we’re really not so clever as we seem to think we are

I don’t know how much the world really is changing, but something tells me you didn’t used to often see t-shirts like the one I’m looking at now: “I Just Might Fuck This Bitch!” in garish letters surrounding the figure of a hand pointing off the shirt’s regions. I’m putting a few dollars in my gas tank and this fellow stands just a few feet away doing the same, shrugging his arms across the shirt, a shirt that it’s a little too early in the morning for. Finally he says to me genially, “Oh man… It’s raining!”

Boy is it raining. Buckets. The kind of rain we get in Grays Harbor and it’s kind of indescribably lush. And I’m in a t-shirt and it feels wonderful; all morning as I’d packed up for our trip the windows were open in my home and I could hear the absolute roar of the rain and it is down-to-my-bones home in a way I’d never be able to accurately describe. I tell this fellow now, “It’s warm out though,” and experience that moment, just a joy to be alive, a joy to have a few dollars in my gas tank and have food for my children.

I kept feeling home, and feeling this joy, throughout my day, even though I was very tired for this-and-that reason. The rain dried up for our outdoor walk at Northwest Trek, and we enjoyed a wonderful warmth almost like a greenhouse. I had a surreal sense of place over and over this afternoon, to be at a wildlife park and with regularity hear people exclaiming over flora and fauna I can’t remember not knowing: blacktailed deer and red cedar, raccoons and red huckleberries, the last of which were consumed in vast quantity by my son and my friend’s daughter I. consumed a whole lot of by the way. I often feel fortunate to live here and just walking down some paths today reminded me of this.

Northwest Trek 2013

Phoenix, Nels & I. wouldn’t look up for me to take a photo, so I gave up. Looking back upon our trip a year and a half ago I was shocked how much my children have grown (aren’t I always?). Today Nels was very tender to his new friend I. and they goofed together a lot (Nels’ grouchy face in this picture is a weird coincidence as he loved the attention), and my daughter led us through the park through the use of her map.

Home after a bit of traffic, we ate dinner – a black bean and quinoa salad, sliced baked potatoes, and buttered broccoli – then Ralph and I painted a bit more on our current home project and the kids ran the neighborhood like they do.

Now, late tonight: windows open again and hoping for rain.

errybody gettin crunk, crunk / owls tryna touch my junk, junk

I have been a busy beaver and I owe some photo uploads and some verbiage. However for tonight I’ll just show and tell a little about the trip Erin, Nels, Phoenix and I took to Northwest Trek yesterday. I didn’t take a bajillion photos or anything, because I wanted to enjoy myself fully (which I did). Here’s some of what I have, though.

The first animals we came upon were golden eagles, close as life. They were huge and beautiful and perfectly still. The kids ran up and looked and one of them said, “Those are REAL!” From that point on the kids were a thousand percent excited about every animal we saw including some we see at home pretty regularly. Why can’t we all be more like children? We’d live longer.


Mike, our tram tour guide. He knew a lot of facts and was quite personable. He also operated a tricky vehicle through terrain full of wildlife and at times up a steep grade, while dealing with people as well! The park was very pro-child, which worked for me.


Bison. Lotsa those being all awesome (also: mountain goats, bighorn sheep, blacktail deer, a moose cow, elk). A few minutes after this we saw a baby, about a month old, bright orange. I didn’t take a picture although we rode the tram right by her and she was only a few feet away. Instead I just absorbed how incredible she was and how much I liked being in real-life up close.


Phoenix, on the tram. A more helpful and lovely person to be with on the trip, I can’t imagine.

E. & N.

Nels and Erin on the tram, having a wonderful time. The three kids and I were seated next to a group of six very very rowdy, bored, fart-noise-making kids who didn’t seem to care much one way or the other and got increasingly agitated. I had such positive time with the three I was with and I felt so grateful I spend my time with children who are where they want to be.

Lotsa F*cken Antlers

Antlers – everywhere. I could have given a shit before this day, but I heard some amazing stuff about them, like how – unlike horns – they grow from the outside in! Kind of wonderful. I got to hold many in my hands later and admire their organic comeliness. The park leaves a lot of antlers out on the acerage for the herbivores to nibble on for nutrients. They are beautiful left out in the field like that.

I Have No Fear Of Humans

As I mentioned, the kids were excited over every animal we came into contact with, even the deer (which we see more than once a week here in HQX) and the ballsy little squirrels who would CUT YOU for the leftovers in a Corn-Nut bag.

Huge-Ass Salamander

Pacific Giant Salamander, or as I like to call it, Pure Unadulterated Nightmare Fuel. This thing was like a foot long. *shudder*

A Fisher. Or A Marten. I Can't Remember.

A fisher. Or a marten. Something weaselly. I can’t remember. There was also a huge beaver, river otters, a badger, a wolverine, the latter two not doing anything particularly badass.

Before The Grizzly Encounter

At this point the kids were running full-tilt through the paths near the wolf, fox, couger, lynx, bobcat, black bear, and grizzly habitats. No other humans were around much and it was eerie – and breathtaking and fun!

Sure, “statistics”. I see NWTrek is in the pocket of Big Grizzly Bear. I will, however, remain vigilant.

Phoenix + Antler

Phoenix, and a moose antler about as big as she.

Large Garden Spider

A huge, torpid spider outside the cafe. She was beautiful but the kids were running off again and I didn’t have time to set up a good shot.

Snowy Owl

Hungover Owls: the meme is funny because it’s TRUE! This snowy owl blinded me with science, plus it had a half-empty fifth of Jack stuffed under a rock.


Phoenix giving me cuddles. I was pretty much in bliss the entire day, truth be told, until the last leg of the journey when we stopped to do some commerce in Oly and I was back amongst crowds of cranky people.

My favorite critter? Hands-down the lynx. It was a massive, prehistoric-looking cat, preternaturally calm and boasting the musculature of an ape. I didn’t even try a picture, I just watched him and felt kind of stunned about it all.


Happy National Coming Out Day! For those who can and choose to, today and any day, I wish you the best. Here’s a vlog entry I experienced as quite touching and real.