Left the desert at sunrise and drove to the airport in Palm Springs. No time for breakfast but we saw some egrets flying above the fields. Also saw a dead coyote along the side of the road with some ravens on the wires over head. Tricksters honoring a Trickster, or at least I like to think.
Back in Seattle staying with my brother Hugh and his beautiful wife Linda who made us a wonderful dinner as always and set us up with a little office in their apartment building where we taught Humanities 120 again. Tonight we finished off old John Haines and had a fine conversation with one of our students who is a young woman who lives on a reservation in eastern Oregon and we talked her through some of her ambivalent feelings about her land that she loves, because it is where her people were moved by force. We talked about how the "Humanities" covers some of the horrific things that human beings have done to one another. We talked about how "sense of place" was not always seeing landscape through rose-colored glasses and nature as beautiful but place as the setting of heartbreak and coming to terms with grief, and injustice. We talked about how different types of faith could play a role in how we perceived our "sense of place."
The second hour we visited with Heather Lende from Haines, and Heather talked about her coming to Alaska. She talked about the dangers of writing about difficult and emotional subjects in a small town and how her faith guides her. She essentially boiled it down to "Try to love everyone."
Heather is a wonderful woman, and she deserves her success. Her books, If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name, and Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, should be on everyone's bed side table. I travel a great deal and I meet many people who want to write books about the towns they live in. Most of them don't know how difficult it is. Heather didn't either at first, then she did. But then she did the amazing thing...she kept at it and did the tough work of keeping at it until she got it right, by trying to tell the truth and by trying...trying to love everybody. Now...she is not perfect and she is not a priss or a Pollyanna, She has some pepper in the mix, that's what makes her lively, and she is not universally loved, but hell...I first met her working on a murder case thirty years ago and I love her because she at least would talk to me when no one else would...and she still does.
I'm tired...and I better go to bed.
Seattle, cool night,
who built this Ferris wheel here?
The Circus in town?