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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 1985)
The Am azon Trail
by Lee Lynch
You d o n 't realize how deep your roots go
till you pull them up. How where you've been,
w ho you ve been there with and what you did
have shaped, or bent, o r straightened you.
T hough I never feel straightened, in O regon, I
som etim es feel b e n t
My lover, w ho’s Floridian by birth, and
therefore fam iliar with phenom ena like a lot
o f sky, o r which wind is likely to be a harbinger
o f rain, o r sunsets, was discussing the loca
tion o f som ething or other on her rural land.
She said it was west o f where we stood.
“ You m ean near the stream ?"
“ Creek. In O regon it's a creek. And no, I
m ean w est" she said with certainty.
I looked around me, envisioned a compass
in m y head, but just like in G irl Scouts, didn't
know w hich way to point it so I'd know where
the rest o f it w ent
Kindly, patiently, she said, "The sun. Think
where the sun rises, where it sets."
O nce m ore I scrinched up m y eyes and
envisioned like crazy. I just cou ldn 't visualize
it. I had no idea where the sun rose or set
My lover groaned, but not for the reasons I
w ould have preferred. “Think," she instructed
me, fo r luckily she'd also lived in Mew York
C ity where I was raised, "o f the house up the
road as the Bronx and the creek as the Hud
"O h !” I said happily. “ The Bronx is north.
So the stream is w est The creek," I corrected
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m yself quickly.
See what I mean? I've carried the city with
me so thoroughly I think in city language.
So it is, too, with living on the Amazon Trail.
We cany ou r culture with us wherever we ego.
My friend Sue the Intrepid Hitchhiker, for
example, called this week. In her progress
from Portland to m y home, she managed to
weave herself in and out o f a net o f ever more
southerly dykes who welcomed her presence,
her stories; ted her, gave her beds and rides
and generally helped avoid all but the briefest
encounters with anyone o f the het persuasion.
Once here she butted in and out o f my
w orkroom as I readied m aterial for / Know
You Know .* a new, very professionally pro
duced magazine; for Bridges*, a magazine
fo r lesbian professionals; fo r On Our Backs*,
a magazine o f lesbian erotica.
Once m ore. Sue had hom ed into a lesbian
And Christm as. W hat do dykes do in the
Western bible Belt to survive Christmas? Why
travel the Amazon Trail to celebrate it of
W hat d o dykes d o in the
Western Bible Belt to
We had a party on the day o f W inter Sol
stice. C om plete with a Christm as tree and
huge turkey devoured by meat eaters and
vegetarians alike. From as far north as
Eugene cam e an assortm ent o f dykes whose
lesbianism colors their perspectives as clearly
as m y city-bias colors the country.
There were Daphne and Judith whose
store “ It's a Matural” on 2nd Avenue, in Myrtle
Creek has becom e a lesbian and gay con
nection along the Amazon Trail. Then there
was Charlotte Mills o f Bookm akers in Eugene,
I a teacher o f self-publishing whose expertise
is inspiring a host o f lesbians to preserve and
disperse our culture on paper. Gail Bowser,
an im provisational actress whose personal
theater group entertains dykes as well as de
picting us, was there. A wom an who teaches
bookbinding, another who earns her living
m aking false teeth and is turning that skill into
art, another w ho’s an avid reader and there
fore supporter o f lesbian authors and
presses, a doctoral candidate w ho'll soon be
another lesbian teaching w om en’s herstory
— they were all there along with the little boy
lucky enough to be grow ing up in the m idst
o f us.
They all took turns reading from m y self-
published story “ C hristm as At a Bar,” a les
bian C hristm as story.* As Tee Corinne said
by way o f introduction to the story: "We need
both to create new celebrations and to claim
and reclaim old ones.”
And we did just th a t We followed, finally,
paper bag lanterns to a bonfire and sat sing
ing a m ix o f spirituals and dyke songs into the
co ld dark n ig h t We celebrated our varied
cultures: Christian, w om en’s, lesbian, with
ou r varied voices blending — or not blending
— but all creating a voice in the n ig h t a
strong clear one brought together by the in
visible thread o f the Amazon Trail.
I sang too. Furtively nostalgic. After all,
w eren’t we gathered ju st south o f the Bronx,
listening to the flow o f the Hudson River?
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Just Out, February 1085