Identity and Work

I was going to title this Identity, Work, Motherhood and Death, but that seemed a touch too ambitious.  Nonetheless, all apply. On August 31, at the turn from midnight to midnight-01, and for the first time since I was 15 years old, I became unemployed.  Sheesh. Actually, I’m self-employed now and giving a good go at establishing this new career.  Still, there’s the tenacious pull of my 30-year academic career.  And it’s… Read More

Standing in Wildfire

Yesterday, my husband Gary and I began a drive to Montana.  We live there parts of the year.  Just outside a really small community tucked into muscular folds of the Intermountain West.  With water and trees, with big mammals like Elk, Moose and Bear – with Eagles and Hawks, and this past spring, with a mama hummingbird nested just outside our window. It was early when we left Portland – the place… Read More

3084 Miles of Road

“We’ve just driven the entire length of Interstate 84,” Sara said, “and we’re only in Utah.” She was in the driver’s seat at that moment, and we were 500+ miles east of Portland, Oregon – the hometown we’d left at sunrise, encased in a rectangular cube of mostly yellow – a rental truck filled up with Sara’s 28-year lifetime of belongings. For a mom and daughter, this is one of those big… Read More

Privilege Highway

Recently I had the chance to visit with a long time friend, colleague and leader in the African American community.  We found ourselves speaking of the urgently needed, but still largely inactive national dialogue on America’s race history and relations.  He told me this story: “My friend was working with a group of teens at a local high school.  There were black, brown and white students in the group.  My friend had… Read More

Backward Thinking

Since 1996, I’ve included a suggestion in several syllabi for graduate courses.  Each of the courses was required in the curriculum of students preparing as social science practitioners:  therapists, educators, public administrators.  Each had significant content drawn from scientific knowledge bases.  And, because I was teaching them, each had significant content devoted to artistry. It’s been three decades since I made the decision to become an academic and devote my work life… Read More

A Heatwave of Independence

For three weeks plus, temperatures in Portland, Oregon have been above 90°.  There has been no rain since June 1.  I find myself longing for Slip&Slides, for Mr. Wiggle (video link for those who’ve forgotten – and for those who may have never known)  – and resorting instead to random sidesteps into the spray of lawn sprinklers. In Portland, and all across the Pacific Northwest, June has generally been a mostly rainy month. … Read More

50 Years after Bloody Sunday – Where is Elderhood?

  ANSWER:  It’s in every one of us. Really. Even in the headliners criticized by the vast and varied media.  Overt or latent, Elderhood ™ is in you and it’s in me.  It’s in Obama.  It’s in Boehner.  It’s in Netanyahu. And, most surely, Elderhood ™ is in John Lewis and each of the original Selma foot soldiers gathered today to remember Bloody Sunday – the horror they survived 50 years ago… Read More

Dear 2015

Dear New Year – Thanks for showing up. Thanks for being so matter-of-fact about it.  For doing nothing at all out of the ordinary, but still, being inspiring.  No matter how tired and pessimistic – no matter how overwhelmed we are by circumstances close in or strewn across this planet of ours, so out-of-control and horrific.  No matter any of that and because of all of it you give most of us… Read More

Afghanistan in the Days around Christmas

  Over the past week, I’ve received three email messages from my friend Zaher Wahab.  Each of them was written across the time he and his colleagues in the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) were in lock down – a rather horrifying protective captivity complete with razor wire, massively thick concrete walls, deep basements, and heavily armed guards on the grounds.  And, as Zaher says, a situation that is finally a privilege… Read More

Evening – 2014

Meanwhile, deep beneath this winter ground a reliable impulse moves the seasons.  And at the center of these long nights and fleeting days eternal wisdom radiates in the celebrations of people.  Celebrations of dignity surviving enslavement, celebrations of just enough lamp oil, and celebrations of a baby born to an everyday woman — mother and child enduring beacons of faith and essential good will.  Amidst these miracles of change and constancy the… Read More