On This Land 2023

Our Winter Writers Series (2022-23) weaves stories of connection between people and place. From old log ponds and logging camps to kitchen windows that reveal a nation’s painful past, we are met with loss, connection, hope, and humor. 

Each of the below pieces was generously contributed to be shared as a part of the project by supporters of McKenzie River Trust. We hope you will join us in celebrating the deep and nourishing connections that are formed on this land we call home.


By Tom Titus

Shortly after entering this canyon cut deep into the heart of the Oregon Coast Range, I stopped to stare back toward the gap through which I had entered. The December sky was finally exhausted. Her gray travel-worn cloak snagged on the teeth of a conifer ridge.

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Singing Back

By Carter McKenzie
from beneath the ground

roots and quartz


water carrying

all it knows
from the mountains

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Our Psychic Maps

By Paul Dage
Frogs. In some very comforting way, they haunt me. Their throaty songs still croak from out of a distant yet familiar past, reminding me of youthful days when Popsicles, bubble gum and mischief were the dandy wonders that lured me, a tow-headed boy, from one carefree summer’s day to the next.

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By Charlie Quinn
My mother used to dig small pits in the sand of ‘Ewa Beach while I was still in her belly – the only way she could lie on her stomach during the last few months of her pregnancy.

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Short Poems

By Bob Bumstead
Moon over Black Canyon:
The moon rises
over Black Canyon
softening the contours
of Hoover Dam
knowing it will not last.

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Tell Me Again, of the Season

By Garrett Reagan
Tell me again of the season
When gallivants would whistle and walk, weary eyed and bushy browed
When blackberry brambles spoke in cursive, tracing hillsides in pillowy clouds

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Noticing the Many Shades of Green

By Mary Sharon Moore
Sitting up high in the back of the McKenzie River-bound bus, I take in a picture-window view of morning sky to the east and north. A thin marine overcast evaporates as morning summer sun climbs in the sky.

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Finn Rock 1939

By Lamar White

My parents and sister migrated from Arkansas to the McKenzie River in 1939. My father worked for Rosboro Lumber and they lived in a tent just a few yards upriver from the rock which is Finn Rock.

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The Magic of Being Dirt

By Ms. Joy Sisto
You are the dirt that nourishes the tree.
So, it’s grateful for all your life giving,
and your consciousness to nourish you,
united to love with the best you can be.

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The High Cascades

By Howard Horowitz
Three Sisters, Little Belknap, Broken Top,
Yapoah Crater, Ahalapam: volcanic names
are strewn across the map.
(The bilious earth
disgorged one hundred miles of aa,
inhospitable to all feet.)

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Looking Back

By Billie Ruth Rose

My youth was spent
in the out-of-doors
climbing hills,
climbing trees,
leaving prints on sandy shores,
collecting rocks I thought I’d keep forever.

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By Bob Bumstead

It happened on Kirk Road,
you know, the one between Fern Ridge and Territorial Road…

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A Day’s Hike in the Wilderness

By Mary Sharon Moore

I’m a little over an hour into my seven-hour hike along the McKenzie River Trail. And it’s a stunningly beautiful summer morning in Oregon’s western Cascades. My aim today? To hike ten miles.

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