Thursday, October 27, 2011


Last weekend Michael and I drove to Boise, Idaho for his parents Golden Wedding Anniversary. It’s a beautiful drive, that we take frequently through the Cascades, the sage lands of the Yakima valley and the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. This was the first autumn trip we made. I was surprised by the colors.The cotton woods in the river valleys were golden, with that yellow between egg yolk and lemon rind that we call golden. The slopes were reddened with sumac and service berry. Yet the dominant vegetal color beneath the clear blue October skies was beige. Almost a non-color in its ubiquity and neutrality. The grasses were beige and every form of herbaceous growth, the flower head of shrubs like the rabbit bush (Chrysothamnus naseosus) above and the stubbly fields of harvested wheat. It’s an affable if dead color, not cheery like spring time pinks, or bold like autumn gold, but valuable and calming. Or maybe it was just the long ride in this sublime beige landscape that calmed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Fall is creeping up on us slowly. Certainly the temperatures have changed, the clouds are back, the rains have begun on schedule. It’s the colors that are being shy. The grand autumnal colors, gold, orange, red, are just starting to peek out here and there. Sometimes it does that here. Sort of like spring is a prolonged parade from February to June. I have been taking pleasure in other colors as I wait for Fall’s triumph. Like anemones and aster. And the leaves of this purple brussels sprout lacquered with glare.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Last weekend Michael and I headed to Mount Rainier for a 3 day weekend. We were celebrating Michael’s birthday and escaping a myriad of projects around the house. Though the weather forecast was mixed, as it has been a lot lately, what we got was foggy, cloudy, rainy, actually any meteorological phenomenon that reduces visibility and gets you wet. Still, we had a beautiful time. “Invisibility is its own natural wonder,” writes the novelist Joyce Kornblatt. Certainly over the weekend as foggy distances gently opened and shrunk like schools of jelly fish, played peek-a-boo like a 2 year old, or teased like Sally Rand with her fans, we were continually awed by the beauty. And there was a certain peacefulness, which we didn’t realize we were seeking, that came over us, and would have been impossible if the sun was shining and the views gargantuan and triumphant as a brass band at Christmas.