Fall Creek Trail, Willamette National Forest

I was going to write about Jones’ concern for pack integrity when we’re all strung out along the trail, or about how he’s so low to the ground that he can squeeze under fallen trees, or about how in his dotage he is totally trustworthy to go off the leash when we hang out on the river bank while the kids throw rocks and explore the mossy pools, but then I was just so full of the splendor of the forest primeval, the twinkling sun through the cedars, the rush of the river, and people I love out in it with me that I was like that’s all I want to say.


Bohemia Park, Cottage Grove

It was like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life and with sound effects, except for the weedwhacker at work on the grass steps of the amphitheater. Kids frolicking in the playground, the jingle of tags on Jones’ collar, tweens tossing a football down by the fountain, oldsters doing laps on the path around the park, my girl on her bike, little dogs, big dogs, all bathed in sunshine and blue sky proclaiming hallelujiah, choir of angels!

S. 2nd St., Cottage Grove

Most of the walks these days have actually been at night, which means one has to look within for scenery (Here is where the birds sing! Here is where the sky is blue!). Actual daylight today afforded the following sights:

Two carved wood bears, one crouching and one standing on its hind legs

Ivy growing on moss growing on a tree growing out of the sidewalk

Mushrooms growing on moss growing on a straw bale

A scary pirate mask on a garage door

A motorcycle with a sidecar

A sign for a “faith-based family medicine” practice

Multiple signs for a sign-painting business

An aspirational flagstone feature

That same pile of bricks that has always been there on Adams

Faded prayer flags




Howard Buford Recreation Area, Eugene

Oregon has a lot going for it, including long stretches of cool, gray rain followed by one spectacular warm day of blue sky in the middle of January. This balance of weather creates an abundance of gratitude in local residents, including dogs, who eagerly flock to the trails and views. Jones was happy to let E. hold his leash, she being his rehabilitation guide these last eight years as she has shown him that kids aren’t so menacing, so long as they ooze delicious fluids, drop food on the floor, and show him off to their new friend C.

Fir Grove Cemetery, Cottage Grove

You know how animals in other countries have their own way of speaking, just like a foreign language? Like how French dogs say “ouaoua,” or Swedish cats say “mjan,” or Spanish chickens say “cocoroco.” We saw some turkeys on the path heading into the trees, and no kidding, they said “gobble gobble,” just like you’d expect.

Cat poop consumed: yes

West D Street Greenway, Springfield

I got up E from her nap this afternoon and thought this is the last time she’ll sleep in this house. Then this is the last pile of noodles she’ll drop on the floor of this kitchen. The dogs know, even if she has no idea. They’ve been concerned and vigilant for the last two weeks as boxes and pictures have left without them, and L. has left them alone all day while he works on the new place. Mr. Jones and I have been taking walks from this house for four and half years, which is, like, 45 years for him. It’s like a Kodak commercial around here. This is last time we’ll walk in the rain down the river path and Ramona will have diarrhea that I can’t pick up with a bag. I didn’t win the county spelling bee that one year but the girl who did spelled ‘maudlin’ correctly, which means I never forgot it. I got out on ‘expunge.’

Cat poop consumed: no

Canal path, Bishop

Backyard chickens have caused quite a hooha and kerfluffle of late here in the old hometown. In a through-the-looking-glass twist, the conservative law and order types who are all about praising local ranchers and our grand agricultural history–at least when they ride in the Mule Days parade–are anti-chicken. Measure C (get it?) would make them officially legal. But the yard sign on S. 1st confused me. Imagine a couple of fluffy yellow chicks holding rifles and the caption First our chickens, next our guns! Vote ___ on C! No kidding, there was a blank space where you could write in either yes or no. This particular sign said yes.

Chicken poop consumed: no