Category Archives: Memories

Eyes to the Sky

Late July, that’s when we first became aware of it, the long light of summer. Rays of late evening sun promising fewer hotter days to come. In the evening the grass cooled, and the world around refreshed itself for a short time before night fall.

I made my way to the chicken coop, an old dilapidated construction of old church board and corrugated tin. It had been opened to the south to serve as a loafing barn; and in an effort to protect the animals after several “murders”  was reinforced with two interior cages. A plastic pool for bathing and drinking completed the estate known as Fort Francis and Snow White’s Castle.

Each night I made my way to the coop just before the last rays of sun slipped behind the woods in the north west. From the west window of Fort Francis, looking south through the coop I saw Francis himself. Still. Looking upwards, his head tilted to the left. I took a few more steps; cautious and curious. Then I saw Cindy, Razor Beak, Mo’Kah, and Gray Wing all looking up with their heads tilted in various bird positions. A hawk? I looked up and saw nothing in the sky.

I continued slowly and what I saw as I rounded the southwest corner of the coop was a new visitor. She raised her head slowly. “Oh, hello.” I said softly to the young doe sipping water from the pool, only five feet away from me. Without any sort of start, the deer turned and walked into the woods. The birds themselves, the chickens and ducks, seemed almost as amazed as I was. She was really beautiful. And I wondered how long they had been watching her.

Time for bed little guys.


Hello Goodbye

On the night before I decided to leave you, I told you that I had no desire to ever leave. For eight years I cared for you, and I loved you as a cherished friend, and together we cared for our friends. They visited us. They shared their lives with us through friendship, nurturing and pain. They stayed, and they called our home their own. My love for you was eternal.

I never cheated on you, and you never offered me more than your beauty, your history, your story, your tenderness in an ever changing world. You, my hearth, my demanding and giving place to call Home.

Life, they say, is what happens when you are making plans. And Life, in an instant, changed us forever.  I knew that it would change you more than me. I knew that your charm would fade. Your tenderness would disappear.Your ties to our friendships would dissolve and be gone. You would become cold and efficient. Productive. Perhaps, to another’s eyes, you would become beautiful and cared for, but you would change dramatically for sure.

Now, one year later, I stop by to collect the remaining pieces of our past together. You are still a part of my past; but you are not a part of my future. I see the vision of your new caretakers; efficiency, productivity,industrialism, profit, and a different sort of caring.

Gone, the habitat of the animals that lived among your hedgerows and bramble. Gone, the hedgerows created by 175 years of farmers’ toil; now buried from the future. Maybe someday they will be resurrected again. Goodbye to the 150 year old apple trees I tended in the memory of those who tended them before me. Gone the branches for birds to nest, nooks for squirrels and raccoon. Gone, the little creatures that fed and were fed upon between the stones, vines, branches and grasses. No more place for the foxes and groundhogs. They must follow the coyotes to a new place, and hunt on livestock or for pets in their new homes.

Goodbye, to where my little hens roosted, the home of ducks that danced each morning to greet the day. Goodbye to the home of countless swallows; I’m sorry you flew so far to see your home locked and shuttered. Goodbye to the grave of my pal Arthur. You are with Ra, in the heavens, resting in His rays of sunlight. I can only tend to your grave in my thoughts.

Hello, Mayfarm Goodbye.


Welcome Home!

The plane descends, seat belts are fastened and chair backs are returned to their “Upright and locked position”. The mountain appears and the plane banks north to land. Welcome home.

There are places where the heart beats a little quicker, where emotion and memory surface; sometimes tears well. Welcome home. I saw this once while landing in Buenos Aires. I was looking out of the window on approach and a passenger said to me, “It must be like a vacation for you.” No, I replied, it’s like coming home, I looked to a woman across the aisle beside me as she wiped tears from her eyes. Welcome home, I said to her.

My heart beat faster when I would leave Miami in the early morning hours just before sunrise; something about leaving that sexy town that I called home at sunrise got to me. And for the eight years I lived in Canada? Nothing. Nothing on approach, nothing on landing and nothing on taxi in. Nothing.

It puzzled me at first; but then I passed through the doors of Canada Customs into the terminal and saw my countrymen, diverse, expectant, reserved, waiting for their loved ones. My eyes welled with tears and I say, “Hello Canada! I’ve missed you!” and people would look at me funny; some smiled. I said that for eight years, and I say it still, when I return. And when I leave Canada I say the words of a young passenger as the plane turned onto the runway. “Goodbye Canada, we love you.”

I’m back in Seattle now. It’s been about a year. And the funny thing about my return? My friends, none of them, welcomed me back. They welcomed me home. And after an eight year absence, one filled with great experiences in a fascinating country, I’m back to the city I have held close since I first laid eyes on her in 1972. This is the city of my dreams. “Seattle has always been good to you Steve.” said my ex.  And it is the city that will always welcome me home.