy, not too cold.  The back yard has been a bit neglected all winter, so I started doing some cleanup.  It's so tiny it doesn't require much work, but I pulled some weeds, cleaned out the beds, and cut up some trimmings that have been laying in the corner since fall.  I bought some pansies and tucked them into the window boxes out front, perhaps a bit too soon, but I just couldn't wait.  Every morning they are laying down from the cold of night, but by afternoon they are standing up and reaching for the sun once again.  It felt so good to be working outside; I reveled in the scent of turned dirt.  After telling my husband I don't want to put up the hammock this year because there's barely room for it, all I could think about was laying in it right then, cloudgazing, gently swaying, the sun warming my face.  

still the days


I woke up on the 14th buzzing with happy anticipation of the day.  Not only was it Valentine's Day - a day we have tried to make special in a very noncommercial way the last several years - it was the day we were packing up the car and driving to the Oregon coast for the weekend.  I think all three of us were more than ready to get out of our small town for a few days, and to visit Portland and Salem on the way.  

We took our time as we were in no particular rush, driving by our Portland house and visiting my beloved trees behind it, then walking  around Salem and riding the carousel that Thor rode so many times when he was little.  By the time we made it to our little cottage at the coast it was dark, stormy, and we were very hungry.  After checking in, we went to the closest market to pick up food and drinks, and quite contentedly spent the rest of the evening in front of the fireplace listening to the ocean that was just past our window.  

The next day we took Pip to meet the ocean, first below our cottage, then at Otter Rock.  He ran in big circles just like Klaus used to do, and it made us so happy to see.  It was  windy, pouring rain, and we had the beach entirely to ourselves.  After that we wandered a bit, going to Depoe Bay, Newport, eating in Nye Beach, then eventually settling back into our cottage as darkness fell.  

The days with Thor are increasingly precious as the window of time  he will still be at home grows smaller.  When we were in Salem, the memories hit me hard ... those were such happy days in his young life, with neighborhood friends coming and going, and endless outdoor adventuring by the three of us. Selfishly, I don't want his childhood to end.  But, there are still a few years left.  These are still the days.  

We talked a lot about how much we love this side of Oregon that is so much a part of us, that someday we will return there.  The time is right for us to be where we are for the next few years, but the pull of the forested, misty, fern-filled side of Oregon will take us back there someday.  

by mlekoshi