Today our Sun emerges no longer a gorgeous dangerous orb of these Wildfire weeks. Eagle Creek in Flames jumped the River a state—and the Watershed no longer in peril. Jays mimic up Copper Beech. Squirrels frisky in the Walnut and Rats from our neighbor’s Chicken coop storm through brittle Berry Bushes. We invite the Dog’s trot along the Willamette watch her tumble in the Grass the way she does every time she meets it not a worry of tents and cookware strewn or masks removed or whether we’ll return tomorrow or next week Waves cleansing the Beach or tumbling us under. We toss a stick as she gallops—and watch the Sky.
Debra Elisa grew up in the shadow of Mount Rainier and fell in love with the land of the Pacific Northwest though longed to travel and learn how people live on the other side of the world. She studied in Glasgow and lived in the Philippines as a Peace Corp Volunteer. She has sat silent in monasteries, gazed up at birds in a sanctuary, and lived in New England for a half dozen icy winters. She met her husband while traveling in India. Together they rode buses along the Trans-American Highway from Guatemala to Argentina as part of a sabbatical. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, where they grow food in their backyard garden and can go days without driving a car. She leads Poetry Play and other creative workshops and offers Somatic Bodywork when not writing, cooking, or wandering in the woods or along coastal beaches. She blogs at www.l-i-t.org Live(s) Inspiring Today and welcomes your visit.s.
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It was winter, blackberry vines dying back, when my older brother spied the battered pickup truck on the steep hillside below the barn. That summer we wore a trail crawling through brambles to the wreck, thorns biting our knees and arms. Lichen scrolled across the paint, and rust had long ago locked shut the doors. The upholstery was worn to springs like a corpse to bone. We tugged the steering wheel and choke, tried to loosen the gas pedal from the grip of time. I wanted to ask Mom and Dad how it had come to be there, what uncle or older cousin had driven it over the lip of the hill and walked away. My brother said it was our secret and not to tell. And then, he gave it up, leaving the wreck behind without a shrug or a backward glance, easy in his choices as he would be a few years later, giving up his childhood faith. One more time I went alone, sole survivor of a disaster I still can’t name. Windshield a sky of cracked glass, October berries sere, bramble leaves dry as parchment.
Bethany Reid grew up in southwest Washington on a farm skirted by second-growth timber, in the house where her mother was born. Her father was a logger, her mother described herself as a housewife, but they were pillars of their small Pentecostal church, and the house brimmed with children, music, and books.
After earning an MFA in poetry and a PhD in American Literature from the University of Washington—her faculty advisors were Colleen McElroy and Dickinson scholar Vivian Pollak—Bethany taught writing and literature classes at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University, Edmonds Community College, and, for twenty years, at Everett Community College.
Her earlier poetry books are The Coyotes and My Mom (Bellowing Ark, 1990); Sparrow, which was selected by Dorianne Laux for the Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Award (Big Pencil Press, 2012); and Body My House (Goldfish Press, 2018). Bethany also has two chapbooks, Be Careful (Chuckanut Sandstone, 2005), and The Thing with Feathers (part of Triple No. 10 from Ravenna Press, 2020). Her poems have received numerous awards, including the Jeanne Lohmann Prize, and Calyx Journal’s Lois Cranston Memorial Prize. Her poems, short stories, and essays appear in many on-line and print publications, including Poetry Northwest, Adelaide, Prairie Schooner, Heartwood, Persimmon Tree, The MacGuffin, Peregrine, One Art, Catamaran, Kithe , and The Dewdrop.
Now retired from full-time teaching, Bethany divides her days between walking and writing. She has a passion for writers and writing of all sorts, leads a writing group, works with writers one-on-one, and teaches poetry classes whenever she has the chance. She and her husband live in Edmonds, Washington, near their three grown daughters. You can learn more about her at http://www.bethanyareid.com.
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