My favorite log so far today

June 1st, 2014, 2pm

It was 18.3°C. The wind was light.

I am a fan of efficiency. I don’t like the idea of killing birds, but if I did, I would want to kill as many with one stone as I could. So, yesterday, I went on a hike. In a salmon colored dress and black tennis shoes. At a favorite neighborhood spot. With a friend I hadn’t seen in months. Who is a photographer.

Objective number one: Hiking

I love hiking. I live in the perfect place for it, the Portland, Oregon area. I hadn’t been hiking since the weather turned beautiful. I have been shut up in offices and classrooms and bedrooms for the last couple months. I was craving mud under my feet, leaves over my head, dappled sunlight momentarily blinding me, shadows relieving me.

Objective number two: Comfort in dress form

I flux between wearing jeans and dresses, though I wear jeans more often. I love the feel of dresses, though. Especially this one, its almost pink knit skin soft on my own. Its long skirt kissing my ankles like forgiveness. I move more easily in dresses, they shift with movement, conform to the sudden bulge of a knee, the jutting cliff of a hip. I am not good at being ladylike, though, so jeans usually win. :)

Objective number three: Noble Woods

Noble Woods is a park about a mile from our house. It is a beautiful wooded area with several trails veering off into different directions. The main path is cement, and generally has joggers and dog-walkers on it. It forms a loop from one side of the small parking lot to the other, with wooden bridges spanning the creek that wanders through the park. One bridge, in particular, always squeaks a little hello when you cross it. Other paths branch off from the main one. My favorite is just to the right of the meadow you reach after you’ve walked through the thickly forested area. This is the path we took yesterday. It moves quickly from open meadow to shaded forest again, and leads to a section of creek you can cross if you walk carefully across several boulders in the stream. We didn’t cross, instead we went to my favorite spot. If you follow a small trail to the left, it leads back to a fallen log that makes a perfect bench. It overlooks the stream on one side, and the trees and ground cover on the other. This is where I come to relax. I want to make sure to visit here as often as possible in the next few months. We are moving from the suburbs into Portland proper at the end of July, and won’t be anywhere near Noble Woods.

Objective number four: Hanging out with Nate

Nate is a friend of ours we met through mutual friends. The last time I saw him was a few months ago at a play festival my husband was performing in. Nate is just an all around good guy. Sweet and fun and chill. He is open and caring and courteous. We first met at Thanksgiving of last year, where he joined us as a guest of one of our friends. The first thing he did when he walked in the door was go to the kitchen and start pitching in. That’s the kind of guy he is. We spent the day together yesterday grocery shopping, making nachos, playing music together, and going hiking for a photography shoot. Did I mention Nate is a wicked talented photographer? This brings me to my next objective.

Objective number five: Photo shoot

After 30+ years of writing, I have finally decided to stop pussy footing around and to actually pursue publication and be that animal deemed writer. I have delved into it, going to conferences, going to classes and taking workshops instead of running them. It has been amazing. I’m working on a website that is going to be about my writing. Just mine. I am uncomfortable with this idea, but recognize it is a necessary thing in today’s screen-addicted world. I was looking through pictures of myself and didn’t see any that I really felt captured what I wanted. I have some good photos of me, and even some head shots I love that another crazy talented photographer friend of mine, Wendi Kali, took last year, but I didn’t feel like they were the me of now. So, I thought, why not have Nate take some shots of me in one of my favorite places? Done and done.

So, that one hike managed to check several items off the ever expanding list in my head of things to do. The best part is it was a great time with a good friend in a beautiful setting. And that no birds were actually killed in the making of this moment.

Sanna, Shu and David Wade said thanks.

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Jessica Standifird

Mom, wife, writer, photographer, performer, musician.

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