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Highway 42, Oregon

November 21st, 2001

Listening To The News
Raining. The house sits up on a wooded hillside that reminds me of my parents old house in Washington. A stand of second growth pines hides the unpaved road below; long, tall, parallel moss covered muted grey green brown trees that stand like stone: silent, wet, dripping in the rain, waiting for something. I wonder what. Time for another cup of coffee, all this standing like stone has me a little unhinged and remembering things from long ago. I grew up around here. Well, four hundred miles north around here, a long time ago.

It's early, a good time to write. A second pot of coffee is sitting full in the small automatic coffee brewer. Folgers in the can. I remember Folgers in the can, another reminder of much earlier days in Seattle. I don't remember New York, what brand of coffee anyone drank. I didn't drink coffee until I was in college, really, when I took up drinking most everything. Not sure why I waited so long.

Public radio turned down low, listening to the news. No detonations in Oakland while I've been gone. Odd to even have the thought, but there's this little voice way in the background that comments occasionally, well, you've ended up renting a truck. Useful, maybe, if you're caught out in the country when the city world ends. Well, yes. I'm not sure I would want to see such a world. Heinlein wrote one or two of those stories, did he not? A world after the bomb. A Cold War world. I don't remember thinking about that when I was a kid. Maybe it's built into the genes, you don't want to know when you're twelve, nature preparing you to crank out children as soon as possible lest you have an accident, and introspection, too much imagination, doesn't make babies. Nature knows. Think about things like that when you're older, if you must, but keep your mind clear and uncluttered when you're young.

Maybe I should take off on a riff here occasionally, write something more interesting and bizarre, a run in with the locals, maybe, a tussle with back woods boys who make the news. We were watching the first season of Sex and the City on DVD and the subject came up. I hadn't seen Sex and the City. What kind of news? Well, this is still old Oregon here, well before its eventual California-ization, and they retain certain old world attitudes. Old world attitudes? Not everyone is totally comfortable with the sounds and workings of a town like Berkeley. Not everyone understands, although they seem fascinated, with a young girl who grew up in the Hollywood hills. Hence the Wild Wimmins writing group. Protection. From the cold.

I don't know. Striking sparks with the locals seemed more amusing when I was younger, when I first moved to San Francisco and having long hair could get you into big trouble if you drove too far over any of the bridges. My friends from Texas. They came to San Francisco for a reason. All of the singers and musicians, the artists and writers and back woods boys and girls were there looking for the end of the rainbow. Like me. "It isn't, you know. The end of the rainbow." she once said, the wild lady with the wonderful smile. True, but it has grown more comfortable over the years, the crazy salad days are over, the blood pressure is approaching normal. No need to stir up old troubles. I'll save the riff for another time and another place, another Oregon.

It's early still. I haven't shot any photographs with the digital camera and I need some to put here. Raining outside. Coffee on the warmer. Writing this. Listening to the news.

The banner photograph was taken off Highway 42 in Oregon.