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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 …

dust

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 …

found poem, i think in fragments

I think in fragments. There's something curious and engaging about partial thoughts that have no punctuation or delineation. The oddments leave me wondering what's next, what's beyond the obvious. This unknown is like peering through a hole in the fence to see what’s there or opening a box of junk found in a cranny of the garage.
I like to write what I call “Found Poems.” The basic idea is to take a handful of words, fragments if you will, and use them to write a poem.  The words I chose to incorporate into this Found Poem made it difficult,  but it's a good exercise for my mind to pull together disparate words to form something.

Poetry should flow, yet the flow is often in fragments.
words used: tower, viable, conversation, reservation, treat

looking from the tower, perched on the edge beyond visible in every direction
conversation viable in the great expanse no distraction, nothing obscured at the vantage above it all
hesitation, reservation set aside replaced with the unco…

tradition or rhythm and christmas walks

How long does it take to make a tradition? Is there some sort of parameter, or is it something that just comes to be? By definition, a tradition is something passed down from generation to generation, but how are new ones established? I mean, they have to have a beginning.

That little diatribe to say, my cute man and I have a new Christmas morning rhythm, since tradition might be too strong of a word.



After coffee, breakfast and the Christmas story, we donned our hikers and headed out to walk the trail at Shevlin Park. Others had the same idea as we met families large and small; folks out for a run both with and without furry friends in tow. The mood was congenial with Holiday greetings. I made it my mission to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone we met.

The day was stellar, cold, crisp air, ice crystals sparkling in the late morning sunshine.



The beginning of the trail is enclosed in bare-branched trees that only a couple months ago were ensconced in iridescent golden coins that quaked …