Leaving Portland, OR

I really wish you were riding with me in the passenger seat as we drive East out of Portland. I wish I could take a movie of the whole drive and make you watch it because it’s so beautiful.

Who knew Oregon was like a wilderness wonderland from a dream? I love it up here! (I don’t love the rain and fog, but our trip has been mostly sunny.)

Right now we are driving along the Columbia River Gorge (Lewis and Clark’s route) which separates Oregon from Washington. I take a picture at every bend in the road. I keep getting blown away by the magnitude of the cliffs and the river.

on the drive inland to Portland

The drive into Portland from the coast was equally spectacular on a ribbon of road cut into endless forests of 100 ft tall pine trees. Even in this behemoth of a vehicle, we felt tiny and insignificant.

Being in a city was like a cool shower on a hot day to me. I love people and action. Portland is a lovely city with a coffee shop on every corner.

We got to see our dear friends, Nina and Jody everyday! What a (socially distant) party! Zane and I played some doubles with Jody and Lucian — the first time I’ve stepped onto a tennis court in about 6 months. My knee felt fine and we didn’t play hard. Needless to say, that was a highlight.

Bike riding through the city — gorgeous!

We got some killer ice cream at 50 licks, went to Powell’s bookstore, and got the most amazing pizza one night.

Another highlight was visiting downtown to experience the energy and power of the Black Lives Matter protests happening there. I’ve been doing lots of reading and listening to learn what the hell is going on with Black Lives Matter. Like, WHAT IS THE GOAL? WHY are Black people being killed every day by police? It feels so out of my control and terrifying. It’s a lot easier not to think about it and to go along being white and nice. But that is not the right thing to do. Nor is it possible to do in Portland. There are signs and murals EVERYwhere.

I listened to an interview with Alicia Garza (look her up!) and learned some things I did not know about BLM.

Seven years ago 3 Black women, including Garza, started Black Lives Matter in response to the non-action of law enforcement to prosecute Zimmerman (in Florida) for shooting Trayvon Martin who was unarmed and wearing a hoodie. People were furious and needed to organize to get the authorities to take the case seriously. BLM was started and the protests worked. Zimmerman was finally tried for his crime.

Since that time the BLM movement has been working to change laws (laws I never knew existed) which are racially biased. Sometimes protests are the only way to get enough people’s attention and affect changes.

Like I said, it’s easier to pretend this isn’t a problem. But, it obviously is!

I was raised believing God made every person with love and every life is to be cherished. I may have seen a different message in the media or in movies and at school. I may hear a different message coming from my own body even — when I feel mad at people on the street leaving trash and acting irrationally, when I feel fear because someone looks different than me. Despite those messages, I know that having discriminatory laws is wrong.

Neither political party is doing anything substantial about this issue, by the way. Every single one of us can do better when it comes to loving our neighbors by demanding justice for them.

Multnomah Falls

In other news — and this will shock some of you — Darla has left the RV! We traded her in for one of Zane’s best friends, Declan. So you’ll see him in the pictures now instead of our beautiful daughter.

It’s too bad. She was really getting good monitoring the cabin for falls. On our first trip she would scream in panic every time we swerrved and things fell to the floor. Then, the last time we bounced down the freeway and something would slide around or fall, she’d yell out, “I got it!” with confidence.

But I guess being cooped up with us finally got to be too much. Hey, if you could sit for a few minutes in the RV toilet you’d get a good idea of why she left.

Just kidding. My parents are retiring to Monroeville, Alabama, where my mom spent her childhood. She loves it there and her people are down there. Darla volunteered to help mom drive across the country before we ever bought this RV. So, naturally, Darla is sticking to her promise. My dad will follow after all the real estate paperwork is signed in Anaheim and the movers have loaded the truck. He will also visit his parents in North Carolina on his way. They are in their 90s!! and needing some help.

Lots of change is happening! But all good I’d say. This is a time to do what you want to do, to reexamine your life and your lifestyle. It’s time to stop living on auto-pilot. It’s time to suck the marrow out of life!

This pandemic bullshit has me frustrated, like you. And it also makes me realize how far our society has moved away from the idea of community, of looking out for each other. We don’t take care of our own parents like we used to, much less our neighbors and friends. I don’t feel a conraderie for strangers that I think other cultures feel.

When I think about things in my life I want to change, community is one of them: more community!

When trying to get together with beloved friends gets to be the last thing on my long list of things to do, I know I’m in trouble. It’s not okay to be too busy for a visit with friends. This trip to Nina and Jody’s was a great reminder of the healing power of good relationships.

A few of you getting this newsletter are in other countries and you’ve told me how your countries and communities are handling the virus. Those descriptions make me so sad and so fearful for America. Again, I see how our individualism is working against us. “Every person for themself” is NOT working to fight the coronavirus.

What do you think? Are we totally screwed, or what?

Please check out my regular newsletter here.

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I make a mean martini; am often reading; and usually thinking about my relationships, my teenagers and how I’m probably messing them up.

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Shannon Driskill

Shannon Driskill

I make a mean martini; am often reading; and usually thinking about my relationships, my teenagers and how I’m probably messing them up.

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