Outlaws

oak_squirrels.png

The roads I take to cross the river are easier to travel during summer, after the late spring exodus of university students. They pack U-Haul trailers and stuff back seats, abandoning kneecapped IKEA couches akimbo on the sidewalk, and wander off with purpose to other adventures, internships, home to work in the family business. Traffic chokes over the bridges; there’s no way over but through. Fall term starts next week and 20,000 students are unpacking and playing beer pong on the lawn.

Mercy and I got off with a warning.

Down at the old boat landing, heaving branches in the river for the dog to wrestle onto the sandy beach, I am chagrined to admit, we were ambushed. Caught unaware like freshmen. Let down the guard. Dazzled by the diamonds skimming over the riffles upstream. Who knew the police had a graphite black ATV to wheel down the rutted rocky trail leading to the water line? Mercy looked at the mini-mobile-park-SWAT vehicle and looked at me. I clipped on her leash and we walked up to meet the officers.

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It won’t happen again.

I had a friendly conversation with Officers Eric and Eric (both Erics, indeed), received the required  verbal warning dogs must be leashed in the  park, and inquired about the capabilities of their impressive vehicle. I studied the tire tread while we talked, assessing its footprint and clearance, asked about traction. Mercy nosed at the long grass. We disappeared up the rise and into the trees like the outlaws we are.

chanterelles

A trough of cold air is slouching down from Canada; there are snow warnings for the Cascades this weekend. Alternating periods of rain and sun launched foraging season, with poison toadstools and penny loaf springing up, yet blooming with fluttery chanterelles and smokey morels as well.

I brush the dirt away from the gills and hood, give the mushrooms a quick rinse and pat dry. Half a yellow sweet onion, a sprig of thyme, carmelized low and slow in butter, before adding rough-chopped chanterelle, a dose of Marsala, a stir of cream, dished over pappardelle, all fog and woodsmoke, fleece and fall, jewels in the moss.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea worked as a System Analyst for 25 years building out the internet of things before returning to letters in 2017. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay competition, Treefort Wild West Writing Prize, and was awarded runner-up in Cutbank short prose contest; her work was short-listed for Proximity Magazine's Essay Prize and the Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Contest. Prose appears in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Thoughtfuldog, and Watershed Review. Kim lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she wrangles her Labrador in the rain. Unless otherwise credited, all photographs and images on this site are the original work of the author who retains all rights to their use .

5 thoughts on “Outlaws”

  1. That first paragraph was really enjoyable to this reader. I like your description of those migration patterns and though I’m not exactly sure what your general mood is here (your brush with the law notwithstanding, lol) I found it very pleasant in a sanguine way how you’ve captured the feeling just so about that familiar transiency and life cycle unfolding. Maybe (probably) I’m just completely off, but at any rate it got me to thinking of the thrill I felt coming over the Ferry Street Bridge the first time (but to live in Eugene, not be a student at the UO), how I’ve always loved coming into town that way (though the last time I came through I did notice the bridgescape is a little more gussied up). Your encounter with the police along the river brings to mind the last time I was in Alton Baker Park a billion years ago and Crosby Stills and Nash were doing an evening concert and David Crosby had to stop midsong at one point because he’d swallowed yet another moth (it occurs to me this must have been a special reunion, I thought he’d fallen out with them?). Finally, this was music to my ears “……all fog and woodsmoke, fleece and fall, jewels in the moss.”
    -Jason

    Liked by 1 person

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