Monday, December 5, 2016

Charlie has been gone for five years today.

In memory of his ever present spirit, I returned to the Loop Trail in Discovery Park this morning. This is the trail where we first ran together upon moving to Seattle back in 2010. Snow had been in the forecast for the morning, but it was a cold rain that stung my face as I headed out. About three miles into the run, snow began to fall out on the bluff over Puget Sound. I wondered: could this be a sign from Charlie?

It didn't take me long to realize that indeed it was. Although I like to think of myself as being intrepid and self-motivated, indeed it was mostly Charlie that got me out of bed on dark cold mornings to run with the nocturnals and the mushroom hunters. He would lick my face at about 5 am imploring me to head out the door. And so it was this morning. I wanted to dedicate this run to him and were it not for him, I would have remained in bed and never saw the snow. So I was in the snow, in the muck, out taking pictures of the tree root I somersaulted over on our first run here, 

I still miss him so, but his spirit is strong with me. He helped me see the wonder of the world. He may not have sent the snow...but he sent me out to experience it and to know it was falling.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Records I Listened to Most Often in 2013

These were my ten favorite records of 2013. It was my good fortune to see many of these bands live in support of these recordings, including Typhoon, The National, Neko Case, and The Flaming Lips. Other memorable shows in 2013 were Jeff Tweedy, Nihls Frahm/Olafur Arnalds, Iron and Wine, Yo La Tengo (at Easy Street's Queen Anne location closing), Frightened Rabbit, Nada Surf, Death Cab for Cutie (surprise guest at Barsuk 15th anniversary kickoff), and Sharon Van Etten. It was a great year for music.

Typhoon - White Lighter
Lyrically, musically, from "Prelude" to "Post Script" the record I return to over and over. Beautiful truth.
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Laugh out loud sadness. An incredible show at the Paramount too.
Neko Case - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight...
Is there a theme here? Finding poetry in loss...another great performance at the Paramount
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
Surprising joy in this one.
Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle
Simple: Laura's voice.
Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic
I don't care how throw back it is...would sound good in any age. Can't wait to hear how Richard Swift influences Sharon's new record.
The Flaming Lips - The Terror
Dark, trippy, wonder.
Neil Young - Live at The Cellar Door
Impeccably recorded time capsule.
Volcano Choir - Repave
This one took a while to take hold, but once it did, it did. Seeing them in January 2014.
Arcade Fire - Reflektor
If only for ambition and a handful of tunes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Return of the Spork

After a long absence, I have been reunited with an old friend. To eat lunch with my spork is to recall my ascent of Mt. Whitney, that trip with Andy to the Channel Islands, camping with my daughter, adventures too numerous to count...all bound up in that featherweight utensil. Lately, I had been using this indispensable piece of backpacking gear to eat my lunch at work. Instead of wasting a disposable plastic spoon, I began relying on my spork. Then it was lost. Our crack cleaning crew had cleaned off my desk and, along with the moldy coffee cup, my spork entered the mysterious system that somehow results in restocked cupboards filled with personal mugs. It is always a scramble to find out where my favorite mug ends up. But my spork! I couldn't find it anywhere...for months. Until today, when my dear friend told me where it would be. Saving my life again. Over a simple mouth tool. Another tale for my spork to bind to its titanium tines.

Monday, August 10, 2009

To and Fro

for Sara turning twenty

Like most things regarding fatherhood,
It came to me accidentally
at the school playground.
Toddler you, on the swing,
born knowing what to do and
me, wordless, trying to find a way to make you laugh.
I forget now,
where you were in the arc:
to or fro?
Were you flying backwards while I said “stay back there!”
Or were you at my fingertips when I said “stay here!”
…knowing that neither was possible.

Now, still hoping the words come,
not sure to beckon you to leave or beseech you to stay.
Still concerned with happiness.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Longest Run

I am halfway through my marathon training program. Each week I look at what my schedule demands and each week I feel more and more confident that I can obey its commands. "14 mile easy run" was on the docket for this weekend. My longest run yet. The toughest three miles for me: the first one (always), the middle one, and the penultimate one. This was certainly true today, but still I finished strong, feeling I could have gone another two miles easily. But another twelve? Again I look to my schedule. I believe in my plan.
Chicago here I come.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Diseases of the Heart

Every day
thousands of us succumb.
Statistically, thirty-five percent of all deaths,
though it seems like so many more.
Self-diagnosed since high school,
since Donna really.
My diet doesn’t matter…
doesn’t alter the odds.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Unearthed sheaf of paper
from between books bound
for storage somewhere unseen.
Divorce is displacing them,
delivered behind rolling metal doors
and bulletproof locks.

A poem, then
discovered today
in a hand I recognize and
a voice that seemed resigned
to realize
that once in a lifetime trips
came far too often for my wife
even then
what continent was she on without me?

A poem about a load of dirt left at the side of the house.
Placed there by the shovel load
with no other place to go.
We moved it from one side to the other
farthest from the gate,
years before.


Now it is not much of anything really.
A dirt path alongside the house.
I planted some things there once,
roots I thought might know the soil
Spread some pebbles too
from an unknown river.
Watered occasionally.

Amazing things really:
dirt, water, sun.

That sideyard could deal with neglect.
I spent more time there than most anywhere else
in that house.

I had cleared it
over the course of two nights
Scoop by scoop
Into the pickup truck
and to the town dump