Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Howard Prairie; above Ashland, Oregon

 Knowing that the school year would soon be starting again was the final push needed to get my family, and my friends to set a date and rent a campsite and finally do the camping trip we've been promising since May.  Our children were babies together in he same sweet, grandma Daycare and lived more like siblings who just did sleepovers in different houses, but now they are graduating, starting lives independently and it all begins in two days, so we had to go, NOW if we were to do it together.
trees growing in landslide area
 of course, we never do adventures without miscues and false starts, so our camping van, with lots of room for food and tents and people, lost it's brakes and we had to load the small car.  Then 40 minutes from home, after being cramped into the tiny back seat with a cooler that kept falling on me at each corer, we realized we had forgotten the tent, we turned around, but the lost time meant the whole trip was then in a major line of RV's and cars filled with people who drive slow and were heading the same place as us.
Getting those legs ready for hiking?
 We stopped at our friends house, 127 miles from ours, and took a brief, air conditioned break.  We have lived at 58* this whole summer, so the 97* felt brutal.  Then up to the campground at Howard prairie.  I love it there, but the 4,700 foot elevation and higher temperature had me breathless with every exertion, unless I was swimming in the lake.

My Beautiful Husband

The Reservoir at the camping area was created when Beaver Creek, in the Klamath River watershed, was damed.  The Lake is stocked with Trout and Bass and has sailboats, jet skis and motorboats and swimmers using it heavily.  It is 80 feet deep at its maximum and the average surface area is 1,990 acres.  The campground is too manicured to be anything near primitive, and there is a marina, showers and a restaurant with amazing food, even a camp WiFi.  It may not be rustic, but you still get to eat ashes, and smell lie woodsmoke and wander around under stars and wake inside your tent.  It was a great place to be with family.

 Some of the scenery was so breathtakingly beautiful, but interpreted differently by the various members of our group.  I, grown up around Yellowstone, still see the trees there as huge and towering over the camp.  My children, raised in the redwoods were talking about how small the trees are.

Mt. McLoughlin

 Sunsets were softly beautiful and came on fast!  the darkness invited sitting around a campfire and sharing memories and trying to tell really bad jokes.
Angel Fire

 I am not a morning person, althou my job makes me pretend to be, but I might be, if this is where I woke up every day to the crisp, fresh air and the light filtering down through the trees.
Morning View

Lake Steaming in the AM

This root was begging for a fern to be planted there.

 I don't know why scrubbing pans with water warmed by a fire is so much more restful than standing at a sink with instantly hot water.  I don't know why being dirty feels so good in the open air, and food that I'd never look at at home is delicious there.  I just know that it is true.

 Here the light filtered past all the older trees, gently spotlighting the youngest tree there.

No, I didn't get to go down the slide.

But I did get to swim, and then walked out along the handicapped fishing pier, and sat at the end, to read, and dry while the chipmunk darted out, checking for food and watching to see if I would suddenly have any.                                                                 

While I sat and read, he begged to be fed

 Yes, school starts, yes I had to return, somewhat gratefully, to the cool fog belt I call home, but the blue sky and warm friendship and fresh air have refreshed my spirit in a way that I knew they would, even while I was cussing the effort involved in packing and the time away from the "to-do list"

Well nothing un-done on that list has caused me any grief.

Beautiful People

No one else looks at these three and still sees babies, but I do

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Memory of Cody Raben

Dear Cody,

The last time I saw you, you were a young Father - hopeful but exhausted.  Nervous but proud.  Attentive and eager and yet overwhelmed.  I remember watching you as you rode away on your bike, thinking I'd see you again soon, hoping you were going to finally have an easier time of it.
Loving you was easy, you always had a sense of warmth and humor

but your life was anything but easy

so much of how you lived and how you were born was determined by the saturation of alcohol in the lives of the people around you.

And now you are dead, stepping out of the dying light with a cooler filled with lunch fixings and beer, into the path of a train, taking your final breath so quickly and then gone

Yet your memory is here, wrapped up in all of us who loved you and still do.  I remember you as the exuberant child flinging yourself into my boyfriend's arms when he brought me home to meet the family, and as the exhausted, lonely boy sucking your thumb and curling in on yourself to sleep on the living room floor while the grown-ups reconnected at family reunions.
This is the smile I loved

You, in Vertical stripes

You were the star on the top of this family tree

Your children have your beauty

I don't remember you this young, but the stories I heard and the pictures I saw made me feel like I'd known you from the first, and when I married your uncle, it was you who made me welcome and made me an Aunt for the first time.

you, far right, and me in the rear, middle at Wendy and John's Wedding

When the other grandkids started arriving, you were already grown, and they had a life so much more abundant than yours, but you were never jealous or hateful, but gave them your attention and love from the start
Your High school Graduation with you Mom and grandparents
I know that wherever you go now, wherever that joyful, enthusiastic spark that was most YOU, gets carried - you will define it with your love and laughter, and as your children grow they will know your love and look at the world through your eyes.

God Speed Spook - Rest in peace

Aunt Dixie