Wednesday, August 12, 2020

vignettes of a northern visit

A friend contacted me the other day to tell me I had been far too coy about my visit to Oregon this month. All she knew was that the visit centered around my mother. Speculation ran rife.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Mom is doing fine. I am up here helping my brother put Mom's house on the market because she is moving into a retirement community in Bend -- Stone Lodge.

Over the years, Mom has been forced to downsize. Eight years ago she moved from a 4000 square foot house in Gladstone to a 1200 square foot house in Bend. Her apartment will now be half the size of her current house.

On our extended hike through life, we tend to accumulate a lot of -- to be generous -- stuff. That is especially true for Mom who has had a career as a model, owner of a motorcycle shop, vendor of home decorating pieces, and real estate agent. She gave up the last only a few years ago. With vocations come the attributes of success.

Mom has lived 92 productive years. As a result, she has the correspondence, files, and life detritus to go along with that history.

And that is where this current exercise of downsizing comes in.

A good portion of her furniture will fit into the new apartment. But there are boxes of possessions that will not make the space cut. That is what Mom, Darrel, and I have been doing. The criteria are strict and utilitarian.

1. Will she absolutely need any given item? 2. Will it fit into the apartment's space? If the answer to either question is "no," the piece must go.

That creates a pile of memory pieces that will not make the cut. We have started piling them in the garage in the hope that Dad's grandson and Mom's niece can get here before the end of the week to pick through the pile for what they consider treasures.

On Saturday, we take possession of the apartment to start testing which pieces of furniture will fit. When we are satisfied, Mom will move in and start a 14-day virus quarantine.

But there are still days of sorting before then.

Last night while she was shorting through papers from the motorcycle shop, she started to watch a Trail Blazers game. Of course, the sorting stopped.

Other than her love for God and her family, she is passionate about her favorite basketball team -- and I am not certain the Blazers do not outrank at least one of those groups. Having cable access to the Blazers games will be one of her treats -- despite the exorbitant costs.

For her, it was a nice break from the tedious task of sending memories in front of the firing squad.

There have been others. Every night we have desert sunsets made up of colors I normally do not see on the Mexican coast. The line of mountains are certainly a novel addition.

And, then, there is the wildlife. Deer. Porcupine. Rabbits. I suspect it was the latter that attracted a new sight two nights ago.

We were cleaning up the supper dishes when we heard, from the front of the house, the hooting of a bird that was so distinctive that we all recognized it. Then it stopped. Only to be resumed in back of the house.

Silhouetted against the vestiges of the sunset were two owls on top of a juniper. Great Horned Owls. A mated pair.

It was the first owls Darrel and Christie had seen on their new property. Even though they are a common bird here, I am always pleased to see them.

I would have liked to share a photograph of both owls. But, by the time, I could slide the screen door open, one fled before I could shoot. The other joined its mate almost immediately. They were off to have a bit of rabbit or porcupine tartare.

So, that is what I have been doing here in the wilds of Oregon. Big events are afoot. But not as drastic as some readers have imagined.

My return date to Mexico is still pending.


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