July 2016

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Another glad to be back post for you! We saw Dolly Parton at Red Rocks on Wesdnesday, rolling along home at 1:15 in the AM Thursday morning, a late, late, late night for this pair who is usually in bed before ten.

Hoot and holler was it worth it! I got an awesome hat! I got to see a concert at Red Rocks, the first in twenty-one years. Though I thought it was Pearl Jam we last saw before remembering it was actually Lyle Lovett on the day Jerry Garcia died. He soulfully sang Friend of the Devil to wild applause as his first song, and it made a deep impression, just not a chronological one.

Like much of the past seven months since our return, it brought a whole host of memories streaming back, hanging out with friends, waiting for the music to start, watching wild lightning, getting dumped on, burning in the heat. The shows, of course, the shows! My very first was INXS, in 1986, fifteen years old, thinking I was so cool. Then all the bands: Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Doobie Brothers, Sinead O’Connor, The Sugarcubes, New Order, P.I.L., Harry Connick Jr., Pearl Jam, and that Lyle Lovett show, too. All of them like it weren’t no thang, when, dammit, it’s Red Rocks – the greatest concert venue in the world! Beautiful, magical, insert a million top-shelf adjectives. Oh, yes.

And then there was Dolly. My goodness, Dolly Parton, seventy years old and kicking ass on the concert stage! Her heart and mind, warm, open, and funny, telling stories. No other band, just her small troupe of fellas that have been with her forever. She played a saxophone, strummed guitar and banjo, picked a dulcimer, blew the harmonica, and tickled the ivories – so many instruments! Her voice the best instrument of all, clear and beautiful and fine. The woman is a national treasure.

Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.

Amelia Earhart

We saved EVERY cardboard box to come into our possession for more than four months before fashioning a gigantic wonky quilt (you’re seeing about a tenth of it), bound with newspaper saved over the same amount of time. There goes my first shovel from a pile as tall as me. There, too, hopefully, go the weeds underneath, to make room for the beautiful above.




The deepest thing we can learn about nature is not how it works, but that it is the poetry of survival.

John Fowles

Happy Birthday, Buddy! I love you more than ever.



Photos from a doubly grand Saturday. We rode our bikes downtown to pick up a new helmet (pink!) and light (old school headlamp!) for me, so I may ride in both safety and style. It’s my thing. I am love, love, loving being able to bike again. Pittsburgh, unless you live in a very specific part of town, is not an easy or desirable place to ride. Too many narrow streets with crazy-madcap hills, lunatic parked cars and equally maniacal drivers does not make for a positive experience. No siree. So we never replaced our Portland bikes. But now, boy howdy, whoop-ti-do, we are at it again, on wide boulevards, gentle hills, and our own bike lanes, and it is grand, just grand.

We followed our biking adventure with a hot afternoon hike in the Nature Conservancy Aiken Canyon. Long-time supporters, it is always a treat to visit the preserves, feeling our contributions help make it possible. We enjoyed spying the usual floral suspects, even eating some of the red skunk bush berries, which were oily and tart. We also wondered who spied upon us, as there was bobcat, wolf, and fox scat, quite a lot of it on the ground, and bird after bird singing their lively tunes. It was a heady windy day, and I decided, most affirmatively, that heaven is the scent of pine and cedar, whipping along in the air, on my hands, cone thrust under my nostrils with me lustily exclaiming, “That smell!” The best (next to the hubster’s cheek). Definitely.

Now it is storming, sheets of rain rippling in the wind to fill the streets, windows open to better hear the cracks of thunder. Another great day!



My grief is a hollow

Sometimes inside.

Sometimes out.

A feeling that rises.

A spot on the chair, waiting for me to sit.

Other times, it darts, wild attack from around the corner.

Hell from on high. M e r c i l e s s.

Me sobbing — hideous, maudlin.

It has tender moments, too.

The gentle prodding of memories during sleep.

Soft purrs. Voices. Scents. A taste on the tongue.

It’s true what Daddy says.

The dead N E V E R leave us.

Colleen Sohn



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