The Best in Us

My son broke his wrist. We were skiing on Mount Hood, not far from Timberline Lodge. It was sunny and still cold just after lunch. I’d...

We Keep Working

When delusions and lies spread across the land, we remain true to evidence. We vote on our ballots, and we vote through the daily doings...

Flow

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. - Annie Dillard We set out up the dry canyon, eyeing the mountain. A clear...

He Has a Name, He Has a Story

He’s a senior in high school, he’s black, and he works at Chipotle four evenings a week. He chops lettuce and tomatoes, grills steak. He...

Faith

This morning, as the dog and I walked after breakfast, the neighborhood streets were again quiet. Magnolia flowers ready to open. The...

Now

Here in Portland, Oregon, in January, the days are short, grey, and wet. More rain this year than last, my goodness. Rain almost every...

A Benediction of Goat Bells

Just finished writing a novel, after several years of work on it. Stacks of drafts surround this desk, the house is quiet, and after a...

Words on Writing, Part Three

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. —...

Travelers

Summer in sight. Tomatoes on their way. Time to slow down some, and here this afternoon, time to think about a few places on this planet...

Letter to My Son

Yesterday morning your mom and I walked with you beside the Metolius River. We’ve taken you there since you were little and riding on my...

A Bear Story

Last night at dinner my son asked me, “When were you most scared?” “You mean, today?” “In your whole life.” We were eating pasta and...

Words on Writing, Part Two

Computers are useless — all they can give you are answers. — Picasso When I had no roof I made/Audacity my roof. — Robert Pinsky What his...

Heliotrope

A neighbor from down the street walks his dog, too. Now and then we see each other and keep the strutting beasts apart, but we raise a...

The Woman on the Sidewalk

The dog and I step outside for our morning walk. We go down the front steps, turn into the driveway, and there on the sidewalk is a...

Words on Writing, Part One

For about twenty-five years I’ve collected words on writing. From books, articles, overheard remarks at readings. These words aren’t...

Two Poems

My Grown-up Granddaughter Asks The Ganges at dusk? Machu Picchu at dawn? Dear, I am happiest listening to Grandma sing off-key in the...

Mr. Haruf

At the first Wordstock Book Festival in 2005, I was Kent Haruf’s chauffeur. As a writer in the schools, I’d heard that the festival...

Symbols of Goodness

Walked half-numb two and a half years ago into a classroom at Benson High School here in Portland, Oregon. Opened my satchel, got out my...

These Times

A few weeks ago a friend looked me in the eye and said that he feels depressed about these times. I had never seen this guy look quite...

Lessons Through the Body

In late August of 2013, I walked with some writer friends around Mount Hood. This website features a few photos taken by one of those...

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