Marking Time with Sunflowers

Dear Liza,

We woke up this morning to some really cool air wafting though our windows! Fall is definitely on its way, and I am happy for it. With this endless summer finally ready to pack it in, I am assured that time is passing.

And if we keep moving forward, eventually we will get somewhere else.

So I celebrate the sunflowers. These magnificent beasts spend the spring shooting into the sky and the summer tracking the sun. And come fall, they lay their heavy heads down and make a feast for birds. One could do worse.

I know your world in Salinas is very smoky just now, from the fires in the hills west of town. I hope you have some sunflowers in your neighborhood, and I hope you get some nice rain soon.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Heading Towards the Solstice

Dear Liza,

It is getting dark really early here. This coming Saturday will be the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest day (and longest night) of the year. Yesterday, it was pitch dark at 4:30. I am missing those long warm days of summer!

But winter has its own charms. Hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps… snuggling Mousekin by the fire… and the colors I see when I make myself get off the sofa, into three layers of clothes, and into the park.

There are just a few plants that are still green. Out-of-place transplants like magnolias and fuchsias look embarrassed, like they got into the party under false pretenses. Pines and firs keep their needles. Maples and birches drop their leaves in a well practiced dance. And ivy just hangs around, leaves intact, like it hasn’t noticed it is winter. Like if the ivy just ignores it long enough, winter will go away.

And guess what? This strategy works!

Every single year, the winter eventually GOES AWAY! So, I will try to emulate the ivy. Lay low, hunker down, and out last the winter.

Peppermint schnapps will help, I have no doubt.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Three Hundred!!

IMG_2596.jpg
Family

Dear Liza,

I started writing this blog as a way to stay in touch with you and my friends in Salinas after I moved up to Portland. I thought I would write a little, get bored, and quit….like I usually do.

IMG_0125.jpg
Fall

IMG_1527.jpg
Summer

But Portland is such an interesting place that I keep finding things to write about. Today, as a matter of fact, is my 300th post. Three hundred adventures. Three hundred stories.

Portland is a big city, and has big city problems, like anywhere. The housing costs are high and homeless people struggle to get by. Trash and noise can be a nuisance. And if you are driving, there will eventually be traffic that frustrates you.

IMG_5118.jpg
Spring

But there are also kind people and missions that help the homeless folks. Groups adopt neighborhoods to pick up trash. And transit is good enough that if you don’t want to drive, you don’t have to.

IMG_1856.jpg
Art

And the benefits of this lovely city are enormous. Art. Music. Parks. Art and music in parks! Food and drink and coffee and pastries.

IMG_1475.jpg
Winter

And the reason I can enjoy all of this is because I am not working. Working, besides being…well, work, takes up an enormous amount of time. Days and days of NOT getting to walk at random and stop when you feel like it. Evenings of being so tired you can’t even think of an adventure.

Being at liberty is such a joy and privilege that sometimes I feel like I’m cheating.

But maybe if I share it with you I can share some of the joy, and feel less selfish.

img_2309.jpg
You never know who you’ll meet at Lone Fir Cemetery

Love,

Grandma Judy