Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer signs: a wedding, wading, water, wild fires and Shakespeare

Wading, not quite walking, on the water, sisters Cookie, left, and Olivia, make their way to the wedding on Beverly Beach.
Behind them, sister Misha and family friend Virginia join the wedding party for Kira and Mike.
Flower girls sprinkle rose petals along the sand,
making way for the bride and groom.

Gallavant: to go from place to place seeking out entertainment and amusement-- Oxford Dictionary 

THIS SUMMER -- more than any I've experienced in my decades on Earth -- hits home a profound awareness of the brevity of our spin on this wondrous planet.
We're celebrating, mourning, mending, toasting, feasting, seeing fine plays, greeting family, "gallavanting," as my Irish gran would have said, experiencing the joys and sorrows of life.
Friends are fighting illness and loss, a brother is just home from the hospital after four surgeries. We've sent cards of congratulations -- for birthdays, graduations and wedding anniversaries. We've also posted a dozen sympathy cards and attended a half-dozen memorial services since the holidays.
WE'VE 'WADED in the water,' fording the proverbial stream of  "Climb Every Mountain," and we're keeping an eye on the raging forest fires in my native Montana.
Gathering rosebuds: Newlyweds Kira and Mike.
Bride Kira Cosgriffe Hill, right, and from left, Cosgriffe sisters
Misha Minesinger, Christene "Cookie" Meyers and Olivia Cosgriffe.
We're seeing nine plays in Ashland, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a family tradition, and savoring memories of a splendid family reunion surrounding the wedding.
Groom Mike Hill, left, and master builder Bruce Keller, dismantle the
trellis under which Kira and Mike exchanged vows a few days ago. 
I'm thinking of a poem my late husband Bruce Meyers taught his writing students. "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" has stood the test of time and fits my mood today. Written by English Cavalier poet Robert Herrick in the 17th century, the poem is in the genre of my favorite saying -- carpe diem, Latin for seize the day. Herrick entreated: "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying...."
FOR US, this two-week odyssey epitomizes his verse.  For we are gathering rosebuds.  The trip represents a return to our cherished world of travel, after Keller's successful liver transplant of exactly twelve weeks ago.
We delighted in the picturesque reunion setting on the beautiful Oregon coast. Niece Kira and Mike love Beverly Beach, their choice for the wedding. (We didn't think we'd make it, until a few days before when

Cookie and Keller are celebrating, too.
Ten years together, a wedding, and
a raft of extraordinary plays in Oregon.
Keller helped photograph the wedding.
Raised on the ocean north of San Diego,
he is most at home near water. 

excellent scans and bloodwork convinced our doctors we were okay for travel, weeks earlier than originally dictated thanks to Keller's record recovery.)
Nick and Nora, above, make themselves at
home in favorite hotels, Ashland Hills and
 Ashland Springs, both pet friendly digs.
WHILE WE MONITOR forest fires in Big Sky Country, near Bozeman, we are thankful for safety of our Stillwater County home.  I spent the first weeks of my life in Bozeman, with my university-student parents, and we mourn the loss of wildlife and bird habitat in gorgeous Gallatin and Madison counties.  Neighbors along the Stillwater say the smoke is horrible.  We smell it even here in southern Oregon, where we're based for the Festival plays.
We're sad that my native state has had to spend nearly $30 million fighting the blazes.  As part-time Californians, we're proud that my adopted state has sent aid.
High Chaparral in Montana, is -- knock wood -- free of fire this season,
but much of Montana is sadly shrouded in smoke and flames.
As a longtime fan of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I'm thrilled to be back in Ashland -- for the fourth time with Keller.  Through the years, the festival has been a balm through good times and sad for the family.  I've purchased seats in the Angus Bowmer Theatre to honor both my late husbands, Bruce Meyers and Bill Jones, and am planning to honor my parents' memories there, too.
Some of several loved ones' ashes are sprinkled in Lithia Park and Ashland Creek, and memories of my late sisters and our mutual love of theater surround me as I sit in the three splendid theaters, thrilled with each

dimming of  the house lights.
A family reunion, spurred by the wedding of Kira Cosgriffe and Mike Hill.
I think of all I'm thankful for: family, fun, birds, friends, the Yorkies Nick and Nora, and of course theater.  I am grateful for a life of travel and the arts, for having some talents,  and for the ability to be generous, to take chances, to love.
I am happy to be again strolling the village of Ashland, reprising dozens of visits.  We make our way up the hill to hike around much loved Lithia Park. I listen to bird song, look for deer and squirrels, feed the ducks.
THIS BEAUTIFUL PARK opened in 1892, the year of my maternal grandparents' birth. They introduced me to the phrase "carpe diem."  And taught me the art of gathering those precious rosebuds!

Cookie and Keller today on the grounds of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, celebrating life!

NEXT UP: Ashland, Oregon, home to the internationally known Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is thrilling crowds with its stellar season of work in three beautifully designed theaters. Since the late 1950s, it has been part of Cookie's life. We share its wonders next Friday.  Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekends for a unique twist on travel, nature, family and the arts.


  1. What a wonderful essay, an inspiration. Carpe diem indeed. And hats off for a life well lived.

  2. These weekend pieces are refreshing and fun to read. We look forward fro the South of France.

  3. Florida Playgoers.August 8, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    Sounds delightful...we are huge fans of OSF, too....we go twice each year to see the whole docket, February and October. Great read.