"A place is a story happening many times." - from the Kwakiutl

* * * Completely Random Sketches * * *

July passes and I find myself executing patterns I've built upon years of Julys. I struggle in July. Struggle in front of blank sketch book pages. Struggle in front of dirty floors and dry weeds in the yard. I passively struggle. I struggle fruitlessly, and ultimately relent. July is not a month of high productivity for me, yet it's the month I strive the hardest. It's the month in which the polarities of wanderlust and domesticity, work and wilderness, pulse from either end of the long continuum of July.

At the end of each July, I make a list. A reckoning. What has happened? Where did my time go, where did my mind wander, and where did my feet take me? It's often so much more than I appreciated in the moment. Those moments of July that lose themselves in the alpine glow.

Really. Really, really. I've spent the past two whole days literally sitting in front of a blank sketch book page. There is soooo much that wants to pour out of me, but perhaps July is just not the time.

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Last week, giving in to the struggle, I left town for the Three Sisters Wilderness area. I went solo, hoping that the quiet would cool my hot brain. It's been hot here in Portland, and on top of that there have been some sad events that have been on my mind, weighing heavily.

A friend of mine once described me as a volcano. She said that there's a quiet intensity that bubbles constantly under the surface which sometimes emerges with surprising force. Earth and fire. I grew up on earth and fire, under and on top of volcanoes. Sometimes the volcano needs to meet the water and cool a bit.

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"Indigenous names tended to locate resources for common good - pointing out the place where a healing herb grows or the water is bad - or to say what happened there...Euro-American names tend to be less about what is there than what it looks like or who was there. They are used as grassroots affirmations, as bids for posterity, and as proof of ownership, a means to control from the top." Lucy Lippard, The Lure of the Local, "In a Word"

And so I rode my bike around Peterson's Ridge, and found myself asleep under Tam MacArthur Rim, in the company of the Three Sisters, and the three creeks of Little Three Creek Lake. I'm considering renaming some of these places for my own maps and reference, based on the stories that happen again and again. "The place where I fell off my bike and landed on a lava rock." "The place where I fell before but rode and cleaned this year." "The western path I don't think I'll take again." "The place where I got lost with heat exhaustion once and had to lie down, worried I might die." "The place where I caught the brook trout with the white spinner with the flash of florescent pink." "The place that was so quiet at night, not even the fluttering of settling wings, nor the sound of crickets, nor the lapping of lake water kept me from sleep." "The lake I had entirely to myself for one glorious night."

"The place of a million stars. The place that endures."