Wild River (August 13, 1997)

Jerry puffed on his Marlboro. A raven swooshed down from behind, alighting on an old fir stump maybe 50 yards across the tiny meadow. The bird shook its sleek, jet wings, drawing them along its body like someone pulling up the covers against a chill. Jerry moved carefully to the trunk of the car, keeping […]

Learning Curve

[Ed note: We were saddened to learn that our long-time correspondent, Bruce Brady, died on Wednesday, July 17th, at a care home in Oregon. Bruce taught English for many years at Laytonville High School. We remember him by printing an essay Bruce wrote in 2010.] The social history of Laytonville High School is of interest […]

Denial Ain’t Just A River

All a person really has to do is to listen closely to the lyrics to America the Beautiful, as my i-Pod lets me do here, to sense how very far we have come in just the last month or two. As I write, perhaps three, perhaps more (who knows?) nuclear reactors may be going totally […]

Outrageous Fortune

Physically, psychically, and in every other way my thesaurus can describe, Oak Street in downtown Eugene is a very long way from the nearest killing field. This has been true since the folks who arrived in the wagons dis­mantled the old native cultures 170 years ago. Out in the desert beyond the Cascades, you can […]

Woot, Woot!

Somehow, losing the world should have been harder, but much of the ride was exhilarating, even fun. It feels like this to be in the car that’s crested the first long climb on the roller coaster to the place where every fiber of your being still tuned to survival begins to understand the empty sky […]

Have You Ever Heard a One-Eyed Woman Cry

Why does the blues make us happy? What does it mean that an octopus apparently needs to be smarter than, say, a red ant? How do fish and birds turn like that, all together? Why don’t we have tails? Don’t zero and infinity sometimes amount to the same thing?

Battering Pollyanna

I am amazed that I have never even been in an Oldsmobile. Cadillacs, Gremlins, Jaguars, GMCs — I even drove a Ferrari once — but not a nanosecond in an Oldsmobile. This is to acknowledge the plain fact that my understanding of America is necessarily lim­ited. Likewise, I have never been to Missouri or to […]

Pass The Red-Tail

The sun was setting, so the light was dim in the woods, but I could see his face well enough, especially with the fire so bright in the foreground. Age-wise, I could have been the father to any of them, but I was responsible in that way for only one, and as recall, she was […]

The Perfect Game

My wife and I recently took a 3,100 mile trip through a piece of the American Southwest: Highway 50 (“the loneliest road in America” — debatable) through the basin and range country of Nevada to Arches and Canyonlands; four days with friends near Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, and Shiprock, to Zion by […]