30 May 2010


A few weeks ago, I spent some time at the Oregon Extension in Lincoln, Oregon. It gave me some space to focus solely on my writing, specifically on the Wildish Boys novel. Funny how it was just a few weeks ago and it already feels like months. That brief moment of stillness came and went, quickly followed by the excitement of the reading at the Press Club, travel arrangements for my darling husband, and a flurry of graduation preparations for my daughter from the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and my brother, a new PhD graduate from the University of Washington.

Lincoln is a place given to the study of spiritual matters and contemplative retreats. It is a place where men are hand-milling the wood for the building of the new chapel in the meadow across from the bunkhouse, near where I saw grazing deer.

My own spiritual center is nurtured in solitude. It glistened with the rainwater on the leaves of the fir tree in the morning. Spread out thick and rough with the bark of the Ponderosa pines. Paused with the attention of a black-tailed deer. Reflected in the gray-white clouds from the slick surface of the millpond, cut through with the vees of the swimming Canadian geese.

I can reach back and touch that quiet from Lincoln. It opens like the winter memory of cherry blossoms. As restorative as the recall of a child's birth. Sacred as love. I carry it with me, writing forward.



Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

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