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LETTERS FROM WAKE ROBIN FARM

Impeachment Day Flood

As I write, Nancy Pelosi is explaining to the House why President Donald Trump ought to be impeached and, in the night, the Mary's River spilled its banks and flooded our lower meadow.  The new John Legend song comes to mind, the one which has become my private Pandemic/Trump-era anthem: "Never Break."

 

As the water rises

And the mountains shake

Our love will remain

We will never break.

 

Because here we are, still together, still watching history go by. We fell in love the Spring of the Kent State shootings, and bought our first TV the summer we were married, specifically to watch the 1974 Watergate trials.

 

This fine man I signed on with forty-seven years ago is not wasting time being romantic, though.  He's taking up the electric cords for the outside Christmas lights which we've been leaving on purely as a mental health measure.  He's worrying who's in charge of warning the occupants of the ever-growing sprawl of tents at the homeless encampments  two miles downstream in town that they'd  better move.  At Wake Robin Farm, though, his first priority, our four-year-old grandson, has just arrived to set up the wooden Brio trains.

 

As for the pandemic, our daughter-in-law, a vet in Portland, got her first shot yesterday, so we know the vaccines are out there.  We have hope.

 

Hang on, everybody! 

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A Heart for Any Fate in the Time of the Coronavirus

 

Only three weeks since my last blog post and the whole world has changed. Newspaper and on-line articles are full of advice on how to weather your lockdown at home.  I don't need them. I put in so much time as the Queen of the Kingdom of Isolation while struggling to recover from physician prescribed opioids and benzos that I already know how to do this.  My calming, healing, daily yoga practice and forest walks have been in place for years.

 

But I also don't want to be the one telling everyone else how to handle this, making up suggested lists of projects and all that. This is the time for each person, each family, to marshal their own resources and figure it out for themselves.

 

People are quick to suggest what a perfect time this is for writers, citing stories of Shakespeare writing Lear while he was holed up from the plague. Well, for any fellow writers ambitiously working away, I say, more power to you. But I only write books when I have something to say, and right now I don't.

 

What I do have to offer is a book I already wrote: A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon, 1845. Twenty years ago I lovingly nailed down my own version of a story that thrilled me as a child, one book after another: the Oregon Trail.  In following the Kings who settled what came to be Kings Valley in Benton County, Oregon, I wrote of families marshalling their resources for this epic journey, banding together with other families for safety and support, experiencing the conflicts of the trail—hoarding, illness, despair.  It's also a love story. It won the Oregon Book Award, the Willa Literary Award (named for Willa Cather) and was short-listed for the Silver Spur, awarded by the Western Writers of America. 

 

If reading aloud with your kids, especially your restless young teenage daughters, is on your list for making the most of this self-enforced family time, I would suggest that escaping to a story of a  time when American families had to step up and show their true grit might make for a memorable experience.  If you're diligently trying to home school kids more formally, I can send you a great list of study questions put together by a local teacher.

 

I am always faithful in answering letters from readers, so if you want to suggest your kids write me with questions or comments, you needn't fear them being disappointed.  (LJC1@earthlink.net) I promise to answer.

 

Now is the time for each of us to show our best selves. This, too, shall pass, and we will come through it together, the better for having made the journey. Stay home, stay safe, stay well.  And love each other. 

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