Category Archives: Moments Suspended

What to Do When You Meet a Mirage : Karla mi Lugo

I met a mirage today. Amber face full of hope and longing, flaming red hair in coils and curls of frantic grace, slender fingers and puckered lips: Karla mi Lugo.

music, street music, portland, portland writer, portland musicianAt first, because I was busy and because I have grown impatient, I avoided her eyes. Don’t talk to me, I thought, because you are beautiful and probably crazy, and I don’t have time to get sidetracked and sucked into yet another personal labyrinth. Also, don’t ask for money because I don’t have any. At all.

portland writer, beverage writer, portland music, street musicianHer music is reflective; a wash of accordion and clear, piercing whistling, and a husky voice like an autumn evening. As I sat, carefully ignoring her, her music sidled into my consciousness with a purity that finally had my attention. I put down my work. I engaged.

beauty, accordion, pretty dressWe talked. 5 years ago I also made my living performing in the streets and hoping equally for engagement and clinking coins from passersby. I am relieved to have left that urgency, but then again: I never handled it with such grace and aplomb as Karla does. Since I cannot offer money, I pull out my camera and lovingly explore the silken planes of her face in the afternoon sun, the crisp stripes of her apron, the delicate arabesques on her instrument.

musician, beautifulKarla will be, in her words, “going on [my] musical pilgrimage to Paris” next month, and, I believe I overheard, competing in an international whistling contest. I wish her the best of luck and glorious chance meetings, and I look forward to her return to our gritty streets.

When you meet a mirage, you’d best drop your work and listen.

music, beauty, portland music

beauty, well met, portland street musicafternoon/ Alberta St. Arts District / karla mi lugo






On Assignment: Cannon Beach

beach, ocean, cannon beach, oregon beach, toddler, cute, sun and sandCannon Beach, and a toddler’s cheeks. The brief sun on our lips and the ocean breeze in our eyes. A break from the craziness of the city and a meditation on all that matters.

family, beach, ocean, three generations, sun and sandThree generations stand overlooking the boundless deep. Toes wriggle into the sand under cold water.

husband and wife, love on the beach, beach, ocean, oregon beachSeparate paths on similar terrain. Hearts locked together and meditations alone. I may be on assignment but I am also fully alive, on a beach, with my family. Life’s circles come together in a perfect Venn Diagram and I stand in the center.

Cannon Beach, OR / afternoon / off the grid



Moving is soul-displacing. Familiar spaces and faces disappear and the heart wonders where they went. New streets, new habits, new patterns, have yet to begin, and you wander on the earth without leaving trails below your feet. Every person you see is a stranger. Every house a haven closed to you. Even the dogs and the cats, even the transitory folk who wander, even the raindrops that slide down your new windows–they all seem more at home than you.


I recently moved to Portland, from the wild concrete jungle of Orange County. My SoCal experience was short, three months at the outside, but for this girl who was raised in a small country house surrounded by cornfields and forest, it was revelatory.

Familiarity takes a toll on us, but so does newness. Here in Portland, in the city of grit and protest, I am thankful for the network of shared purpose in coffeehouses. While I may not be known, my passion for learning about origin and extraction is recognized, and between the barista and myself there flashes a brief moment of fellowship.


The beverage world is really about community–shared rituals, shared passion. Here in Portland, in the City of Craft Bev, I am learning that lesson all over again.

Portland, OR / early morning / photos from Broadway Cafe & Westport Rd. in Kansas City, MO

The Secret of Presence

child, pretty girl, pavement, waiting

Self-assured, you stand in the midst of rushing feet and pavement colonies. Child of wanderers, with your eyes and heart engaged in the pulse and rhythm of the city surrounding you, you communicate one solid moment of perfection to those of us who stand still ourselves and watch you with adoring eyes.

Time for pizza.

Portland, OR / lunchtime / Sizzle Pie