Pike’s Peak floats among the clouds…

Off to Raleigh (Walter the namesake pictured above), North Carolina for a little work and R & R of the pleasantly green and humid variety. I have never been so gobsmacked by a tree canopy in my life, dear peeps, even after sixteen years in the Pacific Wonderland of Oregon. That is saying something, y’all!

Not having traveled much in the South, I was thoroughly delighted by the place. I have never seen such diversity (black, white, Muslim, Asian, Indian, Latinx, LGBTQ!) and was SUPER grateful not to witness any overt bigotry or racism. I’ve been sickened by more Confederate Flags in the West than in Raleigh, and in case you’re wondering, we didn’t see a one. Progress! Raleigh seems to have made great strides, with many a sign boasting “Y’all means ALL!” and other forms of welcome. It made my heart happy!

Another reason to be happy – our super conveniently located digs, walking everywhere in this post and logging more than twenty miles over the course of our stay!

Morgan Street Food Hall – a mad collection of  bomb-diggity food truck-style vendors – indoors and out of the weather. The Food Court of my mall strolling youth taken to great heights.. Yup.

Great art, too!

O M G – the Hot fried chicken and mac bowl at Iyla’s Southern Kitchen was ALL the things with perfect pickle slices on top. Not pictured: the hubster’s shrimp and grits – the best we’ve ever tasted!

Bittersweet – we tried the Paris Fizz and Strong island and were not disappointed!

Short bed. Warm night.

Porch coffee

The finest aspect, by far, had to be the humid green, positively redolent of jasmine, magnolia, and rose. How lovely to have spring rain without the cold, too, as I had grown so accustomed to in Portland, frequently lamenting the need for a turtle neck well into June!

We also learned about the tomato and vinegar BBQ divide, and while the meat was perfectly cooked at Clyde Cooper’s (and piled sky-high!), the super tang of vinegar had us falling firmly in the tomato camp.

Saw some pretty talented artists’ work at artspace. Bought a lovely piece, too!

More Friday…

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Aimless

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

Billy Collins

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Oh, gosh, the pleasure of early morning! The first beams of light and bird song. Last year’s planning and planting is really making itself apparent. Every one is bigger and mostly thriving, though the bomb cyclone did have its casualties. I will be replanting milk weeds, mostly, and every bud on our witch hazel froze, which translates to no flowers, no lovely spicy scent! I did wonder if it was even alive after that beating, but the leaves are coming out, so huzzah! It can always be worse.

We really seem to be on top of the weed situation this year – always so many – which feels wonderful and easy compared to our first two. Did I mention how much work that was? HA! So very, very much. We still have big plans, building an arbor, a raised bed for sunflowers, adding more mulch and gravel now that it’s settled, more shrubs and flowers and trees. It goes and grows.

How wonderful it all is, too, and made better by the fact that there is time to enjoy it, sipping and squinting with our girl.

 

Jett

Had a super fun time with our nephew Jett this week! He was working locally and bunked at our place. We ate a lot and nearly drank our weight in boba tea!

These were the last photos I took of him, some seven years ago, when he was shorter than me, so it was about time we updated that situation.

He’s since graduated from high school and started work as an electrician’s apprentice. Greg and I are super proud of his accomplishments an even more so of his humanity. He’s a wonderful person with a great sense of humor. We love you, Jett!

 

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Festooned

There is a between place. The trees know it. It happens at dusk at that perfect moment between light and dark, when the air is festooned with shadows and the atmosphere is heavy with possibility. Here things are in balance, the world is a slate, without even the slightest tracings of the scarred markings you used to believe dictated the way of things.

John Mantooth

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