Foxglove Moments

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. 

November 14, 2013


I once begrudged these little fellows for eating “the birds’ seed” and investigated ways of keeping them out of the feeders--but then realized how much delight I take in their antics and aerobatics. Extra birdseed is a small price to pay for the enjoyment they provide.







October 30, 2013


When I can’t put what I’m feeling into words, I turn to poets who can.

This past weekend, observing autumn nestling in, I turned to Edna St. Vincent Millay (she who famously burned her candle at both ends):

“Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me…”












“Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim…”








Sometimes, as I walk this hillside, I recite a piece of verse that captures the moment, and it’s as if I were connecting to the soul of that poet who wrote the words--

You once experienced this, too, this what I am experiencing now--

and we walk the hillside together in a kind of shared communion.

The above words are from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem, “Pied Beauty.” Hopkins is worth spending an afternoon with.


(Those who have read The Legacy of Emily Hargraves may remember that this was a habit of the old caretaker in the cemetery—Or you may not remember.)

By the time I came to CAP in 1999 as the new Community Services Director, I had been engaged in the AIDS epidemic for over 12 years. By then, I had lost more than 30 friends, colleagues and clients to AIDS. I needed a change.

Friends expressed their concern for me, joking that I was moving 40 miles and 50 years north of Portland, into the American “heartland” of small towns and small minds. But I had already accepted that I would be alone.

It didn’t come up until my second week, when I was meeting each of my 80+ staff individually. She came into my office, an older woman looking rather stern, I thought. We had only just started, when she said abruptly, “I heard you worked with the AIDS people.”

The AIDS people. It was the way she said it, like the Sand people, or the Pod people.

“Yes. Yes, I have,” I said. “For many years.”

I braced myself to get an earful of what she thought of “those people.”

Her gaze dropped and her voice fell to a whisper. “My son has AIDS.”

I got up and closed the door, came back and sat down. “Would you like to talk about it?”

And as she told me about the family secret and the family shame and the family silence, and of her isolation, I realized that I had come into the Heartland.


October 19, 2013


These photos were taken only a few days apart.

Were I a poet, I would compose some Zen haiku on the beauty and brevity of life.

Or on the fleeting nature of glory.

Or maybe the peace that comes from raking autumn leaves--lots and lots of autumn leaves.


October 16, 2013







Working on my roof this weekend, cleaning gutters and removing moss, I was struck by how different everything looks from up there, and I thought: it's probably a good idea to climb on one's roof at least once a year just to be reminded that there are different ways of seeing the world.

And to clean the gutters while I'm up there.



October 7, 2013


"Earth's crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God..."


I don't know it for a fact, but I'd be willing to bet that Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned those words during some glorious autumn weekend like we just had.





October 2, 2013


Amid the past weekend's series of storms, this little fellow came out to enjoy a brief sun interlude.

Me, too.









September 25, 2013


Working on my hillside this past weekend, between sun and showers, I watched curtains of rain come wafting up the valley toward me.

"Weather" seems both more dynamic and more personal when you can see it coming at you.





September 19, 2013



Probably my favorite season.

(Although my opinions tend to change with the seasons)