Sunday, August 12, 2018

Summer Sizzle

Long days riding above Northwest Oregon's average temperatures have given me reason to label this summer as sizzling. Oddly, though, my body isn't rebelling. Where I once fretted at any temperature above 80, with general preference for 70-75 (still my preference, truth be told), I now effectively shrug my shoulders at 90-95. I won't claim to relish the hotter days, but I function comfortably enough.

Probably a good thing. This may become our new normal. And the fires. Once again the western half of the United States rises in flames -- while the eastern half drowns. Smoke tints sunrise and sunset in burnt orange while masking any hopes of mountain views.

Such was my experience during a recent visit to central Oregon where those mountains were merely vague, ghostly images on the horizon - if that. The stars still stunned and delighted me at night, out there away from the far too many lights of suburban Portland. I'd almost forgotten the power of such a view -- only wishing I could have slept beneath the stars as I'd once done when younger, watching for those star-streakers, this being the time of Perseid Meteor Shower.

My days spent biking, hanging out with family by the cabin, by lakes, exploring lava caves. Here's a poem that came to me as I sat on the deck one afternoon, listening to my surroundings.

Music of the Wind

Begins as a distant low rumble
this song of the wind
traveling through the trees,
each needle played for its special
sound, the music blending, growing,
harmonics picked up along the way
until its very present crescendo,
full bore sound and whipped up air
wraps around the cabin, 
makes nearby trees sway, and sends
waves of wild air across my body
where I sit, reading, in the shade.

by judy beaston
August 2, 2018

Saturday, November 19, 2016

In Search of Truth


Is There a Future For Truth?

Another day dances around me
skirt swirls but reveals little,
a tango with trouble
while hip-hop artists
settle on the side
composing countermeasures
in rap words insufficient
to conjure change
rescind dangerous elements;

always the way—the bards sing
truth but the world hears dissonance,
misses the message
shrugs off harmonious resolve
blinded instead by glam & glitter
of ominous forces
whose words rasp toxic
like a cheese grater on the brain
dismantling too many
of their final connections
to empathy, compassion, respect

tone-deaf now to truth
they hear lies as reality
a song without chords, a drone
from the dark side of everything
including this day
now dancing into the shadows
bereft of confidence, no guarantees
her dance numbers allowed
more rounds in sunlight.

by judy Beaston
November 18, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Autumn Splendor

October Gift

A full day of sunshine
on a Saturday
with near peak fall colors
around every bend in the road
and I
breathe deeply,
immerse body, mind soul
in the fragrance of Autumn.

by judy Beaston
October 22, 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Revision Process

Thoughts on Revision:

Keep the buttons, save
strong stitches,
remove the lint
between phrases
where story importance resides;

catch darlings,
those phrases, sentences,
lines loved "too much"
considered clever,
special and likely not
an enhancement;

weave through, locate
'ing' words, weak cheaters
they steal emotion's thunder,
deny readers access to subtext
or intricate details present
for close inspection like lace on a bodice;

ignore not those adverbs sprinkled
like fancy seasonings, a few perhaps nice
while abundance hides true flavor;

now review this "new" story, perhaps
recognize with delight the light
wakened from below the surface.

The story is ready for final edits.

by judy Beaston
March 6, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I am
but a drop of water
falling through a rain forest
landing on a single leaf
of a large tree

but even I am important
to the life of that tree
and the existence of that community

I am a part of the bigger whole
each drop and each plant
weaving our energy
into existence

We're all connected
We're all part of ONE

by judy Beaston
February 6, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Opening The Door Marked '65'

There's a joke I've heard in various versions over the years, the gist of it being that the way to reach any age is by waking up alive on the date in question. Today my human body has journeyed around the sun for a total of sixty-five years.

I remember viewing sixty-five as both a destination and the start of old age, the decline of life. It was a destination, back when I was in my twenties and thirties, because that was the enforced age of retirement. It still is, in many industries, though as more and more folks cannot afford to stop working, REAL retirement might not happen until age seventy or maybe not until death descends.

When my parents reached their sixties, they seemed to count the days to my dad's retirement. His final few years on the job were challenging. Management wanted young blood and curtailed his ability to be the experienced, wise adjunct to the department -- a benefit not a detriment. Nowadays, more companies do understand the benefits of experience, but not then. Or so it seemed. They tried to convince him to take early retirement and eventually he did leave earlier than originally planned. The release from stress was worth it, I think.

Then came the adjustments. For my mom, adjustments to a routine that counted on personal free time and not having anyone underfoot. But soon they were scheduling adventures. They went golfing, took trips to visit all four children who now lived far from home. My sister and her son had returned home and became their built-in house sitter while they traveled. Free at last to spread their wings and relax.

My perceptions about age sixty-five shifted. It still seemed "old" but also held the promise of experiencing the world without attachments to a daily job, competition for promotions and the complications of children.

Now I've opened the door marked "65" and, no surprise, the room on the other side appears the same as the room I'm leaving.

I've been semi-retired for several years. When my daughter was born, I became a stay-at-home mom. I worked part-time after both children were in school and then the marriage relationship came undone. Complications related to our son, mostly, left me unable to assume a full-time job and after so many years home with family, my resume was sorely lacking in anything that would interest employers in fields that once suited my college education.

When separation led to divorce, I believed the stories I told myself about older folks (older here being anything over fifty) not welcomed in the marketplace. AND, ten years ago, that was reality compared to changes since that time. These days there are too many baby boomers needing to find new work or to continue working. They've elicited changes, convinced businesses that their skills and stability made them desirable employees.

But I decided it was time to seek out what I'd never been able to pursue earlier in my life -- creative expression, particularly writing. I had considered becoming a technical writer before my children were born and contemplated that as a course to follow after the divorce. I decided instead to pursue new directions, to dive into fiction stories, poetry and essay composition.

Now I'm sixty-five and still figuring out who I want to be when I grow up. Cliché but fitting. I don't see my road as one headed for a tangled, dangerous forest. I see an open road, blue skies, vast ranges of meadows, mountains, valleys, fun rivers and many, many people and experiences waiting for me to explore.

And that's the designation I give to this stage of my life: Explorer.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Spot or Two of Rain

At last a day of clouds willing to weep a little on our parched land. Though the morning began with dribbles, sufficient rain fell throughout the day to refresh my spirit -- and, apparently, enliven the swarming white flies (not native to Oregon, as best I understand the situation) -- they've hatched in numbers not known here. In fact, this is the first year of the thirty-four I've lived here that I've seen any white flies--period. They're a nuisance and small enough to fly into your eye, but they apparently don't bite, don't appear interested in landing on people -- just fly and fly like white dust covering the air.

But, this morning, in that morning dribble and drizzle, I had the honor of walking my granddaughter to school. Brought back fond memories from my own childhood and encourages me to consider offering to walk her to school every day. That tune might change once the real rain and cold arrives, but for today, walking her to school was a gift I treasure.

Laughter and Umbrellas

We walked in the rain today,
granddaughter Riley and me,
she beneath her pink umbrella
me covered by a stately black & white
borrowed from her parents

Not a proper rain
where silver drops splash
in wild patterns, attach wetness
to legs and clothes, when boots
prove more appropriate than shoes;

No, this was a gentle rain
of dribbles widely spaced,
like tea-time with all the fine china
at grandma's house,
not THIS grandma, but back when
such would be considered
a proper afternoon gathering,

a bit like this rain that breathed in
before we were halfway to the school,
our umbrellas retreated, folded
as we crossed at the light,
crossing guard's flag raised,
added insurance
all cars must stop, as if the red light
won't be enough (and sometimes isn't).

Walk & Bike to school day today
and I earned the honor of walking
with my granddaughter Riley
in the rain, proper or not,
smiling, laughing, chatting non-stop.

What better way to start a day
than with rain and chatter
laughter and umbrellas
walking Miss Riley to school.