I have been sitting near rivers lately. The Rogue, tumbling and hurried and gathering itself to burst forward in gasping sprints. The Umpqua, slowed by the deep horseshoe bend in front of the cabin, a spoon lazily stirring cream in a cup. Ospreys and eagles and those improbably enormous buzzards flying overhead. Everywhere a riotous cacophony of green.

All three of my boys like to be active in the water, tossing time-flattened skipping stones or casting fishing lines or easing into that first full-body immersion. I’m happiest in a chair with a book in my lap, as content and still as a lizard on a hot rock. I can feel the weight of the sun on my skin, I feel dopey with the heady pleasure of it. I imagine, somewhere inside me, a charging battery that will get me through the dark winter months.

At some point I put down my book and tip my head back. Breathe in, all that buzzing warmth filling my chest. I can hear laughter and splashes, see flashes of striped swim trunks and the glint off my husband’s sunglasses. Mom! someone cries happily. I smile and wave and I look at the water and I cannot imagine how it all works. How it came to be that this particular ripple, this one right here, has traveled its great unknown journey to splash against this riverbank where I’m sitting with my family. Everything that has led to this exact moment. Every tiny thing that could have changed the trajectory, every unpredictable destination ahead. And on and on it goes, never stopping. The water is forever, and I’m left believing in something like luck, or if not that, believing in my own gratitude. A breeze sighs through the valley, every leaf dances then stills. Everything around me speaks of the uselessness of focusing on the past or future. There is only this, and my god, my god, it is so glorious.


44 Responses to “Only this”

  1. marilyn on June 9th, 2014 2:08 pm


  2. Jakki on June 9th, 2014 2:10 pm

    I love when you write with humor, I love when you do picture montages… But oh how I adore reading your words that make me thankful to be alive (and a little bit teary to boot). Thank you so much for this, it was a fantastic reminder to stop and breath.

  3. Penne on June 9th, 2014 2:43 pm


  4. Anne L. on June 9th, 2014 4:27 pm


  5. CA Plough on June 9th, 2014 5:39 pm

    Sounds like my version of heaven. I’m glad for you. You deserve it.

  6. jody on June 9th, 2014 5:58 pm

    Love it! You are so good at painting a picture with words. I’m probably picturing it nothing like it really is, but I feel like I could be sitting there beside you with a book in my hands. :) Speaking of which, I just noticed the books in your sidebar (I usually read you through feedly), and I loved those, too! If that means we have similar taste in books (not sure), you might want to read “Me Before You” and “The Language of Flowers” if you haven’t already. Read both of those in the last year and loved them. (Both are kind of heavy at times, but lovely and amazing and I cannot let go of the characters!)

  7. Angella on June 9th, 2014 8:56 pm

    Love. This, and you guys. xo

  8. sooboo on June 9th, 2014 9:03 pm

    This gave me chills. So nice to read. It’s inspiring to me that you can be in the moment and enjoy your life.

  9. Melinda on June 9th, 2014 9:07 pm

    This is fantastic. Thank you.

  10. Lucy on June 9th, 2014 11:51 pm

    How true! Beautifully written.

  11. Robin on June 10th, 2014 3:21 am

    I do the exact same thing… Marvel at the string of moments that had culminated in these rocks, tumbled; these children, sparking, laughing. Rivers are good for that, rendering time and grace without preaching. The abundance is palpable.

    Thank you for sharing this moment so beautifully.

  12. Jean on June 10th, 2014 4:43 am

    Spectacular/moving/thought-provoking….your writing and the way it makes me feel….well done…

  13. June on June 10th, 2014 6:47 am

    You sound so happy… I am happy for you!

  14. Hillary on June 10th, 2014 7:53 am

    That was just lovely.

  15. Maggie on June 10th, 2014 9:04 am


  16. Jillian on June 10th, 2014 11:26 am

    Please write things I can pay you to read! Short stories, novels, whatever.

  17. Mariya on June 10th, 2014 1:18 pm

    Gorgeous. Wow, can you write!

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  19. Amy on June 11th, 2014 8:24 am

    I’m with Jillian! You should be Writing with a capital W.

  20. Telegirl on June 11th, 2014 9:23 pm

    Beautifully stated. I have also been looking around at what is in my life and feeling the same sort of awe. How is it possible that my life (while not perfect, mind you) has ended up to be so amazingly terrific? I am thankful every day for everything I have been granted, for every moment…

  21. Kathryn on June 12th, 2014 7:33 am

    The power of nature is real. Thanks so much for capturing this perfectly.

  22. H on June 12th, 2014 12:58 pm

    Absolutely lovely.

  23. Mary Clare on June 13th, 2014 6:47 am

    What a picture you painted! Enjoy.

  24. Staci on June 14th, 2014 4:45 pm

    Simply beautiful.

  25. Michelle on June 15th, 2014 4:07 am

    Just lovely. <3

  26. Amy on June 16th, 2014 10:32 am

    Thanks for this. Beautiful in every way.

  27. Kelli on June 18th, 2014 6:55 am

    This is one of the most beautiful things you have ever written. Thank you.

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  29. ASL on June 19th, 2014 10:43 am

    I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read it last week. It’s just…perfect. I love how–if we’re quiet and let her–Mother Nature will offer us the perspective we need to appreciate the everyday, ordinary joys in our lives. It’s enough, you know? These moments are enough to fill a heart and life.

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  31. Erin on July 4th, 2014 12:33 pm

    Gorgeous writing. Those moments of gratitude help me through the always suffocating string of long parenting days. Like coming up for air. And seeing clearly why it’s beautiful.

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    Stunning. Poetry.

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