Saturday, August 18, 2007

On Oregon.

I did go to Oregon and it was magical. Many, but not all of the things that I wished to happen happened. I went to Portland first and saw the people I loved and missed there. The wedding was beautiful. This was not surprising. I suppose they always are in that holy place, something to do with promises and purity and eternity. Amber looked like a queen. This too was unsurprising.

To be honest, the grass was not as green as I remembered. I mean, in some places it was, but not over all. I think it must just be this time of year, for the grass there is typically very green. The trees, on the other hand, did not fail me. Their abundance and beauty fulfilled/exceeded my expectations. I have always been fond of the way the trees look in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon (especially when driving from Eugene to Florence), because of the light, the way it attaches to the leaves, illuminating some while others remain shadowed. The vibrancy at those moments cannot be duly described, or at least not by my fallible and imperfect language. During this trip I learned that I also love the trees at night time, when the light begins to fade, darkening everything until one sees only the outlines of the trees, their silhouettes against the sky. Those moments are also beautiful, when the moon and stars alone shed light.

Part of the time I was there I stayed at my sister Charity's. I got lost getting there, which was nothing new. Of course it had to be from the reception at the River Road chapel, from which location I got lost in high school at the end of every church dance. We played scrabble. I won all but one of the games. While there we read aloud, The Five People You'll Meet in Heaven, Pablo Neruda, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and I read quietly to myself Ender's Game. It had been so long, and it was there, just waiting for me on her bookcase. I loved reading the familiar words and turning the familiar pages. I loved waking up slowly, not to sound, but the gentle light streaming in through her window.

My second night in Eugene I had a very happy reunion with my friend John characterized by missions and stars and merry-go-rounds. It had been nearly four years. It was lovely to be at that park, lovely to see the sky lit up with stars and to watch the meteor showers, and lovely to talk about the things we talked about, to remember my own mission and to learn more about his. His first mission president was very similar to mine. They were both giants at knowing the doctrine and could unfold the mysteries of the kingdom. His mission president would tell him that he was the one who had to decide. He was the one who received revelation for his area. He was given a mind. He had been given a heart. Resultantly, he was expected to use them. It is so true, and sometimes I am so afraid that its true. It's easier if someone else is responsible. It's easier if we don't have to choose. We might mistakes. That is part of it, the learning and growth that comes from it, in how we handle the mistakes. I believe that doctrine that we are the ones who have to choose and the ones who receive revelation for our lives.

After some time passed I found that I was shivering, not because it was particularly cold, it simply wasn't particularly hot. We found refuge in a place protected from the night air where we could still see the meteors falling from the sky. The conversation that followed would be worthy of Nate's Broken Hearts Club. We spoke of the past year and past relationships and past events. Regardless of the sorrow that such brokenness brings I still believe that things work out in the end, that love really is real and worth hoping for and fighting for.

We used to talk about running and track. He still runs. He still can talk about it. Now I listen, happy that he is living his dream, happy that he is still doing the thing he cares about.

The next morning we drove to Florence.

I found myself trying very hard to keep my eyes open wide. I wanted to take everything in, to notice everything, to remember everything. This is home to me. Those trees and that ocean, as well as the feeling produced in me by their beauty and peace.

So many more simple and beautiful things took place that week. I am grateful for the things I saw and felt and experienced.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Further North than South.

I am driving to Oregon tonight. It has been a long time coming, May 2005 and coming. I remember that it rained as I drove away. Sometimes I think that my heart is still there, but then I think, "No, it's right here. I have it with me." Still, I am drawn there with a pull I cannot explain, except to say that it is the place of my birth and much of my learning. I feel comfortable there among the trees and the rain. I also long to be near the ocean, the serenity and quiet of it. For some reason it feels good to stand by something so immense, perhaps because it assists me in remembering the grandeur of God and His generosity and love in designing such beautiful creations. I loved working at the Sea Lion Caves and I especially loved hearing the awe in the voices of little children seeing the ocean for the first time. I used to find great joy in watching them and listening to them. A little boy, "Look at the beautiful water, mommy!" and "It's blue, it's blue!" A little girl with the cutest, tenderest voice, "I don't like the big waves, the big waves can carry me away SO easily!"

I am going to a wedding in Portland when I am there. This warms my soul for a plethora of reasons. I am delighted because it it is a wedding in general and even more that it is for Amber, that it is her day. I am delighted to see and be inside that particular temple again, that place where I have so many happy memories. I am excited to see Mieka in Portland as well, and Sheri. I miss each of them. I also want to go to Cottage Grove with April, and do the things we used to do. I want to go on our old drives, and have taco bell picnics at the lake, and lay on the soccer field by my old house and look at the stars and tell each other stories. I want to write cheesy poems and stay up for hours laughing. In Eugene I want to walk around the university's campus and remember how much I really do love the Ducks. I want to play board games with my sister and go to a book store with her and read children's books and love poems. There could be few things better.

I want to go to church on the coast, for I love Bishop Mitchell and his family, and then there is Anne and her baby girl I haven't met yet. I also hope I can see Anna Balcom. She is my muse. I want to hike the trail to the light house with Richard. I want to see the sea lions. I want to eat ice cream at my favorite ice cream place. I want to drink the water and breathe in the air, breathe it in so deeply for the purity of it. It hasn't been tainted yet. I want to take the time to think about the things I should think about, to ponder the way I am living my life, to determine how I may live it better and truer. I want to reorganize everything in my life. I want to write in my journal.

Further, today is Eden's birthday, and I am also thinking about that. It is her first birthday, where she will have her cake and eat it too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Bless everything. Bless bike rides and bike lights. Bless fake scar stories and predictions of hunting and harvesting. Bless Sunday and all that happened therein, with friends and crepes and church. Bless spiral staircases and the hospitality of a boy who offered us water only moments after returning from the grand tetons. Bless the funniest text message ever concerning the absence of pants. Bless that rather than putting pants on like promised the individual was wearing a bathrobe when we arrived.

Bless true confessions and Justin P. and 7th grade stories of Mrs. Mac and Sarah Freeman. Bless further stories of trash cans and confiscated notes and all of these things that I wish he would put in a movie. Bless laughing so hard I could not speak.

Bless Justin's prophecies concerning whom Kayte, Alicia, and I will marry that must necessarily be recorded for posterity. Kayte's husband will have back hair. Alicia's will look really good with a goatee. Mine will really like turkey sandwiches. When questioned regarding these prophecies he could only say that he knows people like each of us and their husbands have the characteristics he named. Now all I have to do is look for someone that likes turkey sandwiches, right? Thanks Justin!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

And now, each night I count the stars

And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

-Amiri Baraka

Works of Love, Baby!

"Your friend, your beloved, your child, or whoever is an object of your love has a claim upon an expression of it also in words if it actually moves you inwardly. The emotion is not your possession but belongs to the other; the expression is your debt to him, since in the emotion you indeed belong to him who moves you and you become aware that you belong to him... You should let the mouth speak out of the abundance of the heart; you should not be ashamed of your feelings and even less of honestly giving each one his due."

"There is no word in human language, not one single one, not the most sacred one, about which we are able to say: If a person uses this word, it is unconditionally demonstrated that there is love in that person... There is no work, not one single one, not even the best, about which we unconditionally dare to say: The one who does this uncoditionally demonstrates love by it. It depends on how the work is done."

"The commandment is that you shall love, but ah, if you will understand yourself and life, then it seems that it should not need to be commanded, because to love people is the only thing worth living for, and without this love you are not really living. "

-Soren K.