An unexpected moment of grief shared with an unusual friend.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Late afternoon sun angles across the meadow, creating a facade of warmth on this chilly early March day. My black rubber chore boots squish in the mud left by the last rain as I make my way down the garden trail.

Moments before it is crushed beneath the weight of me, a soft purple glow poking up on the edge of the path catches my eye.

Hello Crocus.

Wow, spring is here for sure now. Never mind that tonight night it will dip to 22 degrees Fahrenheit and maybe snow a few inches. …

Emotional shopping = comfort food.

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I just lost my mind. I’m about to drop $200 online buying new clothes. You know those cute little boutique clothing ads that pop up on Facebook from time to time when you’re scrolling? They are the scourge of the earth.

It’s not the $200 that bothers me, although I’m sure the car payment is a better use of those funds. Or how about groceries? In the past, in our pre-Covid reality, shopping in thrift stores was one of my favorite outings — a form of self-love. No guilt, I was buying recycled clothes. …

A prophetic dream foretells a fork in the road of life.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It is twilight. Lavender-blue glow fills the sky.

I am alone, standing on the side of a two-lane blacktop road feeling lost. The white line painted on the asphalt at my feet stretches for miles to the north.

I hear a distant hum behind me to the south. A black car approaches and slows down, stopping on the road in front of me. The passenger window is down. A gentle-spirited man with long black hair peppered with gray strands falling well past his shoulders has one hand on the wheel. …

And one woman’s rite of passage to becoming a sailor.

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Photo by Andrew Gober

Kali Kirkendall walks to the stove in her underwear, spins the knob on and brings a blue flame to life beneath the kettle.

The sailboat sways with the rhythm of the ocean as she hangs onto the counter and props the Aero Coffee Press between various heavy items stacked together in the sink so it doesn’t tip over. She pours the boiling water through the press then steps back to her bunk and layers on clothing to stave off the 4 a.m. chill.

Steaming hot mug of coffee in hand, she makes her way up the starboard side stern rail…

And what you should never, ever say to a rockstar.

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Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

The memory of a live concert experience is especially poignant now, having just survived the worst year of everyone’s life. So many of us long to be in a crowd of people, hear live music, or go to a concert with our friends again.

The pandemic decimated business-as-usual and collapsed live music.

It took a wrecking ball to venues, even as the buildings stand as ghost homages to a life we all once took for granted. Local bands in local dives and rockstars in stadiums have been sidelined, silenced, and secluded. Relegated to Zoom feeds and Facebook streams — the show must go on.

My prayer today is…

And 3 things you should know before you get chickens.

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Photo by Michelle McAfee : Elvis the Chicken

In September wildfires tore through the neighboring community of Talent, Oregon and burned the town down to ash. I personally know ten families who lost everything. Two days after the burning beast devoured the place, I received a call from a friend who knew I had an empty chicken coop. A woman under mandatory evacuation needed a place to house her chickens.

My dad was helping me string fence that day and said with a smirk, “she’ll probably show up with seven roosters.” He meant it as a joke. …

In case you’re doubting, this is what Covid feels like.

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Photo by Ed Leszczynskl

I gardened that day. Pushed wheelbarrows full of rich loamy Oregon compost to the raised beds and worked the fertile goodness into last year’s soil with a digging fork.

It was sunny and warm. Small drips of sweat ran down my forehead. I opened up the irrigation from its winter’s sleep, then stuck my head beneath a gushing spigot and took a long, cold drink of water. It was Friday, March 20th.

I ate a good dinner, after a good day’s work. By 8 p.m. my stomach ached and there were deep rumbles in my belly. …

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Photos by Michelle McAfee

My friend Dave called at 10 a.m. “Hey, happy birthday. Let’s go shoot something.” He knocked on my door thirty minutes later, glasses fogged, rivulets of water running down his forehead. The day was the color of drab. The wind slobbered rain into our faces on the mad dash to his car. No respectable photographers would be out on a day like this. We decided to rethink our adventure over a cup of steaming courage and scrambled eggs at Natalie’s Cafe in downtown Camas, Washington. Eventually the rain subsided, as it always does in the Pacific Northwest, and Dave’s face…

An up-close peek into a songwriter’s creative process.

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“What do I write about? I never know.” — Nick Cave

It’s late. After midnight. I should go to bed so I can function tomorrow. But the guitar case is staring me down from the corner of the room and a restless feeling is pinging around inside my ribcage.

I surrender and strum a few chords. No particular idea in mind. No words. No real thoughts. I’ll just play a few minutes then turn in for the night. A feeling brushes across my skin and tickles my voice into humming a piece of a melody. …

Michelle McAfee

Writer Musician Photographer Wilderness Lover Creative Instigator Gardener

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