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Year-end musings

winter mind

The winter mind.

It seems my mind is both full and empty.

I think about a time when my neck doesn’t hurt, and the tendons don’t grind – these days are both past and future.

I think about Big Cat, a cat the color of fallen oak leaves.

There is blank space where my mind struggles to find something to think.

I think about —- and his careful and attentive questions about my well-being.

I think about —–, how I will get the job there. How I will be if I haven’t gotten the job.

I think about the oaks and pines outside my window and the pieces of the sky I see through their bare branches and needles.

I try to think of something to write, and I see nothing.

oak leaves

A cat the color of fallen oak leaves.


I think about visible and unrecognizable, the words that chose me for 2017. I wonder what words 2018 will bring me. I don’t see them. My mind says I can’t see them. Maybe they will see me as 2017’s words did.

Enough comes to mind. As in, “I am enough,” or “I have enough,” or “This is enough.” I am content to let this sit for now. It is enough.

A more visceral part says to me, “No. All this is true. And I am more. I can do more. I can be more.”

Enough and more? Similarly contraindicated as visible and unrecognizable. Not opposites. Not opponents. Co-workers. Collaborators. Co-conspirators.

Becoming visible was an act that made me unrecognizable to many. Becoming unrecognizable allowed me to be visible to many more.

Being enough can allow me to be more. Being more offers enough to others.

Yes. Maybe these are the words I need.

I am enough. We are all enough.

I have always been enough. We all have always been enough.

I have more. I am more. I offer more. Striving for more opens me to…

I go back to the blank mind. There are pieces of thoughts, glimmers of ideas floating about in there. I can almost see them. I can’t quite feel them. Beyond the list of what to do today, tomorrow, and next week, there are much grander thoughts. They need to be let out. Hoarding them produces a feeling of scarcity – if I let this into the world, there will never be another, and I will be without grand ideas. No. That’s not right. Letting them out into the world brings them friends and community. It allows expansion, the ideas grow and multiply.

Here is an idea:

What if each of us believes that we are enough?


What if each of us believes that every other person is also enough?

We would all have more.


Three landscapes and a soaking shed

A wild winter ride to iconic Central Oregon hot springs offered these landscapes. The road to Summer Lake is a beautiful stretch of little-used highway along the western edge of the Great Basin. Sagebrush gives way to alkali lakes, winds rip across the open flat, and clouds create another dimension of life above the high desert.

Central Oregon, hot springs

An unsettled day in the high desert.

central Oregon, alkaline lake

Silver Lake, Oregon, snow from the west meets billowing clouds from the east.

central Oregon, hot springs

Snow seems to be falling from Summer Lake up to the clouds.

central Oregon, Silver Lake

Between the land and sky of Central Oregon lies Silver Lake.

central Oregon, hot springs

Summer Lake Hot Springs soaking shed

Winter Water – snow and ice taking new forms

The only constant is change. Snow turns to ice; ice turns to water; water turns to rivers; rivers become oceans. And eventually, it comes back to land to start the cycle again.

Deschutes River, Tumalo State Park

Building crystals, Deschutes River, Tumalo State Park

Deschutes River, Tumalo State Park

Juniper droplet

Deschutes River, Tumalo State Park

Calm in the rush

End of the trail, Deschutes River

Deschutes River, Tumalo State Park


The Painted Hills in winter, an unfinished canvas

At first glance, covering the brilliant colors of the Painted Hills with snow seems an affront. Slowly, though, you realize the colors are more vivid and the landscape patterns surreal; it is a study in negative space. The intensity of the snow and depth of the shadows create an otherworldly effect that makes this fabulous place more so.