I suppose I should introduce myself.
My parents named me Wilhelm, after a dutch sailor-friend of my father, named "Wilhelm Dedood", pronounced Vil-emm Deh-dote, it means "divine helm" and "the dead". I don't know why they did that. I never see the guy, I don't even know that he ever liked me, and my father doesn't really seem to get along with him any more (they haven't talked for over a decade). In any case, everybody incorrectly called me "Will-helm", so they changed the spelling to Willem. Now everybody calls me William instead. Unless they call me "willow".
I grew up in very sacred places to me, places I miss in my bones, though not often in my thoughts. I grew up on the Oregon south coast, a place thick with salt air, the rich rot of kelp, and the grieving calls of the gulls fretting over fishing boats. Sand seemed to get in everything. In the winter the wind blew and blew, enough to chill your bones, and the fog rolled in thick and heavy, paradoxically blinding you while at the same time carrying the clear sounds of voices and shutting doors far beyond their origins.
In the summer you could expect days as hot and dry as you like, though the chill wind along the shore never stopped.
Later my family moved a little up-coast, and the weather seemed much moodier and murkier. A place turned sad by the arrival of Europeans, who even in that modern day seemed despairing and strange in a land stolen from those who considered it a paradise.
The sand and the sea, the innumerable tight slopes of the coastal mountains hiding cranberry bogs, and cedar swamps, and the dark and holy wildernesses.
I live now in the Willamette Valley in the Portland Area, once known as Stumptown for the vast panorama of trees butchered and killed to feed the hunger of new arrivals. Not far south from here, my father lives near a town called Woodburn, named so because to clear fields the europeans had bonfires of the tree's bodies licking the sky, 24 hours a day, for years.
Though I know more naturalist lore about this area, the trees and animals and so on, than I do of where I originally grew up, some part of me doesn't know if I'll ever know it in the same way as the land of my childhood. Perhaps. This place introduced itself to me as a city first, all buses and downtown and the grinding weary chaos of the mid to late years of public schooling. Only a decade later did I come to explore its wild greenways: the ecstatic toothsome industry of beavers, the regal and rapier wielding herons hunting, the sweet-needled hemlock and douglas firs, the sheltering arms and fuzzy knapped skin of the great redcedars, the syrupy perfume of cottonwoods with their riot of wind-strewn white cotton.
I care about my family a lot, and for the most part they have lives far more invested in the modern culture than I. I write and I teach, and eke out an existence in the margins for now.
So, that tells a little about me.