Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Gallery, Musings, Oregon | 36 comments

As of yesterday, we’re on the road again. After the inevitable flurry of activity that accompanies trip preparations, we woke up well-rested this morning to a gorgeous sunrise at Black Butte Lake, in the golden oak-studded hills of northern California. We’re headed south for the winter, wending our way down the California coast and across the country to Florida by February.

Our visit to our hometown of Ashland was brief this time, just long enough to take care of various appointments and maintenance on our home and trailer. We rolled into town the day before Eric’s appointment with his cardiologist. How’s that for avoidance behavior? I was feeling more than a little anxious about returning to the scene of last fall’s trauma. Truthfully, if we could have just zoomed on by Ashland I would have happily done so (although we would have missed seeing our friends).

It wasn’t that we had any reason to worry. Ever since we were released by the cardiologist last May, we’ve been hiking, biking, kayaking, and living life just as fully as before. Nonetheless, I often turn to Eric when we’re hiking or biking strenuously and ask (in my most nonchalant tone of voice), “How’re you doing?” He’s always doing great. I hope, in time, that I won’t feel the need to ask.

We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of Eric’s unexpected open-heart surgery. Seeing the cardiologist and having Eric receive an A+ (with no need to return until next year) helps somewhat to put the event a bit further behind us. Still, I remain keenly aware that there is no time to waste in this life on anything less than what is truly satisfying on the deepest level of being.

We’re grateful that we have the ability to travel as we do, that we’re able to spend extended time with family and friends, and that we’re welcomed “home” with open arms each time we return to Ashland. Our circle of friends has expanded since we started our travels, and we’re grateful for the friends we’ve made on the road and the friends we’ve made through this blog.

We’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year in the hills above Monterey, just the two of us. We’ll miss our family and friends, but we needed to get out of town before the winter storms arrive. (No more deep winters in our trailer if we have anything to say about it!) We have a little Thanksgiving feast planned: chipotle-rubbed turkey breast on the grill, cranberry ginger chutney, roasted maple sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts, a spinach salad with grapefruit and avocado, and an apple crisp. We’ll raise a toast to the splendor of this beautiful world, the small gifts of everyday life, and to family and friends. And we’ll read to each other the poem “Invitation” by Mary Oliver, one of our favorite poets.

Thank you all for being part of our lives, and for being part of our journey. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
                                    Mary Oliver


Next Up: The Wild West Coast: Tofino & Ucluelet, BC