Tuesday, September 14, 2004


I wasted time, and now doth time waste me
For now hath time made me his numb'ring clock

Heaped clouds, wet pavement. If wishes were kisses, we'd all make out. Spurred, galled, and tired. But in a mood to go down swinging. At least sometimes.

Oakridge, where the vultures wheel over the empty railway tunnel. That's where Tori is, somewhere, wielding a pulaski and restoring mountain-bike and horse-trails. She who's never ridden either in her life. She's been gone two nights so far, and each night I've woken in the small hours, worrying about her. But the letter I wrote her was halting and lame. Which grieves me. She, with whom I've shared almost all my favorite books -- to her I'll use awkward limping words? Apparently so.

A week in Oakridge, and then off for two weeks of serious back-country work in the mountains of Washington State. I fret. From completely sedentary to hard labor, with no transition. I advised her to do this. And I very seldom give advice. (To my kids, that is. I know, I officiously give it to bloggers all the time.) Tori always makes fun of me about it, misquoting Tolkien: "Go not to the Dad for counsel, for he will say both yes and no." But this time I said yes. You love the outdoors. You want to live and work in the back-country. Go find out if you really can't do hard labor, and if you really can't work alongside people who kill bugs. This is the in-between year, the year for trying things. Whatever happens, it won't be entirely what you expect. Go find out.

And so I advised her to do something I would never have dared to do, at her age -- head off for the back country with a crew of ten strangers to live and work for five weeks. (The back-country I would have done. It's the strangers I couldn't have faced.) She was so nervous she could barely speak, when we left her.

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