By Willow (willowashmaple.xyz)

Quick updates (Nov. 8, 2022)

November 8, 2022

Dear readers,

I have not been here for about half a year. I have been also not as active on various social media platforms as I used to be.

About a year ago, I returned to a more urbanized area of Oregon after having lived for three years and eleven months in rural Columbia County, Oregon. Those years represented a very unique experience in my life, as it was the first time in my life I lived in a forested mountain miles away from any town. I was, however, thoroughly burned out. In retrospect, I was feeling very unsafe there. Possibilities of forest fires were a constant source of worry, especially when there was only one road in and out of the area. In addition, being a queer person of color in a predominantly MAGA Republican environment where our neighbors would shoot their machine guns, Trump and other MAGA lawn signs litter the road every election cycle, and a certain man with a Confederate flag on the back of his red pickup truck was seen driving up and down the country road, were a bit too much. White privilege is when one can live and travel anywhere in America and don't have to worry about their safety. I do not have that luxury.

This spring was cooler and rainier. The summer of 2020 really did not start until mid-July. I did very well in my vegetable garden, though! I experimented with a "three sisters" garden, an indigenous method of growing beans, squash, and corn together in a close plot. The corns yielded *four* ears each!

My 19-year-old cat suddenly passed away on August 5. I did not notice something was terribly wrong until about 6 hours before her death. In retrospect, however, other possible scenarios could have been far worse for me to bear. It was a relief that she died peacefully in the early morning, not tormented by veterinarians and drugs over a long period of time, or pressured into euthanasia.

The summer weather lasted until about October 20 of this year. Since late July and August had a few heat waves, I spent September outdoors and exploring many smaller towns around Portland on the bicycle and public transit, from Welches to Woodburn.

This has been sort of a secret, but I enrolled in a ministry school last August and was taking a couple of classes. This fall I am going on a full-time course load. If I keep going at this speed I will be able to complete 69 credits (which leads to a diploma) by next summer! Until recently I had difficulty motivating myself or keeping myself focused, so much to the point I was starting to worry about my cognitive decline.

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