Home. Wake to the whir of rufous hummingbird wings outside our bedroom window. Rise to feed our always-hopeful-for-food labs Pepper and Summer. Flick on the pot to heat water for coffee. Gaze out the kitchen window at 10-foot high sunflowers and hollyhocks and a blissful chaos of flowers and shrubs. Brew two cups of coffee–one for Wes and one for me. Wander into the backyard to catch sunlight on manzanitas, ponderosa, and ceanothus. Stretch into this September Day. Here. Bend, Oregon.
Peregrinations. If I were a sooty shearwater flying the Pacific Ocean, I’d still have many more miles to go to cover the astounding seabird’s 39,000 miles in a year, the equivalent of circling the earth 1.5 times. However, I feel peripatetic after this summer’s two flights to the east coast, one to Montana, plus wanderings with Wes to favorite “homes” in Charleston on the coast of Oregon and to northeast Oregon to Enterprise, the Imnaha and Lostine Rivers, and La Grande.
Home. In between trips this summer, Wes and I plant roots together deep into this lava soil. We tend our front yard native plantings–the young larch trees transplanted from my friend Robin’s Good Bear Ranch near Baker City; the Idaho fescue bunchgrass; and a feast of native plants from Wintercreek nursery: penstemons, mountain hollyhock, lupine, asters, goldenrods, milkweeds (for monarchs), globe mallow, ocean spray, mock orange, wild strawberries, phlox and more. Then, there’s the stunning success of our flower mix seeding for pollinators –from the waves of poppies of early summer to the sunflower fields now. Not to be forgotten are the volunteers–the 13 pumpkins turning orange, the three spaghettis squashes ready to eat, and a tomato plant bursting with plum-size tomatoes.
“Everywhere is home.” I consider this simple sentence and muse as I regularly do on those words of Salish elder Louis Adams who has since passed on. He’d explained to me that the Salish were never in a rush to get home, because everywhere was home. In the seasonal round, his people traditionally would follow the wild harvests, from fishing or bull trout in Rattlesnake Creek of today’s Missoula, Montana, to riding deep into the mountains of what’s now the Bob Marshall Wilderness to hunt, fish, and pick berries.
Home. Expand our definition. Treat the lands and waters that sustain us as family. Find kinship. Awaken to the light in others. Respect those who have lived here long before us, from indigenous peoples to the deer, elk, squirrel, chickadee, and kingfisher. Look ahead to care for all who come after us. Step up to act in this time of crisis on behalf of our home planet. Start with the places that call to us. Every action matters. Plant a milkweed for monarchs and do more. Speak for our public lands, ancient forests and wild rivers. Find what resonates most as “home” and take action with the greatest of swords–love. On election day– Tuesday, November 6th– Vote Democratic, like your life depends on it–the planet does.