9/20/2020 – Fresh air again

Sun out today, white clouds, blue sky, it looks the way it should.

Today we are going to actually do something.
Today we are going to the coast.

Today when I woke up I felt so helpless- thinking about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and all the political turmoil that is part of the way we live now, spiraling down through conspiracy theories of my own regarding the complete fall of our democracy bit by bit throughout this administration, and how it will go on if the election fails again.

And Covid, and wildfires, and the fact that I can’t hug my son, and seeing my daughter is risky…a whirling spiral life of anxiety….and I am priveliged to take a break but cannot really, though I have my home, my town – safe places for the most part, for now…

I woke too early, at 6 am with these thoughts. I opened Facebook and there my friend Helen was posting in the wee hours last night about her own anxiety, her fears. And so many people told her she was not alone, they shared her fears.

I am sitting here in the sun in my kitchen window, watching the post-wildfire-smoke neighborhood come back to life. We donated money to political, food assistance and wildfire relief organizations. We are going to take some long walks on the beach this week, and clear our brains a bit, return refreshed and newly ready to proceed under the most stressful circumstances of this year, do whatever we need to do, whatever comes next. I hope.

September – wildfires and smoke

September began with a heat wave, too hot for hiking. I went on my usual walks through the neighborhood, noting the late summer flowers and early signs of fall.

And I finished sewing my summer kimono robe.

We were planning some adventures after the Labor Day weekend, when the trails would be quieter. Instead, quite literally, all hell broke loose. In my last post, I expressed my “hope for a late summer without a local fire season.” I could never have predicted the late summer snowstorm in the Rockies that created an ‘unprecedented’ giant windstorm that swept westward across the continent, fanning the flames of wildfires in every combustible forest on the west coast of North America. We were safe at home, watching in horror, as the news kept getting worse.

Satellite photos from September 11th show the smoke being pulled far out to sea:

After the winds died down, the heavy smoke settled in, limiting visibility, and making breathing painful. We learned how to use the AirNow app to monitor our air quality, constantly refreshing the page, hoping for better results.

For six days I did not go out of doors at all – grateful to have a safe home to harbor in, knowing there were so many families evacuated, and many with their homes burned. Many have still not been able to return; meanwhile the firefighters, Red Cross, and all the social support services have stepped up to aid those in need. I have only gone out once, so far, to pick up a prescription and some groceries. Nobody is walking our neighborhood streets – the air has been too bad. Today it finally shows signs of improvement, and we may be able to step out in the next day or two.

September 16th – our first glimpse of the sun in more than a week.


Once again, knitting to the rescue. I have had time to finish a few projects:

And make progress on other projects:

Awake and say
“What time is it?
What day is it? What season?”
No sun,
but not dark,

End of summer in a strange year
when all the cues are gone,
and now gone again.
Most things closed down again.
Wildfire smoke blankets our part of the planet.
Fall approaches, but is it the fall of our civilization? Or autumn?
Invisible viruses still pervade the air.
Not quite invisible smoke particles dim our sight, harm our lungs.

A metaphor for the insidious gloom covering our entire nation in an unprecedented election year, the outcome to determine how we will breathe going forward.


Eleven Lakes and a bear in Indian Heaven Wilderness, and more pandemic knitting

We took two hikes in Indian Heaven Wilderness, a beautiful patch of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest between Mt Adams and Mt St Helens in southern Washington. A few small volcanic peaks rise above the rolling forested landscape that is also spotted with dozens of lakes, and covered with ripe huckleberry bushes in August.

Image 9-3-20 at 2.55 PM

August 20, 2020 – Indian Racetrack Lake and Red Mountain


Trailhead into the forest


Racetrack Lake – the only lake on this hike


Looking Across Racetrack Meadow to Red Mountain


View of Mt Adams on the way up to Red Mountain


Closer view of Mt Adams,


And closer.


Nearing the top of Red Mountain

Views from the top:

Mt Hood beyond Red Mountain Lookout


We climbed up to the viewing platform on the lookout.


Some other hikers pointed out a bear cub down on the other side of the mountain, eating huckleberries.


Looking back east at Mt Adams – clouds now covering the top


Mt St Helens to the north


And starting down again, we can see our trail dropping into the woods, and beyond we see the spine of Indian Heaven Wilderness: Berry Mountain, Gifford Peak, burned East Crater, and Lemei Rock.

Some details along the trail:

Lily pads and grass, Racetrack Lake


Falls Creek

Hike #57, 6.8 miles, 1500 feet

August 28, 2020 – Thomas Lake trailhead to Junction Lake

The other ten lakes were seen on this hike.


Once again we enter the forested wilderness…


Thomas Lake


Heather Lake


Dee Lake


Eunice Lake


Nuha Lake


Rock Lakes


Unnamed lake beyond Rock Lakes


View of burnt East Crater from the Old Cascade Crest trail segment


A glimpse of Mt St Helens as we cross the shoulder of East Crater


Unnamed lake near the trail junction


Junction Lake, our turnaround point

Some details along the trail:

Reflections in the lakes…



Huckleberry bushes turning red


Mountain ash berries




Most likely the last beargrass bloom of summer


And another view of Mt St Helens above Eunice Lake on the descent.


Hike #58, 6.8 miles, 630 feet.

Meanwhile, we are floating along through more days of pandemia – some days we see no one at all, only virtual connections to the outside world. Our neighbors leave us tomatoes. We leave them apples and plums and wave across the rose bushes. Downtown is still burning up with civil unrest while I go on placidly through the days of late summer, of pandemia, of this administration… I virtually hold my breath, knock on wood, pray, cast spells, wish for a begin to a return to ‘normalcy’; hope for a late summer without a local fire season, hope for a scientifically tested efficacious vaccine, and hope for a fair election that will allow us to emerge from impending climate change, covid and facism. And I knit…

Knitting –

I cast on a hat and some socks…


Rafa by Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo, Blue green


Sock, Berroco Sox yarn

Neighborhood sights:


fern shadows


Poetry Post


yard sign


neighborly tomatoes

And nationally…

My daughter attended the 57th March on Washington,

Image 9-2-20 at 3.23 PM

The march

Image 9-2-20 at 3.22 PM

Lincoln Memorial


The Mall

-and this artwork crossed my social media feed:


I am still struggling a bit with the new WordPress format….