Photo Freewrite: Week 37/38


Mushrooms are an excuse. Going in, I didn’t care if I found any. Going out, my empty hands were free for moss and bark.


In the midst of all this dry and pale, red demands its due.


This is so much better than the picture I thought I was taking. A dahlia candid. A blue sky candid. And trees ready for fall.


Fruit falls here and nobody cares. Food for the gravel and dirt. Food for the worms and apple trees.

I gave up having a vegetable garden a few years ago but this year, in true Portland pandemic fashion, Sean literally threw one together. No knowledge, fuss or extraordinary effort. Our tiny harvest is laughable, sweet and delicious.


We weren’t swept to the curb as much as dumped. Still…it’s not so bad. People look, rummage, rustle. It’s more attention than we’ve gotten in years.


The sunflowers warned us with their curled, burnt orange petals. The flames you imagined are false. The real flames have been here forever, burning beneath the soil. Watch now as they bloom.


I see light peaking around the edge of my curtains, so we’re not under apocalypse skies this morning. But south of here it’s thick and doomy. I think about all the animals caught in the fires -the deer and chipmunks and spiders and humans.

I was supposed to be here today in one of my favorite campgrounds, enjoying the company of these trees. I was supposed to walk down a green path to this spot on the river. Now it’s in flames.

But the forest knows what to do with fire better than me. Or maybe it’s the same thing. A huge giving up. A huge grief.


We are the fire and the virus and the rift. We are the air full of trees and grass and winter clothes. We are the air dotted with illness and spark. This isn’t a message. It’s a question.


The essentials: Blue rectangle for sky. Brown rectangle for freshly plowed field. Grass patched in below with no stick figure family to stand on its edge. Just a strange shape, resting between horizons.


It’s not that the party’s over. It slogs on through the wee hours in a mess of belligerence and tears. But even at its peak it was a sham. All cheap sequins and even cheaper cigarettes. Why did we ever think it mattered?


This is a photo of a dream I must have had. A flash of sunlight glinting off a tree thick with berries. Out on the street. Lungs wide with fresh air.


When covered in smoke, it’s hard to think of anything but smoke. The morning windows are gray smoke. The afternoon are yellow. The night is best. If you don’t look at the haze beneath the streetlight, it looks just like night.

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