One of the ways I am rich is that I have the privilege of houses to visit on a whim. It's the product of being born into a family that has deep roots in the state and strong desires to have places to run to. Oceans and lakes and wide open spaces sing a siren song for my aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents, so throughout the years we've been fortunate enough to claim small pieces of the places they've loved outside the cities in Oregon we're usually tied to. It's a true blessing, to say--I think I will go to the ranch, I think I will go to the beach, I think I will head to the river--and though my pecuniary wealth is next to nothing, I am wealthy in so many other ways.
It was Father's Day this past weekend, which means my family was on the river: it has become our new tradition, or is becoming a tradition, to float the John Day every Father's Day weekend. It's probably the best way we have of honoring my dad, who is best suited for the wildness of rivers and rocky stretches of ridge lines, and of course, it's very fun. We go in good company, with my most of my mom's family there, so we form a long flotilla of boats gliding around each bend. Rivering is good for us, our bodies and our minds.
Like most people, I'm susceptible to the romance of a new year--the promise of a fresh start, the tightly rolled scroll of months still sitting at our feet. It's so deeply ingrained, culturally, to hope at the beginning of January. I think of it often as the magic of a blank page: sometimes it's scary to sit down and write--to begin--but there's also something energizing about the possibilities. What will I make of it? I often wonder this about blank pages, and new years too.