Here and There

Saturday, December 31, 2016


My word for 2016 was more of the "expansive" I had explored in 2015.  This year I have definitely traveled to the borders of my assumptions, my "take-for-granted" spaces, my comfortable spaces.  I think my word(s) for 2017 are Forge/Forge Ahead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Optimistic Poem...

When A Boy is 6

He gives me a grin and it goes like this:
straight, up, over, down, straight.
Tooth, gap, gap, tooth.
Adding corners to his smile.

And he’s that wiry age, a paper clip bent into the shape of a little boy.
Sharp elbows, pointy knees, he and his scooter just make a little set of triangles.

How can all those points and ends be so warm and loving in the flash of his bright smile, right at me walking by.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pep talk for myself.

White women, why?  Why did you do it!  I am filled with shame and confusion that so many ladies across the nation voted for Trump.  Today, I'm looking around, absolutely perplexed, terribly sad...reading "Coming Back to Life" by Joanna Macy, I find the big picture that I want to be a part of. We cannot stop fighting for what's right, we cannot stop pointing at climate change and shouting for action and responsibility to be taken.  We cannot stop shining a light on police brutality against people of color, the hate and exclusion of immigrants and the LGBTQ community.  It's all still there today, just as it was yesterday and we have our whole lives to fight it.  If you are tired or too sad, sit out a bit, that's okay.  Church-at-large, you failed.  You've been failing.  Time for some other way of organizing, people of faith...let's figure it out.

I am totally ready to go.  I am inspired to live out kindness, welcome, love.  I am totally ready to wrestle the Bible from the hands of the "evangelicals" and find in it true and original blessing which is for all people, NOT just who white, heterosexual, males think deserve it. 

I am totally ready to talk to Jesus about this next leg of the journey.  The Jesus I need now is super Jesus, the one who transcends time and space and is my guru for living in this world.  The crazy Jesus who noticed birds and wheat waving in the wind and would talk to and listen to absolutely everybody.  That guy.  I need him AND I need Joanna Macy and Matthew Vines and Mary Oliver to talk me through it.  And I need my sacred space by the couch and thankfulness and walking.  I need good news and hope and the beatitudes.  I need the Jesus who is a mystic, the Jesus who was alone in the garden.  I don't want Idol Jesus.  The one we make in our own image.  The one people keep locked in 4 books of the Bible and who has a glowing white face.  I want the Jesus who is completely transcendent of the stories and shows me a way to God.

I need help from that guy so that hate doesn't fill my heart and harden it.  So that I can transform my worry and dread and disgust into kindness and bravery.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Creativity sometimes breaks down...

Writing this poem about a pelican is kicking my butt.  I know exactly what I want to say, but it's not showing. 

I am trying to paint this river otter like one I saw over the summer.  It's not working either. 

River otter!  Pelican!  Guys, I'm trying to show something about why I am loving you, help me out!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Mid Birthday Month

 This September, Henry started at Dandelion, and that has been this incredibly surreal thing.  It feels like suddenly my time as a mom to babies is done.  Being at the comforting, beautiful place that Dandelion is feels like having a doula help me through this reality.  On the first day of school, I was participating and Sonia, one of the teachers was gently washing a chicken whose backside really needed a bath.  The circle of children sat around her outside under the tree and watched.  She put Daisy in a bin of warm water and I helped hold her while Sonia said very kindly "I'm going to wash you now, Daisy".  And set to work with her soap and rag.  I thought about how she used that best practice for working with all the vulnerable--babies and small children, the elderly, those who need assistance from others in cleaning themselves--in her interaction with the chicken.  And I felt so grateful to hear those words.  It doesn't matter that Daisy is a chicken.  It was more of a way of interacting with the whole world with respect for living things.  I felt glad that was what I was learning and what all my kids have learned from starting their foray into the wide world at Dandelion.  Way back when, when Lily was 3, I knew we needed a co-op preschool because of the lower cost, but I have found my years at Dandelion to be just what I needed in so many more ways.  I've learned about parenting, about community, about plants, chickens, child development, about true play.  And honestly, my time working on the board, learning with the parents from the speakers at parent meetings, and learning from Abby and Sonia has been such a part of my path toward nurturing children's spirituality as a fundamental practice in my job at CWOW, at home with my kids and hopefully, in my interactions with all the children I meet.

And it was my birthday earlier this month and Lily gave me this amazing card. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

In August

Favorite things I watched:  Broad City, every episode...over and over...., Stranger Things, The Little Prince
Favorite things I heard:  In the Heights, the On Being with Krista Tippet episode with Thich Nhat Hanh
Favorite thing I read:  The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Friday, July 22, 2016


open fire cast iron cooking...
perfect light, perfect temperatures

Didn't even have to use a fly: sleeping under the stars, and getting dressed under the trees and filtered sun.

We went camping at the Russian River last week.  We swam and floated and drank Kirkland light beer, we made good food and now, looking back, even though Henry was wild and naughty a lot of the time, I think we had a pretty darn amazing time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Last week, I walked through a school garden with the kids.  Deserted on a summer afternoon, we picked golden raspberries and strawberries and chard, I studied the labyrinth, there were flowers and herbs and vegetables.  It seemed like the sun was holding it all down with a steady heat.  And me too, I felt like I was clobbered and disoriented by bad news and this fuzz of the sun in the late afternoon was gentling me.  The garden was terraced and full of small paths.  I wandered and felt calm.  A bee working, a dove.  The fuzz of gold on everything in the garden on that warm afternoon.  How could it possibly comfort me?  I don't understand that part.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Grown Ups at the Kindergarten Play

I happened to watch one side of the audience during "Chicken Soup With Rice" at the play and was stunned by how beautiful it was to watch the families watch the children.
The Grown Ups at the Kindergarten Play

It was almost like flash bulbs flashing, but it was their shining eyes blinking.
All the phone screens, they were horizontal, filming.  
But there was still this twinkling about the whole thing:  
Like gems catching the light, sun on the pond.

They were all standing there, half standing, sitting there.
They had forgotten where they were, so charmed they were.
Chuckles and sighs escaped like steam from underneath the lid of a boiling pot.  
Bubbles of pride and delight becoming “aha-has” or a little “oh”.

It didn’t matter what the song or the motion was.  
The kids either sang, or didn’t sing.  They did the motions, or they forgot.  
But seeing them up there had inside-outed the adults’ affection and it was extravagant.

They were so lovely to watch as they were watching,
standing there, half standing, sitting there.
They weren’t hoping for anything for the kids.  
They weren’t dreaming of anything for the kids.  
They were happy to see them up there, just as themselves.

Grown ups, can you feel it?  Can you feel that love coming at you from the audience?  
For you, when you learn, when you forget, when you just sit there, remembering the school play.

There is a presence who is agog at you on your stage, so full of bright love, not even hoping you’ll be anything better than you.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May begins

Just finished Death Comes for the Archbishop yesterday.  Beautiful.  I loved this passage:

"The ride back to Santa Fe was something under four hundred miles. The weather alternated between blinding sand-storms and brilliant sunlight.  The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still,--and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world.  The plain was there, under one's feet but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud.  Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it.  Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky.  The landscape one longed for when one was far away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!"

I also had the suspicion and it was confirmed this evening that my personality type which used to be solidly ENFP is now INFP.  How have I become an introvert?  When exactly did it happen?  I felt it, but I was reluctant to acknowledge it.  And how is it that Peter's is ENTJ?

May will be a busy month, but I hope to spend lots of time working in the garden, watching the chickens, listening to music, drinking deliciously herby cocktails, reading good books and writing more poems.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Home, but with a little more of me left back there I think.  

Desert lovebirds
The big room at breakfast.

One of my favorite spots, the patio between the living room and the sauna.
The adobe house was amazing and the many windows let in the light and the views of the mesa. Multiple sheltered patios and lots of space helped everyone feel together, but independent.  One day, I sat outside, perfectly still in the morning sun for almost an hour just watching the birds and enjoying the silence.  It was a beautiful retreat.  It was clear and cold one night, and there was no wind, so we got to sit under the stars.  More than I had ever seen in my life.

What silent tree shadows this whole earth with night?  
It covers each little town and towering city with star-laden branches.
Here in the desert, I can see all its fruit trembling above me.
And in some wind you can’t feel, those stars seem to spin on their stems,
So ripe, so ready, and threatening to fall at any moment.

Monday, March 21, 2016


At Plaza Blanca
We'll be in New Mexico again for Spring Break.  I can't help it, in so many ways, I'm already there.  Getting filled up by my soul's favorite landscape.  I remember the last time we went, I had such trouble extricating myself from the family when it was my turn for solitude and creative pursuits.  I think I wrote just 1 poem.  Peter made a beautiful collection of songs that are some of my favorite sounds ever.  I was dry.

So, I look forward to this time--Henry isn't a baby anymore, and I've had good practice this year in writing more.  It will be easier to start.

I love our Spring Break retreat vacations.  I love road trips.  I love the desert.  I'm turning in my mind to the time of quiet.

As I've been planning and preparing for Holy Week and Easter, I worked more on a poem I wrote a few months ago, as I processed a sad story that happened far away. Still working, and have two versions going, but this one is my favorite right now.

Close your eyes now, I’ll take a turn and keep watch. 
I’ll get the baby tonight.
I’ll sit up with the sick one.
I’ll listen to the wind;
If it seems like we should take cover, I’ll let you know.
If the earth shakes, and you sit up straight with surprise, I’ll take your hand and lead you to the doorway.  That’s the best we can do about that.  If the place will hold, it will hold. 
If someone pounds on the door, I’ll be there first, to answer the questions.  I’ll be awake, don’t worry.  I know it doesn’t lock anyway, I know it doesn’t matter if it does lock.  I’ll stand there in the opening as long as I can.
You, exhausted with worry and fear.  You, watching and waiting through the nights.
You need back up.  You need a break.
Or at least, company.
It’s unending…”Before the disaster”, “the disaster”, “after the disaster”. 
No amount of watching could make it stay away.  (But if I see it on the horizon, if I have a little warning…)
No amount of waiting would make it never happen.  (But if I anticipate it, if I can ready myself…)
So you have to lie down now, while you can. 
I’ll listen.  I’ll watch.  Except, I cannot.
I feel sorry that I can’t do that for you.  I feel ashamed that I am not able. 
“Can’t you keep watch with me for one hour?”

No.  I cannot.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Turning 3

Maggie turns 1.
Maggie turns 2.
Maggie turns 3.

Lily turns 1.
Lily turns 2.

Lily turns 3.
Henry turns 1.

Henry turns 2.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Late January

 At the campground in Camptonville after Christmas.

 After all the rains, all the leaves and things on the ground make stamps and then they get moved out of the way and the sidewalk looks like this.

 We watched The Shining in 20 minute increments so it wouldn't be too scary.  I had never seen it.  We also watched Back to the Future which I had also never seen.  I feel like I am a more well rounded individual now.

 We got a moon calendar this year.  It's fun to learn the names of all the full moons and see how the moon's cycle is a pattern we forget, but is always there.

Self-care, solo day.  Lunch was good, 3rd cup of coffee gets almond milk in it, a really good book.  Also worked on poems.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

So this is the new year/Turning over a new leaf

In the last days of 2014, I zeroed in on the word "expansive" as one that I wanted to pursue. This was what 2015 was about for me.  "I am open to new ways of living"  was a tag line.  My sabbatical this past year taught me so much about myself, about the value of introspection and embracing the regular practice of writing poems as a valuable tool to process the world and my feelings.

This past year I blogged more, I wrote more and I read more than I have since Lily was born more than 8 years ago.  My hopes for 2016 are to pursue the expansive even more fervently.  Like drinking cold water on a hot day, your first sips, while delightful, only whet your thirst for more.