Saturday, July 19, 2008


High on my list of favorite things is the call of the first bird of the morning. One bird sings in the distance and then another a little closer and then the forest is a cacophany of song. It stirs the depths of my being like a prehistoric force answering to the first alarm clock - the bird. Usually I don't hear it because my body doesn't seem to subscribe to the prehistoric force; it likes to sleep later, but occasionally I arise early and hear that sweet first bird call and love every single note it sings.
We live in the last swath of old growth forest on the West Side of Portland, Oregon that is privately owned by individuals. If one were to look at a satellite view of our home you could see the shining green swath looking like a huge punctuation mark on the map. All of the other green spaces are owned by corporations or the city. These are the only homes left that have towering trees above them and small creeks running below. These are the homes untouched by massive developers that devoid the land of trees, those precious oxygen rich beings that keep us breathing. Most of us aren't even aware that it is the trees that give us most of our oxygen. Lawns: they just look pretty and contribute to global warming with big lawn mowers and exhaust, plus they contribute to pollution with chemicals to keep them looking glowing, as well as use up water resources. Trees: they survive on their own, give shade, and allow the ferns to grow beneath them. For fertilizer they drop their leaves every year and let the slugs and bugs grind them up to be used again in a never ending process. The birds like the setting. It is beautiful and it has been my most honored privilege to live here for the last twelve years. Keep on singing first bird...


When I write and can't think of anything to write I follow the Natalie Goldberg advice, "Keep the hand moving." When I don't want to exercise and I need to I follow my own advice, "The body dies unless it keeps moving." That is not the kind of moving I am talking about. We are physically moving from one city to another. Moving from a 3000 sq. ft. home on 1/3 of an acre adjoining many other acreages that are all unfenced and a bit of heaven to a 2 bedroom apartment a little bit over 900 sq. ft. We are being so drastic so that we can try to sell our Portland, Oregon home in a bad market. So the plan goes like this: 1/3 of the stuff goes to storage, 1/3 of the stuff goes to our apartment and 1/3 of the stuff stays here so our home is "staged", the modern term for making a house look like a model home from a magazine. None of the stuff of personality is supposed to stay. It all has to look like we are sparse interior decorators who just love to look at 19 foot ceilings with nothing in the way. The real intention is to not distract the potential buyers from actually seeing the house, as opposed to seeing the STUFF.
All of that stuff I mentioned...We have also thrown away or given away about 1/3 of it. It is amazing beyond comprehension how one can accumulate things and never notice that the nooks and crannies are filling up. It is a slow and devious process that begins to take over a home and pretty soon the corners are screaming to be seen again, but the stuff keeps them silent. Not any more! The stuff that is accompanying us to Seattle, Washington is the stuff we really want plus the stuff that we didn't have time to sort through. Little does it (the stuff) know that I now know how to be ruthless. My husband and I have called each other Ruth and Les. I'll ask, "what to you think?" and he'll reply, "Ruth!", so I throw it away. You know the flip question and answer, don't you.
Our movers come in three days and I'm awake at 4:30 in the morning with my head swimming with overload. What do I think about, you ask. One would suppose that worry would be flooding my mind with the impending due date on preparation. Nope! The beginnings of a way to put three different stories into one has pushed its way through the thoughts of stuff and is running rampant. I have tucked it away into my file of things to write about and now I'm attacking a corner of stuff that has been eluding me. I'll get you my dearies.....!