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Articles written by Sondra Ashton

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Looking out my Backdoor: The quality of light

My backyard pulls me out of the house. I take a book with me, as always, but cannot focus when surrounded by such magical glory. This is the same yard, the same beauty, the same powerful stillness...

 

Out my Backdoor: Strange days and strange ways

Do you ever wonder if the big ol’ sun up there looks down and thinks, “Those are some mighty strange beings down on that little ball of mud, especially that one there, standing by the mango tree,...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: The color of laughter

Yesterday my computer went strange on me, would not let me make any of my usual connections. So after trying everything I knew (not much) I phoned my son for help. Ben was at work, so he said he’d...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 25, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Piecing a partial picture patchwork past

DNA and ancestry search sites are the latest greatest. I’m not sure I want unknown relatives crawling out of the woodwork. The relatives I know are scary enough. Of my background, I know I am...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 18, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Bats in my belfry

I was sitting on my front patio talking with my gardener, Leo, when a velvety brown bat fluttered between us and landed in a hollow metal rafter supporting the patio roof. Ah, I had wondered if bats...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 11, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: It was a dark and stormy night

Here in this high plateau valley surrounded by mountains, in the rainy season, roughly mid-June through mid-October, the sky bursts with pyrotechnic activity nearly every night. I like storms. I like...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 27, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: On the train

I boarded the Empire Builder #7 in Wolf Point. I quickly kissed my daughter goodbye, the door clanged shut, I found my seat and the train rolled west. I cried all the way to Glasgow; the sky,...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 20, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: What was I thinking?

Does anybody remember Mighty Mouse? Is Mighty Mouse still alive? Evidently, I thought I’d swoop into my daughter’s life singing, “Here I am to save the day!” Boy, howdy, was I ever wrong! I to...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 13, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor - Living at-with-inside the zoo

After a whirlwind trip around eastern Montana last week, I’ve settled in a room with no view but, more importantly, with private bath, at my daughter’s new home in Glendive. At times in our...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 6, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: We made omelet, mixed and magical

Bacon and eggs are common base ingredients, but we created a different kind of omelet at Char’s the other morning, a “Friend Omelet,” made of ingredients (ourselves), old friends and new. I had...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 30, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Do you ever get down in the mouth?

Depression by any other name is no rose, let me tell you. Steve and Theresa, my friends from my long-time home in Washington, are back in their home. We had a lovely time together; I especially...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 23, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Reasons, seasons, and forever friends

Friends come in every size, color and flavor and I would not want it to be any other way. I’ve heard it said that some friends are for a reason. I’d agree with that. Take Benjamin, for example,...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 16, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Shake, rattle and roll with the punches

When Guadalajara rumbled with a 3.9 quake, I neither felt nor heard it but at the same time a weird wind seemingly blowing from all directions hit us hard. That night I lay in bed looking up at the...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 9, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: When life weaves magic

My son Ben lives in Poulsbo, a lovely town across the water from Seattle, where I lived with my family for 25 years. He sent the following email to me and it is a better story than any I could write....

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 2, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Bamboozled

I know that I said (quite plainly), “I am not going to buy any more pots for my plants.” I spoke these words quite sincerely, often, back when I had accumulated a total 100 (plus a small number)...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: As a matter of fat

Several weeks or months ago, all the women in the Rancho jumped onto the latest diet-craze roller coaster. One at a time. I’m not sure how or why. Each is beautiful in her own way. I say “all...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: All my oceans lie westward

I felt lost the whole week. I had absolutely no sense of direction. How could I tell? I have long been able to orient myself to water. I sense the presence of a body of water. On our last day,...

 

Looking out my Backdoor - Rags to riches

Remember a few weeks ago I stayed in the sleaziest hotel in Chacala? Lovelytown. Ugly hotel experience. This week, thanks to the generosity of Kathy and Richard, I am in the most posh hotel in Cancun,...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    April 4, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Tempus fugit

Time flies and the older I get, the faster it fugits. As I contemplate yet another birthday, that mean ol’ tempus is fugiting at the speed of light. To add injury to insult, this weekend we will...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: The Sleaziest Hotel in Chacala

We told her. We told her. Never again is she allowed to pick the hotel. “The owner is really nice,” she said. “Yes, the owner is a nice man; his wife is nice, his three-year-old daughter is...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: What you gonna do when your well runs dry?

Three weeks and counting. Two deep wells supply the municipality of Etzatlan with water. One of the city well pumps quit working. Died the good death after a life of service to his community. Down on...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: I got culture

Last Thursday Kathy, Richard, Nancie and I drove into Guadalajara for a night of highbrow music. El Teatro Santo Degollado, in the Centro Historico district where the Orquesta Filamonica performs, is...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    March 7, 2019

Looking out my Backdoor: Strange and sad and sweet, amid Mardi Gras

I’ve heard stories about this elderly couple who live in El Amparo, the abandoned mining town in the mountains, ever since I moved to Etzatlan. Every Thursday this traditional couple, she in her...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: February is the longest month

Winter, we are weary. Whether she gambols like a bleating lamb or roars like a lion, we welcome March after the grim days of February. Skies may still be gray but a fleeting scent in the air says...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: A road less traveled

Jim phoned, “Would you like to go to El Amparo? John and Carol are coming. Be ready in half an hour.” I’ve been wanting to go see the ghost town of El Amparo for three years. Beginning in the...

 

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