Blog / 2020

Kayakers and swimmers on the Willamette River in a heavy fog



Imagine the worst, cruelest, most incompetent, most ineffectual CEO you’ve ever worked under. Remember what a total shitshow that job was? Now imagine that CEO just…vanishes.

action shot, low perspective, of a middle-aged man in bicycle racing gear on a cyclocross bicycle, at the top of a wooden “flyover” bridge next to a muddy cornfield

The Litany Against Fear


Yellow cones will be on your left, red cones on your right. You and your bike must go over all barriers.

Backpackers bushwhacking through secondary growth in an old burned area

Burned forests


The fires will leave a patchwork of death and rebirth in the forest, but where they touched human habitations there will be only destruction

Landscape taken from the top of a bluff across a swampy lake (Oaks Bottom), with the skyline of downtown Portland on the horizon. The air at eye level is crystal clear but overhead at high altitude an unnatural orange cloud of wildfire smoke drifts north toward downtown. The light is orange and eerie.

The fires this time


Monday the fires were a potentiality. Today we are capped by their creeping murk.

A crowd of children on bicycles, in racing gear, all facing away from the camera, staging for a race. Three kids are the focus of this shot in center frame, in conversation

No cyclocross


Every year since 2011, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving, our family ritual was CYCLOCROSS. Not this year 😢

View down a string of hanging alpine valleys in the Lostine Valley. In the extreme foreground, inches away, is a spray of wildflowers. The river marches downhill away from us along a bright green ribbon of meadows through the dark mountain forest. The closest valley to us is perhaps 300' below and holds a small alpine lake

Eagle Cap Wilderness


As a Nebraskan I am a cheap date, scenery-wise. Oregonians come to the Wallowas for the beauty not the solitude. It’s the backpacking equivalent of...

Land/skyscape taken well after sunset but before night. A narrow band of light makes silhouettes of some trees and snags along the horizon

Skies outside cities


I grew up with skies outside of cities which are the skies most people in most of history grew up with. At the cabin there...

Landscape across a still forest lake at twilight. A single ring ripples slowly across the lake. On the horizon, looming above the trees on the far shore, is the glaciated peak of a broad razorback mountain. Excepting the ripples the lake presents an almost perfect mirror of the scene

August 2020


I’m taking a break from social media. Check my web-log for occasional updates.

Closeup of a wrist with several red rubber bands



For OBRA’s Wy’easting Challenge, today I rode 13 repeats of Montgomery street from the old PFD No. 1 Station to Council Crest. Each repeat was...

Crowns of mature Oregon white oaks, shot from underneath; the crowns are not touching, despite the trees growing very close together

Covid-19 diary: Quarantine fatigue


Been a while since I’ve done this. Straightforward: we are busy, and we are tired. Less straightforward: it is obvious our federal government has not...

A stack of books, as described in the main text of this post

Covid-19 Diary: Quarantine books


I have made three or four Powell’s orders since March 16. Here’s what has arrived thus far: Selected Writings — Hildegard of Bingen. I only...

Sunrise through a thin mist at Council Crest Park, looking west. Sky overhead is clear

Covid-19 Diary: sleep and dreams


With hundreds of millions of people sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, some dream experts believe that withdrawal from our usual environments and daily...

View from Council Crest Park toward Mt. Hood, which is visible in a late spring sunrise. A lenticular cloud encircles the very top of the mountain

Covid-19 diary: Inside


Today was the first day of the quarantine that I spent entirely inside. It was a beautiful day and I got up early for my...

Landscape of Cathedral park from the underside of the St. Johns bridge, looking south/west toward Forest Park. In the midground two children ride bicycles across a broad lawn covered with English lawn daisies. Sky is clear; river is cool and green; some industry visible on the far shore

Covid-19 Diary: Timmy Failure


This post was written 2020-04-15 Last night as a family we watched the new Timmy Failure movie, set and filmed in North Portland. It was...

A school age child with a laptop and headphones sitting in a chair near a window and a laser printer

Covid-19 diary: Resources / fraying


I need to stop and count the resources our household has for coping with the coronavirus crisis: Two grownups with secure jobs those jobs require...

Three children and a woman seated on a low stone decorative wall at Council Crest Park, facing west toward Mt. Hood, which is not visible. The kids all look tired and grumpy.

Covid-19 diary: Council Crest


This weekend on our family bike ride everyone rode to the top of Council Crest. We were kind of focused on the youngest, I mean...

Closeup of moss and lichen on a wet fence rail

Covid-19 diary: a bad day


I had a bad day yesterday. Maybe the first day I would characterize as such in the past three weeks. I was up early to...

Handwritten schedule of our many activities during the week. Every day but Friday is busy from 6:30am to 7:30pm

Covid-19 diary: cozy catastrophe


From my Twitter: so half my friends have time to learn to bake bread, the other half barely have time to shower guess which half...

Muddy trail through a misty hillside wood in the early spring

Covid-19 Diary: Wild


It’s wild that the Developed world more or less intentionally went into a medically induced coma to shut down this virus with “only” a 1–3%...

View north from Sellwood Bridge toward downtown

Covid-19 diary: social distance


I worry that Portlanders, already prone to anxieties about personal space and body purity, are going to be psychically damaged by “social distancing.” Already I’m...

Longtail cargo bike loaded with bags of groceries

Covid-19 diary: bodega


So far this week I’ve made three trips to grocery stores. The first two stores were mostly well stocked except each store was missing some...

Womand and three kids on bicycle riding up a gravel road through a meadow into a stand of fir trees

Covid-19 diary: outside


This post was authored on 2020-03-25 We took a family bike ride today to Powell Butte, and then up it and over it. I have...

Portland at sunrise from Pittock Mansion on a clear but hazy spring day

COVID-19 Diary: habits


@11:27 I have done 4 things that made this week much less stressful than it might have been: get up at 6:30 am & ride...

Indoors, TV den, school age girl in a leotard standing at first position, watching an instructor on a laptop

COVID-19 Diary: Fortunate


@10:05 I (and my family) have been extremely fortunate so far in this crisis: I have a relatively secure contract through at least early summer...

Outdoors, bronze statue of a beaver “dressed” with party hat, cloth face mask, St. Patricks Day party beads & green ribbon

COVID-19 Diaries


Occurs to me — occurred to me a week ago? — that I should be keeping a diary of my experience during COVID-19. Daily. Consider...

Striated clouds glowing with the sunrise

Freedom Machine


For the nth time in a year now I have an internal infection that’s keeping me, very specifically, off the bike. I can do most...

Landscape taken from north of the Hawthorne Bridge toward downtown; in the foreground a portable TV

Five percent more chill


Every morning I wrestle with this feeling that maybe people driving cars are just lazy. I’m thinking this as I ride with my kids five...

Closeup of a tumbler of whiskey on the margin of a metal above-ground “portable” firepit, with a blazing fire

Energy → Technology → Culture


What if humanity didn’t have access to eons of solar energy stored in the form of fossil fuels? What if our technological progress were constrained entirely by the energy falling on its surface, and not buried beneath it?