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Waiting for the shift

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.”

— James Taylor

As they say in England, it’s been a bit of a rough go of late.

Where we sit in Southern Oregon, beneath smoke and virus shrouds, it seems I spend a lot of time, at least subconsciously, waiting for life and circumstances to shift one way or another. I wait with watery eyes and achy head for the fires to cease and the wind to move so we can see our beautiful valley again.

We’ve seen too much fire and not enough rain. Lately, I wait for a shift in thinking, but it’s too late for some. For the first time in weeks, I donned my blue floral mask to visit the post office. Optimism gets me through sometimes, when I don’t see the unthinkable returning.

However, while waiting for the shift, I never dig too deeply or pine away for those sunny days without end. I look above trouble. Simple times within easy reach in our valley still shine. I jaunt the few miles down Brownsboro Highway to The Garden Shed for a dozen fresh eggs, and the resident rooster crows. I fold a small wad of money to stuff into the honor system box, while breathing in the fresh cut flowers and cucumbers. I look over dusky heirloom tomatoes and garlic — everything here is grown a few feet from where I’m standing.

A quick trip to the Oregon Bee Store, a few miles up Highway 62 and I discover fresh organic peaches and mixed greens, along with fat jars of clover and blackberry honey — the effort of area bees.

Nature is at work, even during stressful circumstances, and our circumstances are at work in us. In fact, I’ve read that some crops thrive when stressed. Here’s a quote I just received from Hummingbird Winery in Central Point. “This drier, hotter weather may actually create better wine grapes in 2021. Grapes are naturally a low-water crop, and 2021’s even drier conditions will lead to smaller but more concentrated flavors in the grapes.”

Nature knows better than to choose the strain. It takes what’s given and does its best. More concentrated flavor.

“I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.”

I’m not seeing or hearing much from the birds these days. It’s almost as if they’ve flown to some over-the-rainbow place, but the bird bath needs refilling daily.

One morning soon, the elements will align to allow for time outside without melting into my sneakers, or choking up particles, or risking a virulent variant in an attempt to bring fresh stories about new places and people I meet. I hope they’re still around to tell their side of things. Please, take the shot.

“But I always thought that I’d see you again.”

We did visit Kriselle Cellars the other day, where I enjoyed a glass of their spicy Di‘tani and a plate of my favorite chicken curry salad with grapes, sliced cucumbers, and rice crackers or baguette. Lane and I discussed plans for our individual creative efforts and looked out on a hazy landscape where cattle still grazed and geese flew underneath it all. Such a lovely break for an otherwise ordinary Monday.

All is temporary, whether sunshine or fire. I think the challenge is to find the joy in one to fight the other.

“Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus? You got to help me make a stand. I can’t make it any other way.”

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/author. She wrote “Trips & Tangents: 101 Favorite Southern Oregon Journal Columns” and her debut novel, “Stone Revival.” She can be reached at pcdover@hotmail.com.