The Clackamas River

Spence here: It is official! Welcome to the new home of Coupleohuckleberries! I am very proud of our site, and it is always fun reading through our past adventures. So far, the month of March has been filled with evolvement, sprouting and stretching. As my mom would say, “peaks and valleys”. We started off right, taking a few “stay-cations”, as a grand friend was in town and we became tourists of our own city once again.

Step 1: Go out to eat.

Step 2: Wander aimlessly in cool, quirky Portland neighborhoods until one is hungry again.

Step 3: Repeat.

Having multiple beverages with breakfast always signifies a serious vacation for me. Followed up by an overnight camp out on the Clackamas River and a feast with our neighbors to celebrate the Spring Equinox–culminating with the release of our own art websites… Check mine out here:

The over-nighter to the river was chilly and reminded me it is still only March. It didn’t rain though and we had ample time for drawing, investigating fresh water pools and photography. We even had our first camp fire of the year. There’s also something about sleeping in a tent for me, which invokes excitement, possibility and overall child-like smiley-ness. Walking down the path to Alder Flat, we watched our steps as brownish-red little newts lay amongst the leaves and pine needles. I finally acquired a handy tree guide for western trees and spent some time studying the family names of Alders, Cottonwoods, Poplars, Firs, Cedars and Hemlocks.


We live a charmed life, its true, but its not all $50,000 roof-top parties and donuts. I struggled through extra hours, rain and wind at my delivery job with an ill-timed bout of depression and 2o-something bossy co-workers. My body is not what it used to be, as flexibility wanes and arthritis is starting to have perfect attendance. This week I also received a couple of rejection letters from publishers. Was it F. Scott Fitzgerald who received over 300 hundred rejection letters before finally publishing The Great Gatsby in 1925? Well then, 298 to go.

I had a dream in which I caught an evil spirit in my hands. Grasping the dark, twig-like bundle of energy, I brought it to my lips in order to kiss it over and over again. In the next dream, I explored an old house, which to my surprise had glorious, colorful, small, spirits peeking out from between the woodwork. I think the work I have done the last few weeks is good and I have that to fall back on, as well as Billy’s unwavering love and support. I am planning a few new sculptures and now a new spirit painting, which will really feed me for the month to come.

Billy here. Spring is here! All those things we planted last year, for better or for worse are sprouting up!

It reminds me of the Navajo story of the two wolves, one good and one evil. A boy asks his father which wolf will win over humankind, and he answers, “The one you feed.”

So we are choosing to feed our creative pursuits seriously! It’s absolutely frightening, because it’s what has meaning, as opposed to the simplicity of punching the clock on some other job. It feels incredibly vulnerable and yet so empowering. So before I lose my nerve, here is the official unveiling of my new website!

Sharing your creations with others feels incredibly dangerous and terrifying. It’s like falling in love and trusting someone to treat your heart gently as a raw egg. A Texan art curator once said that if you can’t walk by a piece of art every day and get something out of it then it’s not for you. This is tricky, because sometimes you get something out of it, but it’s a hard feeling. You still get something out of it, even if it’s not pleasant. It’s growth. Making art and music is like that. It breaks my heart, making it. But if I didn’t make it, my heart would turn hard as stone.

There was a funny egg in the dozen we bought at the farmer’s market. It was as hard as a rock, and after boiling it, it would not break even after being banged against the concrete. Such an egg or a heart is not good for nourishment. Was it a decoy?

It was great fun to have my best friend in town for five days and see the city with new eyes. We walked the city over, through wind and rain, laughing. There is no better cure for the winter sadness than getting out in the weather and laughing with friends. I am reminded that it’s about people, all the people, the animals, plants, minerals, insects, and stars. We keep bringing each other back to the surface of the water to breathe.

I was feeling mad about some internal weather a bit ago. So I took a walk. Everywhere I looked people were happy. A guy was teaching his four year old how to skateboard. A woman was walking, grinning and bobbing her head to music on her earphones. A dog panted with excitement out a truck window. I couldn’t be mad with all this happy sunshine around. Come on up, they all said, it’s time to breathe above the water! I can start to feel what they mean, those uncanny philosophers, when they say that breaking through to eternity is not some future time or forever time, it’s being right here, right now, each and every moment. That’s eternity. That’s being in love with existence itself.

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