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Showing posts from 2018

an empty park

The park was empty this morning. I was humming California Dreamin'. I like seeing people and exchanging a few words, but there's something extraordinary and peaceful about being there - alone. Isabella freely sniffed. 
I could weave my way in and out of the trees without wondering if people thought I was a crazy lady for not walking a straight path.
trees are gray-brown silhouettes 
set against an ashen sky, ready to drop crafted snowflakes
streets are iced
houses bright with twinkling lights beckon us indoors
winter is descending with darkness and dormancy and cold
each breath exhaled creates fog
an innate splendor 
air crystallizes and suspends for a moment
all is calm
all is quiet
in the season of rest and sleep

I could hear the birds and see my breath. 
I was mindful of winter's imminent arrival. The sky had that "snow sky" look. It's time to think about hibernating, where all is stilled and quiet for a time.

Plants and animals need this season to regenerate and grow.…

cocooned in a glass container

I was cocooned in a glass container on top of a hill, shrouded in clouds and mist. Eva Cassidy sang a bluesy "Wade in the Water." Looking out, the infinity deck was like a ship's bow and we were sailing through the storm.

Every other year is our all-family together, together Thanksgiving gathering.
2018 happened to be that gathering year, and I was spoiled; getting to stay in one of our favorite spots - the cabin above the clouds - that belongs to some friends.

Thanksgiving Day was a cacophony of activity. Cousins big and little did their thing. The littles running through the house, even though they were supposed to be upstairs. Tons of giggling could be heard, and of course, the requisite getting mad; just because that's what happens. Love and interaction does that. Family, even at young ages is messy, but I wouldn't trade or discard it.

Stories, old and new were re-lived. Some old stories were given new applications.
All isn't rose-colored and perfect like H…

ode to a stranger

There was a day I was walking in the park with Isabelle. It's a daily activity that's pretty easy for me, now. But, several years back that wasn't the case. Discs in my lower back were pinching nerves, causing the most piercing pain I had ever experienced. 
Walking was the worst; and I loved walking.
i saw you walking in the park alone birds chattered with squirrels together i saw you bent, moving slowly coping willows shifting in the wind sky lit and sparkling balanced i saw you and i was sad until i saw your smile inspiring

After infinite physical therapy treatments and injections and chiropractor visits my doc said a fusion was needed. I freaked, but at this point had nothing to lose and my very movement to gain.

Seven years later, I can hike and bike, kayak and snowshoe. I'm grateful for the mobility I gained.
So, seeing this woman in the park brought a flood of emotion and empathy. She was as bent as branches on some of the old twisted pine trees. I was sad for her struggle, feelin…

i'm reverting to what i think i always was

Writing sometimes takes floaty, old-school music. Right now I'm listening to a Zombies radio mix and specifically Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" that fades into "Venus" by Shocking Blue.

All these songs used to stream out of my sweet black transistor radio when I was in Jr. High, now known as middle school. 
We were so cool with our stick-straight hair parted in the middle, wearing white go-go boots and micro-mini skirts. Yes, the stuff of Austin Powers' dreams was groovy reality, baby.

All of this musical randomness slipped around in my thoughts as I experimented with another poetic fall piece, but Crosby starts tuning "Wooden Ships," so I pour a glass of 19 Crimes and light the candles.

Curtains are drawn. It's dark and quiet outside, while music blares in the house. 
The notes return the past, like Jr. High dances. How awkward we were, waiting for a slow song and the excuse to cling onto each other. Or, Strawberry Fields Forever when we&…

autumn waning

My laptop sits on a makeshift desk. It's situated in an east facing window. From my window I see the neighborhood where I live, and an intense ruddy maple tree. At the base of the tree is a dry creek bed  we created this summer. It's now full of the red leaves, recently blown from branches. 

Allowing my gaze to go beyond the maple, a tall pine stands and the pale medallions of the aspen glint in the afternoon light. The colors and splendor of the dying and drying leaves affects me every year. I wish I could capture the enticing beauty with photos and words worthy of the display.

Copperhead Road plays in the background. The name kind of goes with this piece; a nice strong beat vibrating, much like my heart when autumn arrives.

autumn sun rises slowly,  splintering the horizon into blushing skies that appear to the strain of birdsong

wild geese honk their lonesome ballad,  taking flight in early morning mist falling gently on grassy fields

thick dew lays over the breaking dawn,  illum…

the hedge, on the edge

Walking past the hedge, on the edge of the broken pavement, the path constricts as branches brush past my cheek. The way is narrow and thin; a reflective pace unavoidable.

There's life in the hedge - birds and bugs, spiders and the sort. Life seems well designed for creatures of nature. They exist in the hedge and dine on what comes their way; a small interactive society.

In some way or another, we all live in a hedge - our town, our community, neighborhood and home. How much we participate in the movement of our hedge depends on us.
Take the spider for example. She spins a lively tatted web and then waits, luring in her food. On the other hand, birds flit and flicker, seizing what have you's here and there, and then  return to their nest. Other living things fill additional elements of the hedge. All have a useful fragment of the being.

I walk by this hedge most days. And, most days the phrase, "walking past the hedge on the edge" goes through my mind.
I originally th…

leaving las vegas

Leaving Las Vegas, a line made famous in movies, song lyrics and billboard slogans. For me, it’s more than a catch-phrase. It pierces my heart, now more than ever.

You see, previously, people were there drawing me back, but as pages are torn from the book entitled “Life,” I’m more aware of how fleeting and transient things are. Change is a given.
My heart feels - each word expressed - come back, don’t be a stranger. I know they’re wondering if they’re losing all contact with the family of ones deeply loved. I wonder, too. And while I also know that’s how things happen, I don’t have to like it.

So, I stare out the window of the plane, the sun bringing light and heat to the day in shades of pink and pale orange which burst against the blue sky. My thoughts are pensive, questioning, seeing only the rugged ranges with striations of soil and color veining them. As the plane climbs we soar above the clouds stacked on each other like mounds of whipped sweet cream. Contemplation is as thick as…

lunch with Cait

People come and go in our lives. Some, we spend time with for a short season, while others remain. My friend Cait, although I’ve only known her for a short time, has a way of leaving impressions that last an eternity.

Back in January of 2017, we met up for lunch. She was preparing to take a trip. I don’t even remember where she was going. It didn’t matter. After we parted, I jotted down my thoughts with the full intention of finishing the poem. However, the more I’ve lingered with it, the more I love it in its incomplete state. 
An ordinary lunch with an extraordinary person We ate tacos and pupusas and talked of adventures small and grand A weariness in her eyes as she prepared to leave  She’s brave and adventurous and vulnerable like a child all at the same time But then, aren’t we all?
My friend, I’m so excited about the chapters you are writing in another place with other people. I hear your passionate words, “Stop the glorification of busy!” So true. And I’m stopping to think about my…

lonely has no boundaries

She came into the shop to purchase barbecue sauce, usually 3 to 4 bottles at a time. Her eyes were clear blue, and she had a ready smile that was mixed with quietness and melancholy.
I remember one particular day she came in with eyes red around the edges. I asked if everything was ok. She looked at me with her clear blue eyes and said, "Yes, but there are days you just need to cry." I agreed then, and I agree now.

Today is one of those melancholy days; not a need-to-cry day, but one that's on the side of sad and contemplative. So, it seems appropriate to share this post that's been sitting as a draft for weeks.

People are lonely, desperately crying to be noticed.
I've been lonely. I've had conversations with people who are lonely. The unfortunate thing is, it's not the outcast, recluse living in the hoarder house down the street. It's the chipper girl at the coffee shop who only wants another couple for her and her boyfriend to hang with. I think to m…

a tale from foxtail

fox glides, low to the ground                       sly, inquisitive, resourceful creatures solitary, bronzed and ruddy with flashing eyes        bushy tail dipped in white  forest home or urban domain                                      fox, a nocturnal pilgrim
Summer has afforded me an opportunity to move about aimlessly; not quite a coddiwomple, but sort of. This week, I found myself writing and sipping iced chai at Foxtail Bakery. Let's just say the cookies were perfect and divine; I was completely tempted to purchase more pastries than I should. 

There's a tall counter with white-backed stools and a big garage door to let in light and fresh air. Picture windows face the street. Cars buzz by. Black and white striped umbrellas twirl like the tutu of a ballerina.

Assorted tables and chairs in turquoise and orange fill the space, along with a low-slung wooden table and bistro chairs. Some new-school rattan is thrown in for good measure. It's comfortable and alive.

A larger-tha…

sandy path birthday

I often write things on a particular day, and don't post them for a while, or even at all. For the most part, I'll change the tense so the words are relevant. This however, is basically an unedited version of what I wrote in my journal after walking the circles in the sand:

Today is my birthday. It's not just another birthday, for on this particular of everyday, ordinary days, I turned 60. It's not a little number anymore, but it's also not as big as some to come.

I wasn't sure what to do with the responsibility of reaching this point. It could be an "I'll wear purple and learn to spit" kind of day; conceivably an introspective, meditative time or a big hoopla, firecrackers blasting, but that's saved for Lady Liberty.

None of the above seemed quite me, so I chose to walk a sandy path labyrinth. I find walking a labyrinth to be inspiring, peaceful and moving. It's a time to celebrate and nurture the body, soul and spirit.

I'd seen a speci…

mesmerized by bird netting

Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.  - Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

She sat
Mesmerized by bird netting
Dropped over the garden and fruit trees
It glistened in the sun and moved gracefully in the breeze
So did the leaves on the pear tree
Morning gentleness as birds made known the day
Along with the quaking sound of Aspen

Her coffee cup empty
With a stained ring and splash down the side
Notebook and pen left untouched
She stood to tend pots of pink geraniums
A train horn sounded from somewhere
The neighbor's dog barked
Her brown dog lay quietly by the purple table 

Brushing hair out of her face
Worn hands on her hips, she took stock of her ward and smiled

Morning is my time for prayer, meditation and basically waking myself up to the day. I like it quiet and undisturbed. No voices. No talking. No answering. Simply quiet and undisturbed.

In the summer, I find one of our Adirondack chairs to be the perfect spot. They sit away from the house against …


Living in Central Oregon, one becomes accustomed to living with dust. Our semi-arid climate has a sandy, powder-like soil which appears to grow rocks.

How do you grow rocks? I don't know, but it happens. 
When I'm cleaning and dusting for the umpteenth time I don't recognize dust for the artistry it can become. Beauty is and always has been created from dust. Pottery, paint and even facial treatments come from dust. And we don't think a thing about slapping a mud mask on to tighten our pours or take care of a bee sting.

I asked myself an elementary question: What does dust do?

it clings and covers       blows around seeps in cracks and crevises                          permeates it stays and is ever-present       dust is not a respecter of objects it collects, hides       fine, gritty, powder-like in the air     on faces and boots feet and hands             surfaces, plants and trees dust is
As soon as dust lands, it's blown elsewhere or washed away. Wouldn't it be mind-alte…

where that place used to be

Just over four years ago, my guy and I traveled to Lakeport, California where I was born. I hadn't been there since I was 12. As we walked and drove around, I had this weird déjà vu, I-remember-this-place thing happening. I tried to find my paternal grandparents home, but where that placed used to be no longer existed. Instead, there was an empty lot with only a block retaining wall still standing. The big cedar tree was there, strong and tall.

where that place used to be is now a vacant lot a crumbling retaining wall borders the edge remnants of an old barbecue, a bird bath weeds and a few scraggly shrubs an old rose with scant petals, but many hips
when I closed my eyes, it all returned the white two-story house with kitchen at the back wooden screen door that slammed as kids ran in and out potato salad and chicken fried up in a big cast iron skillet laundry hung on the whirly line in the yard
at noon the firehouse siren would sound we'd run in maniac circles until the noise stopped a b…

stalk, street art

he lumbered down the alley, casting a long stalk of a shadow hat brim twice over his ears, he whistled a tune one of those you should know, but can't quite put your finger on strolling out-of-sight, his image lingered

The photo is street art. It was my muse for this short scribbled poem. The prompt was "stalk." As soon as I read the word, I remembered this picture, snapped on an aimless walk through the Alberta Arts area of Portland. 

Did you know there's a really cool word - coddiwomple - that means to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination? 
Yeah, a friend shared that with me awhile back, and I've been waiting for an opportune time to use it. Somehow, though, I think it will be worthy of a complete blog, in and of itself.

I find street art to be poignant. It tells a story, even scrawled graffiti. 
The spray-can wielding individual had something to say. And whether you agree with his method or not, the message was painted for viewing.

Where I live,…

it's holy week

It's Holy Week, and I don't feel very "holy." 

Things are coming apart and are broken. There's a friend whose husband has been dealing with serious health issues for a few years. A family who lost a dear loved one and marriage struggles for other friends. My job is coming to an end. And, heck just don't even bother to watch the news.

It's Holy Week, and why don't I feel "holy?" 

Because I'm consumed by what I see and what's happening all around me. Lives are shattered into mosaic pieces. And, I desperately need the One who controls life and breath and everything else to put the pieces together.

When I think of the word holy, visions of a perfect, devout person comes to mind; someone like Mother Theresa or St. Augustine. They probably didn't feel holy either. Stuff happened around them as well. I don't have a corner on the market for crap going on.

You want to know what holiness is really about? 

Look at Jesus. He was a normal guy …

excellent. how serious are you?

Have you been told you always say something? I have. Evidently, I respond with "excellent" and then ask two questions:

How serious are you? And, what's the vision?
Each could be asked independently of each other or in reverse order, stacked on each other. Answering one leads to the asking and answering of the other. I know, it sounds like a labyrinth conversation.

How serious are you? About a decision, about a change, about a direction or choice? If the answer is some laissez faire something, then nothing will occur. Serious action will not take place, and probably nothing will come of the thought. You see, the degree of seriousness creates movement. Movement, in turn creates a response.

I picture it like the proverbial mousetrap game - the dropped marble starts a chain of events.
What's the vision is directly tied to the serious question. The vision will determine the degree to which we seriously take things. A wishy-washy, obscured view doesn't require much. Howe…

heartbeat in water, in the desert

Sitting on the patio at Milo's Cellar and Inn,I found myself mesmerized by the sound of the water. The theory was to read and write, but I was absorbed with the sound; conscious of the water spilling over the gutter which had become a fountain.

We stayed at Milo's last year. It's an oasis in the desert, tucked above and behind the wine cellar exterior. Once the door closes that leads to the courtyard and rooms, one has entered another place, another time. A place where time is still and quiet, save for the profusion of water tipping over the gutter.

water tipped over the down turned gutter
covered with years of verdi gris on what was slick copper

the splashing was loud; landing in a pool inhabited by shiny koi and a turtle named Tom

cattails lived on the edge; conversant with existence in water and soil

moss adhered to rocks drinking in each splashed water molecule

listening, the sound was rhythmic and steady; a heartbeat in water

the water was disturbed; the koi didn't mind

the quiet paradox

I'm a music girl, but I like the quiet. So, I live with this paradox. I see other enigmas in my life - some are trivial, others deserve attention.

Look at society. Our current culture is rife in a quagmire of nonsensical. We say we care and want to love, yet do nothing. Or, worse, we simply yammer on about how "somebody" really should be taking care of this or that. I'm guilty here. No stones are being cast.

Ergo, I turned off the music to sit in the quiet. What can be heard in the quiet is unreal; the birds waking up, the guy down the street is warming his truck, the slight ringing in my ears,  my thoughts. I can hear my thoughts instead of drowning them out with sound. Sound that I normally groove on.

When I hear my thoughts, I'm more aware of the paradox. Even as I sit, the furnace clicks off and the sound of the refrigerator is noticeable; a see-saw invasion to my soul searching and hearing.

My interlude with quiet is ending. The sun is pouring through the w…

she worked underground

I spent the afternoon reading through old notebooks filled with pieces I’ve written. Some were finished stories, others concepts or impressions from what was going on in my life.  I found many “mindful” thoughts, chronicles of trips, lists of words and disconnected sentences. It was quite fascinating; like a time capsule of events all noted on paper.

I plan to start sharing some of these partial works. My intention is that something in them will resonate with someone.

She worked underground. It was better than working above. Daylight exposed things and cast shadows of doubt. Scars and pain, hidden in the earth were revealed.
Daily donning the garb of a miner, she gripped her pick axe to toil in darkness; striking each rock with a solid blow. Emerging at dusk, she was loose to roam the quiet streets.
Covered in grit, she was not a sight to turn heads. Her one atoning feature was the unconventional necklace hung from her ivory neck. People rarely got a glimpse of it as it remained tucked …