Foxglove Moments

Alan's haunting novel of the AIDS epidemic, As If Death Summoned, was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, and has won the Foreword INDIES LGBT Book of the Year Award. Watch the book trailer here. Read the reviews here.

Foxglove Moments

Foxglove is the name of my property, five acres overlooking the Lewis River Valley that was covered with the wildflower when I first moved here in 1996. 



2014...Going out glorious.






[First posted: December 31, 2014]













Approaching the close of another year.

They seem to come more quickly the older I get.

(What? Already? Again?)

It's a common observation of those who've lived this long:

Time continues to expand endlessly,

then at some point collapses

into a day, or a life, or a moment.

And there is no time,

only memories...






[First posted: December 30, 2014]


On my desk, facing me, sits a Buddha
from the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya (mid-1300s to 1767),
a gift from a friend who collects cultural artifacts.
I have probably looked at it a thousand times or more.

And then one day as I was writing, 
the late afternoon sun poured in 
and literally cast the Buddha in a new light.

I glanced up and was stopped,
transfixed as he seemed to emerge
from the shadows of the distant past.

And with a shiver I realized
I was gazing into the face of someone
from the 18th century.






[First posted: September 28, 2013]



Years ago, a friend who'd emigrated from the Midwest to be with his girlfriend
would complain about the Northwest's "pissy little winters."

Of all the seasons, he missed most the full-strength winters of his native Minnesota,
and days of bright sun on bright snow. He never could adjust to the glum drabness
of the Pacific Northwest at this time of year.

And yet, if one looks, there are striking dashes of color on this gray seasonal palette.




[First posted: December 18, 2014]






Absorbing the warmth and light,
fluffed up and radiant,
a little sun ball of feathers.






(Speaking about warmth and light: Following last week's windstorm,
I was without power from 5:00 pm Thursday to 6:00 pm Saturday.
I've grown quite fond of the smell of oil lamps.)




 [First posted: December 15, 2014]





That time of year:
All fluffed up,
showing off one's stylish winter coat,
looking around to see who notices,
checking out the competition.



















[First posted: November 24, 2014]


Dashing out the door yesterday morning, I was stopped in astonishment.

Up in the branches sat a magnificent owl, staring at me with an almost ethereal calm.

"Oh, wow," I whispered to him, "Don't move." I dropped my briefcase, unslung the camera from my shoulder and hurriedly removed it from its case.

This was a sign, I was sure, a sign for the day beginning. The owl was a symbol of wisdom to the ancient Greeks, a sacred bird from the other world, all seeing, all knowing...He was also a symbol of death's approach to the native Northwest coast peoples, but, if given the choice, I was feeling partial to the Greeks at the moment.

He sat up there, calmly observing me as I fumbled with the camera and kept begging him, "Don't fly away. Please don't fly away."

And he didn't. It was as if he knew that I meant him no harm, that we were brothers in spirit and that I honored his presence, that he and I were fellow creatures, both of us belonging to this hillside, equal in our right to be here, although I was the one stuck with paying the property taxes.

Or, maybe he was thinking, "This klutz can't be a threat to me. He can't fly. He can barely operate that camera--Oh, look, he's trying to take my picture with the lens cap on. How pathetic."

Anyway, I got his picture, determined he was a symbol of wisdom, and tootled off to work for the day.




[First posted: November 19, 2014]



Let both your living
and your dying
be beautiful,
be memorable

...and don't forget to compost.













[First posted: November 21, 2014]



This photo was a mistake (I love it when that happens.)

Standing in the bright sunlight, focusing on the rhododendron, I didn't notice the Buddha back in the shadows‐‐the shadows were much darker than this picture now cropped suggests.

But when I saw the photo, I was surprised--and delighted!--giving me metaphysical shivers.

The same surprise occasionally happens with my writing‐‐some plot twist I didn't see coming, or a deeper meaning to a story suddenly revealed‐‐and I think, "Wow, I would never have thought of that!"

And a voice from some deeper part of me whispers, You didn't.




[First posted: July 2, 2014]




Slightly used.






[First posted: July 7, 2014]