How To Saunter

(For Owen)

Forget what you left behind if possible; think ‘wander’,

Look ahead, nonchalantly, toward the path,

Only as far as the flowers and

the birds that have nested near the climbing hydrangea.

While we’re on the subject of birds,

study them quietly — let them teach

you about what’s important; notice

their priorities (do they spend time worrying over small things?).

Sauntering requires that you dismiss

the minute, mundane worries of life

and remain free to inhabit

the joyful moments of life instead.

To enjoy life, even the slightest bit,

one must saunter.



Afraid of life, she listens to

them tell her how different

she is; she takes it to heart

at first. Watch her try, try

try to be like them but

no matter how hard she tries,

she is not like them.

Somewhere along the equation

she realizes that different than

is not less than;

it is equal to. Sometimes (maybe

mostly) different than, plus

different than equals a sum

far greater.

The Enclosure of the Heart

Like a sprouting seed, love climbs

the enclosure of the heart

that has at last allowed

the light of grace to reach it,

tendrils — fragile and leggy —

pull it up and out

of its dark place,

deep in the dank ragged

edges of loneliness

until it flowers, spilling

all its fragrance and color

on any one who will stop and listen.

Up From the River Smiling

A friend once told me she met

her future husband just after

a turbulent river tossed

her out of her small kayak.

My friend, being who she is, showed

up from beneath the icy water

laughing — her bright smile stretched

across her triumphant face.

The man, knowing his own need,

asked, “who is this woman

that came up from dangerous

water smiling?”

He asked to meet her on dry ground.

They loved well and married,

carried out to the sea of life

by that river-smiling moment.

I wonder how I, being who I am,

could meet another who is able

to come up from the river smiling.

I’m familiar with icy water, dangerous

and turbulent; I watch it carefully,

hopeful to someday see the one

who comes up from the river

with a smile on his face.


Listen to me,

Since you are willing to risk all,

Though the earth dissolve,

What have we to fear?

All power on earth can be overcome

By the will of Love,

Which is so soft that it melts

at a touch.

So splendidly beautiful that

the embrace will forever be

rooted far down into the earth.

The Color of Your Heart

(Written for my art students at Howard Street Charter School, 2012)

The color of your heart is deep and wide–

It gathers all around me

And fills my days with laughter rich

And teaches me to be

More colorful myself, spilling all

My deepest hues

(Those I tend to hide inside)

Instead of showing them, like you.

Together we can paint the world to

Create a masterpiece

Of love and harmony and then

Our world can be at peace.


Jefferson Then

My family moved to Jefferson in the Spring of 1946 from Southern California following World War II. My father worked in the shipyards and my mother ran a boarding house there.

We came to Oregon so the family could work in the fields which we did, starting with strawberry picking, mint hauling, bean picking, corn picking, etc as all were done by and before mechanization of those crops. There was no minimum age limits, so we all could work, and did all summer. We were all responsible for making enough for all school clothes and expenses. When we came to Jefferson, there seemed to be a lot more business than today.

Downtown had a Confectionary where we could go for ice cream, milk shakes, etc. There was a drug store, Doctor, Theater, two active lodges (Masons, Eastern Star Oddfellows and Rebeccas), a blacksmith, variety store, several grocery stores, several service stations and cafes, just to name the first part of the business area.

The “Terminal” was on the highway (Second Street) and was the bus terminal as Greyhound busses came through regularly. This was prior to the construction of Interstate 5 and highway 99 was the main north/south highway going through Jefferson.

Having been born on the Texas Plains and raised in Southern California among the Palm Trees, the thing that amazed me most was how high the fir trees grew! And I never knew that mint was a farm crop.

I have lived in Jefferson now for 57 years, married a Jefferson born native, raised a family, worked and retired in Jefferson and have see many, many changes take place in town. Major businesses destroyed by fire include the Evangelical Church, the Mari-Linn Co-Op and Freres Lumber Company, each of which have been replaced except the Co-Op.

A bank came to Jefferson in 1963, a new post office in 1960 and again in the early 1990s.

In 1946 there was one school that included all 12 grades. Now there are three schools as the population has grown to require a grade school, middle school and high school. Jefferson will continue to change.

–Margaret Hire Knight