Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just Moments

***Cows graze on the crest of brown hills made of felt.

***A mound of golden sugar melts into tea the same color.

***Weeds wave in the round window of the tunnel like Thankgiving grain.

***As we drive into the fog, our spirits lift.

***The flat grey of the ocean is a promise like no other.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"this is what you will come back to..."

I love this poem. I came across it in my files this week and wanted to share it with all of you.

You Begin

You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.

-Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In Sum

Mostly, I try to be grateful...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Offer Hard To Refuse

When I brought in our mail yesterday, I stood for ten minutes, opening and sorting, before I could get through the lot. I don’t know about your household, but ours is experiencing a bonanza of solicitations. They split into two large piles – desperate pleas from assorted charities and over-the-top offers from credit companies.

Normally, I open these and then chuck them right into the recycler or shredder.

But last week, I got an offer that made me pause. It just caught my fancy with its well-worded promise of instant pleasures and freedoms. Vacations, jewelry, clothes, toys! The terms seemed good – 0%, no fees – but then the terms always SEEM good. These kinds of offers always seem like you can just have it all, right away, no waiting and no pain if you simply accept.

Ah, temptation.

But then I remembered that I am responsible for maintaining the fiscal health and stability of our little tribe. Everyone depends on my judgment being sound for the long-term course. Braces for two children loom within the next year. The exorbitant and rising costs of college are closer than I like to admit.

And, of course, the credit isn’t free. It never is. These offers always come at a price, and that price must be paid, during unpredictable future circumstances, for years to come.

Still it’s been hard to get that lure of wild, unbridled Christmas shopping out of my head.

Making Writing Wait

Sometimes I’m surprised Writing has anything to do with me. I’m so mean to it. Last night, when the house was dark and all else were sleeping, I was still abed, awake and crafting sentences in my head.

But I refused to get up and write them down.

I know most writers insist that you must capture your ideas as you can, else they flee away forever. I believe that.

But I knew if I got up, I’d be awake for hours. I was too tired. So, in a no-nonsense inner voice, I told my writing this:
Check back with me tomorrow. If you really, really want to be a
poem, you’ll just have to hang out in my memory until I get to my computer at a decent hour.

And it did. (I also thought up three blog posts, two emails, and the first four paragraphs of a children’s story. Let’s see if they all hung around.)

tightly coiled brown curls
as thick as stars

the brush of her fingertips
like a thousand kisses

is the fall of Hope
fresh, new snowflakes

landing lightly
on her upturned face and palms

despite the empty
air of the room

Monday, November 24, 2008

Faith and Hope and Christmastime

I saw a great quote on a button this weekend.

We were browsing the Music Store in the Village of Claremont. If you have a chance to visit, this few block stretch of town is so cozy and seasonal. I love to stroll the streets and window shop. Red and green decorations burst from every store. Sure it's commercial and speaks of simulacra, and it's a bit harder to have the Christmas spirit when you're sweating in the 95 degree sunshine pouring down upon you, but it's still magnificent.

So many things are magnificent and worthwhile and comforting, if you open your heart to them. When your circumstances don't lend themselves easily to celebrating is exactly the time to celebrate.

But that's a different post.

For this one, I saw a great quote by Tagore - you know the amazing poet/writer/artist/thinker of Bangladesh and my friend T's favorite.

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.

I spend a lot of time thinking about Faith. Hope, too.

They seem so universally touted, yet so elusive. Almost cruel at times in their capriciousness. But in my heart, I've never turned my back on either of them. Not when things were going well and especially not when life sucked. Because Faith and Hope will save you. They will give you the light that glows within and warms you at your coldest times. They will show you what is good around you and how much worse your situation could be.

There is a great deal of difference between hope and attachment. Attachment only wants one certain outcome. Hope merely says that no matter what the outcome, everything will be okay. In fact, it already is.

It truly is. Each of us has more blessings than we can count.

Kneeling at the altar of the Santa Barbara Mission, the glow of the candles warmed my heart. I may not be Catholic. I may not be able to tell you exactly what I am. But I know what I feel, in that wordless wonder deep within.

I feel Hope and Faith. I wish the same comforts for you throughout this sacred season.

A Stop in Summerland

I can't be in the car another minute.

We pull off before Santa Barbara at the tiny town of Summerland. We stretch our legs along the blocks of antique stores and interior design firms. The purple and pink flowers nod in the sea breeze. I rub a pinch of rosemary between my fingers and release its refreshing fragrance.

I could stay at Cafe Luna for hours. We perch on tiny chairs under a gazebo of green vines. Flowers are everywhere and ochre and buff pottery soothes the eye. Tables scatter through a meandering yard around a converted wooden house.

When I order, the cashier explains to the cook in Spanish what a peanut butter sandwich is and how to make it. He toasts the bread, an unusual twist that delights the girls.

In the bathroom, my younger daughter loves the buttercup walls and seascape paintings. She gives me a hug and a kiss and apologizes for her complaining. I'm sorry, Mommy, and all is forgiven as we go out to our late lunch.

The whole time we eat, I'm aware of the fleeting nature of the moment. I feel the impression of the place sinking into my memory. I wonder if it will become only a memory, a place I visit only once in my entire life, or whether I'll be back.

Even if I go back, I can never go back. Life has taught me this. Each moment is only itself, and only once.

We drive away into a pink-orange-apricot-lilac sunset over the flat grey Pacific.

We're Back!

It was a vacation weekend.

The drive takes a while and is not my favorite part. I'm too impatient to sit still and confined for long, and there is whining on the way up that feels as if it goes on for hours. At one point, I threaten to leave the car and ride the rest of the way to Pismo Beach in a cab - ALONE - but of course I don't make good on the threat.

I love the feel of cutting across Southern California, cities I recognize and those I don't slipping by outside the windows. I love the golden felt hills studded with cactus or wild flowers, and a bit further north, decorated with the dark, glossy green of live oaks with cows scattered here and there for effect. The cows always move slowly and radiate calm.

One hotel room is a bit too small for four people; I am aware of feeling crowded. There's never much of anything to distract us on TV - so much of it is not okay for the girls to watch. We skim through a bit of Disney Channel and Suze Orman's blunt financial advice.

"She's mean, Mommy!" The girls are shocked at her abrupt bossiness.
"That's the point," I try to explain. "People call her so she can tell them what to do with their money."

We spend little time in the room, only stopping by to shower after a round of swimming. The girls could swim nonstop. My parents in the next room and my brother and sister-in-law on the other side all have different opinions of where we should eat, which towns we should see. Getting together is a constant negotiation of tourist options. It's like writing by committee. The product never quite meets anyone's expectations.

My sister-in-law announced that she is newly pregnant with their first child. We are all beyond ourselves with excitement! I will finally be a real aunt and my daughters will have a cousin!!

From our room, there is an exquisite view of the Pacific coastline. At night, we leave the sliding door open and the room fills with misty salt air and the wonderful thudding of the surf. In the morning, we eat white flour hotel breakfasts at an outdoor table with a million dollar view. My love for the ocean is unbounded.

I don't do much reading - just a little skimming of Anne Lamott's comments about being published. My sister in law and I spend a few hours at the local B&N, skimming books about pregnancy and birth. I try to maintain appropriate excitement/advice levels, being neither too disinterested nor too over the top with enthusiasm (which is an easy state for me to reach. Lately my older daughter has begun to point out that I tend to be MUCH too cheerful, particularly when she feels grumpy.)

I'm keenly aware of the danger of being too opinionated, as I actually wrote my Masters Thesis about how cultural narratives impact birth experiences. (Well, I'd done all that reading when I was pregnant, tons of books. Why waste such good research?) But, in a Zen way, I recognize and validate M's right to choose her own journey through this experience - it's really not about how I would do it.

Oh, and can I say that I cannot WAIT for some of the experiences of parenthood to come crashing down upon bro and sis in law? HA HA HA HA. Tell me that MY toddlers were too loud during past visits.

Sunday, we celebrate my father's 68th birthday with lunch at Marie Calendar's. Gathered around the table, still with that amazing ocean view, we open not only his birthday gifts but also early December 1st presents. Our family exchanges pre-season gifts on December 1. But since we were together, we did them early. Our waitress finds it odd that we are tearing into red and green wrapped parcels in mid-November, but then we are odd. All families are.

We tour the Santa Barbara Mission on the way home. The solemn quietness of the thick adobe walls and the layers of history, belief and oppression wrap around us. We're all entranced by the vast church and its soothing smells of incense and candle wax. I touch a rugged, thick nail in the external Mission wall. It looks hand crafted, uneven and rough; I wonder how old it is, who put it there, what they were thinking while they worked.

After Santa Barbara, the girls sleep. My husband and I listen to Christmas music and make plans for the rest of the holidays. We track back through the string of California cities, strung along the 10 freeway like glistening jewels. Home welcomes us with a warm familiarity.

Next stop, Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Early Thanksgiving

Five scuffed bags, four excited people, three days by the foggy shore - the weekend begins!


It's never too early for giving thanks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lost (the draft before the draft)

Below are three disjointed sections of what may someday be a story, or may simply stay disconnected. I wrote this just over a year ago, and I come back to it from time to time and feel that there is raw material here worth work.

My writing runs to narrative - I know this. The first reworking would be to add dialogue, more setting, and some clearer conflict to drive it forward. This lacks balance, maybe lacks poetry and grace. Still, though, I like these pieces, and I feel like posting them here.

As it's my blog, I can.


All this fuss about privacy lately. Every time she opens the paper there is another article about Google releasing Internet search records to the government or about your friendly cable-phone-internet provider being able to track your almost every move. There is always a frantic tone to these articles, a shrill warning to hurry and keep yourself safe before it is too late. But too late for what, she wonders.

People have never had privacy, not really. When, ever, in human history, has anyone been immune from the curiosity and concern of others? She fills out a form that asks for a reference, and she supplies the address of a friend. There it goes, she thinks, swirling out into the universe. My friend doesn’t even know that her information has just spiraled away from me and out of her control. But addresses are really not that secret. After all, the whole point of an address is for people to be able to find you.

The 1800s, a culture of social visits and calling cards and prestigious addresses on tree-lined New York or European streets is a society that she knows only from Edith Wharton novels, but still it comes to her vividly. See, those addresses were all about being found and being seen. People wanted to know where one another were.

She pushes even further back in history, and comes up with the image of a small village, rough cottages and thatch roofs among the green fields of an Anglo world.
Where is old Tom?
Why, in the stone cottage outside of town past the split elm.

Tom didn’t have privacy; the villagers knew where he lived and what he was like. True, he wasn’t getting mail offers for the latest credit card, tailored to his spending habits, but he wasn’t immune from unexpected annoyances. At any moment, the marauding Saxons could have burst into his farmyard to shout epitaphs and set fire to his roof.

So, privacy – that’s a useless illusion. And being able to be found by others, well, ultimately, isn’t that what all of us want?

These are the sorts of thoughts that are floating through her mind as she enters the grocery store. She is moving as if she is in a dream. In the front case, ice cream screams its sale prices at her. Wow, when did ice cream begin to cost $4.99 a gallon on sale, she wonders.
She knows she came in for a reason, and she tries to remember it as she drifts past the freezer cases, further up the aisle past the non-sale ice cream brands. She takes in the colors and textures of the display. Cold, she thinks idly, feeling a chill around her ankle that doesn’t fully penetrate her awareness. A man comes down the aisle toward her, purposefully, shifting his basket to the other arm to consult a list in his hand. She realizes that she is still holding her car keys out in her hand, strangely flexed as if she were just about to insert them into the door lock. She wonders if she looks odd. Perhaps she needs a cart. Or a basket?

She rounds the corner and a stock clerk eyes her quizzically. How are you, he asks. So, yes, she does look odd. She picks up her pace and tries to remember why she is here. How unreal it feels to see the people marching up and down the aisles with such intention.

She stares at the phone in her hand, small and silver with its screen and buttons. She turns it over and around, looking at it, feeling it. It is a marvel really. She feels as if she has never really seen it before. His voice cuts off, she hangs up, and she simply stands there, turning the phone over.

She can barely comprehend that out of electrons and radio waves and metal come messages that she receives and sends back. Does she really? Does she receive and send them back?

Five hundred years ago, this would have been an incredible musical instrument. Just the sounds it makes as dialed would have amazed and delighted whole courts of nobles. Perhaps by wielding this, I would have been a sage or a magician. Who knows what life would have been if it had been otherwise.

She sits at her computer, eating a bowl of cornflakes. The computer is turned on, but she doesn’t know why. She is unsure what she meant to do with it. Perhaps write something. Look for something? She eats mechanically, moving spoon from bowl to mouth as she sits.

Part of her is aware of her body, and also aware of the struggle deep within. She feels her soul rise within her and lie down on the floor next to her, kicking and thrusting at nothing. Perhaps it would help if she actually were to rise from the chair and join her soul there, lying down on the coarse carpet with it. She would lie still and simply wait, wait for whatever it is that will be coming next.

But even that seems like too much trouble. What would be the point?

Just Thoughts

In almost every moment, I catch myself - reaching, grasping, worrying, rushing or trying to win. Then, I have myself relax and wonder why. Also ... what will I win if I win?

This morning, I am deeply touched by words, and I am grateful, so grateful, that they exist. The wonder that there are many of us who love them, and that I can count myself among the many, both seem overwhelmingly beautiful to me.


I think perhaps I will give books of poetry as Christmas presents this year.

Hot Tea

My hand curls round the mug's warmth; the rising steam hides me behind a cloud of fragrance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meditation and Mind - Or "In My Head There's a Greyhound Station"

Preparing to write, I sit for a moment, letting my thoughts settle and deepen. The golden sun on my face is my companion from early morning throughout the afternoon. Its light creates a steady thread of hope and comfort for me, as I work here.

Lately, I've been brushing up against poetry and Zen meditation tips. Life has a way of handing me what I need, when I need it, so the discovery of some great blogs exploring meditation feels significant.

This morning, I lie awake in bed and wonder why I can find the time to let half an hour pass while my thoughts wander about here and there - I love that time where I am free within my own head - but I "cannot" find the time to sit for 10 minutes of meditation. Yoga teacher S would say that my mind is resisting that quiet, that inactivity. The mind doesn't like to be inactive; it likes to feel important and in charge. My poor mind - it probably needs a bit of a rest.

When I awake in the morning, while I am still in that dreamy, hazy twilight of the unconscious mind, I feel my conscious mind awaken. Every day, it stirs, stretches, and picks up the threads of the stories it tells itself all day long. They are only stories, even my mind knows this. Still it clings to them firmly and querulously, with the determination of a child on the verge of a major pout.

In the morning, my mind is a pony, turned out from the barn into the dewy pasture. It gallops and snorts, kicks up its heels and suddenly leaps sideways for no reason at all, simply alive in its own motion.

Our minds are not that different from our hearts. Our hearts work all the time to pump our blood for us, moving muscles that power our great machines. Our brains work all the time as well. At a physical level, they create our thoughts, emotions, beliefs. I am grateful to my mind for all the work it does, just as I am to my heart.

Because, truly, it goes all the time.

Except, perhaps, during the meditation that it actually needs, but just doesn't want to admit to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Determination and Irony

I will excel at writing small stones, she vowed as she, oh dear, clenched her fist in the air. She was such a slow learner.

(This is only funny if you're reading Fiona Robyn's blogs - or if you're me. But it made me smile at myself.)

In the Bathroom

At tub’s edge, two long-handled back brushes – all honey wood and bristles – lie one atop the other in passionate embrace.


An apothecary jar of handmade teal and lavender soaps. At least, she’d have a nice, warm bath.

Poem for Saturday - Praying by Mary Oliver

I lifted this one from Fiona Robyn's Planting Words blogs. So nice to find someone else who loves Mary Oliver's work!


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Friday, November 14, 2008

Warning - this is a rant. If you're looking for yoga or quality writing, please skip this and move to a previous post.

You know, sometimes I just question it all. All of it.

Why does it seem like so much work?

My life is fragmented like sunlight falling in colored slices through a stained glass window. My latest stress is that I joined this Bunco team and promised to host at my house tonight. Now, I don't mind having people over. That in itself is A LOT of work because all of the cleaning and tidying and upkeep of the house for the whole family falls on me. But at least I get to enjoy the clean home. Also I have to cook dinner for 12 - but that's pretty doable for me. Roast 2 chickens, heat up a ham, slice some veggies and breads and cheeses, cook potatoes and cranberry sauce. Okay - that's just step by step.

No, what's getting to me is that I got so busy over the last two weeks I just had no concentration on Bunco. I knew it was coming on the 14th. I was in the room last month with the whole team when the leader announced it would be on the 14th at my house. But, apparently, only a few of those women actually listened and remembered. So I screwed up by not "inviting" people a few weeks ago. And now only half the team can make it and I'm taking heat from them and I've failed as a host before we even begin.

And, honestly, I'm torn between really caring and not caring at all. Because for all the "Christian fellowship and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ" that this team is supposed to be about, I'm really not feeling much love from these ladies. I've played with them for four months now, and I'm good at making friends, but I'm still feeling I'm at arms-length. Which makes me ask, Is it Me? Is is Them?

Good God, is it just something about Christians of a certain type????

Underlying all of that is the combination of excitement and stress at taking on a whole new workload and work life. Underlying that is the need to juggle, juggle, juggle to fit that work life in around full time care for two children and all the "homemaking" I do as a matter of course (and also necessity).

Underlying all of that is a frustration that I've had no time for either yoga or writing. I'm so jealous of talented, working writers right now.

And underlying all of that, as always, is that nagging, niggling sense that my life is off balance, off the path and that I am deeply mourning for something I want and miss without being able to define what it is.

It feels better to write, even if I'm not keen on posting raw material. Looking at this, I think I could rework it into something better and stronger. But if I hold it to rework it, I'll never get back to it. It would join that long list of posts waiting to be written, great story moments, poetic lines and other text work to come. Better just to post and at least say something to the world. Why??? I don't know. What does it matter if that chance reader in Singapore or Colorado or New York learns about my life?

Ah, the self. Such a busy place.


the silver spill of moonlight hushes through the air

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My daughters are still very young, but they do not use a nightlight to help them sleep. We have arrived at a point where they have abandoned it, preferring to snuggle gently into the inky blackness of the night. When I awaken to check them, I pick my way carefully to their bedsides, wary of any discarded toys lurking underfoot. The total absence of light means that I reassure myself of their safety by gently touching them rather than through vision.

There aren’t many moments for us modern humans when we are immersed so thoroughly in darkness. Once I pause to allow my senses to work, I often realize that absolute darkness is not really at all. Usually, there is some light mingled into the murk, and given time, my eyes adjust and send distinct pictures to my brain after all.

Just now I looked out the window into my night-darkened yard upon a beautiful arrangement of lawn chairs and bushes made visible by the stars. Painted by the night, the familiar landscape becomes a strange and fantastic scene. At some intuitive level, we know that there is a gift in darkness, a gift in this revisioning of the ordinary into the unfamiliar. We seek this gift from the darkness almost as much as we resist it.

Lately, I have refamiliarized myself with the rhythms of the unlit hours. My normally solid sleep schedule has shattered, perhaps through contact with a new friend, perhaps because I am going through a period of change and growth. I carry a sense inside myself that I am transforming. I awaken two or three times during the night. Between 2 and 3 am, I usually begin to hear the beginning of a piece of writing persistently tugging at the corners of my mind. I know that to try to sleep past that is to delay myself in a miserable limbo of wakefulness. So I arise, and write my way through the darkest hours of the night.

I miss my sleep. But I also appreciate the gift of the quiet, wonderful solitude when the night draws around me and my work. We run from darkness on so many levels. We can provide light at a moment’s touch, and we do without thought. But darkness offers us some things that we can find no other place. It offers us silence, contemplation. It offers us a deeper awareness, below the level of visual input. When I walk quietly through the blackened rooms of my sleeping house, I am freed from being the person I am throughout the day. I sense myself to be spiritual, a ghost gliding from place to place. My other sensations heighten, and I feel the comfort of the soft carpet cushioning my bare feet, of the comfortable air sliding across my skin. I hear the quiet nighttime sounds as a soothing song.

All of us have had our moments where we must journey alone, face to face with our innermost selves, and we must do it in the dark, only carefully picking our way along, and unsure of finding a path in, or finding a path back to the light. This darkness is the one that we flee from most of all. When we click that light switch, or cling to sleep, this is the deeper darkness that we want to chase away. But just as the night offers our eyes a respite from the sun’s brightness, and a different way of seeing, so too does our inner darkness allow us an opportunity to know ourselves from a different perspective. There is a gift in being able to accept the darkness within and to balance it against the light.

Margaret Atwood, that brilliant yet difficult author, commented on darkness in her 2002 book of essays about writing, Negotiating With the Dead: “Possibly…writing has to do with darkness, and a desire, or perhaps a compulsion to enter it, and, with luck, to illuminate it, and to bring something back out to the light. All writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down…by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the dead.”

Once I took a tour of an old lead mine that plunged deeply, deeply into the earth. At the bottommost point, the wide tunnels opened into a spacious cave which contained an absolutely black, cold lake. There was not even the faintest hint of natural light. Only the lanterns and flashlights of those who explored there. And still people journeyed from miles to dive below the surface of that black lake and to cast some light on its secrets.

That was one of the most psychologically and physically frightening things I’ve ever considered, the terror of that lightless, freezing water waiting below the weight of all the rock pressing above our heads in the stale, motionless air. Just to look at its inky surface crushed my lungs and compressed me. It was a tangible embodiment of symbolically facing the inner unknown, the plumbless depths of the human soul. We hold our breath when we think of the dark, and reach for that light switch.

But still, I am here now. The dark creates these words. The dark creates a space and strength inside.

There are visions worth seeing even without light.


How Beautiful is This?

The following excerpt comes from the blog Via Negitiva - found in my blog list at the side.

"The author is Naomi Shihab Nye, and the line comes from her poem “Jerusalem,” in Red Suitcase.

Jerusalem” is too long to quote in its entirety, but it ends:

There’s a place in my brain
Where hate won’t grow.
I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.

It’s late but everything comes next."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Spent All Day at a Grantwriting Workshop

The people seated around the mahogany table nod sagely and make small concerned sounds to the woman in the lilac pantsuit.

At the Beach Yesterday

The sunset windows reflect the pink fire of leaping flames.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Short Fiction and the Joy of Writing

Good morning! Between grants and a family on vacation, rattling around in the house and waiting for me to join them, I continue to have very little time to devote here. I am quite proud to report that over the last week I finished three, yes THREE, CDBG grants, and all well ahead of deadline too. The lack of sleep was totally worth it!

In addition to the lovely discovery of A Small Stone blog this weekend, it led me to Your Messages. This blog gives a prompt, and writers create and post very short, either 30 or 300 word, continuations. Here we have Nanowrimo in November; in Britian, they have Your Messages each day for the month. Not only are they good practice and amusing, but the site will link you into many working writers throughout the UK. Check out Fiona Robyn’s blogs for an excellent example of building a writing platform plus just gorgeous poetic work.

I’ve never given you fiction here, so below you’ll find a piece I wrote in August 2007. It clocks in at exactly 200 words. Looking at it now, I would revise it to include dialogue. See what you think.

The Purple Shade of Loss

Driving westbound on the 10 Freeway, she notices the flowering bushes planted along the sides, and perceives the purple shade of loss. He is gone now, and she feels strangely empty even though it was her choice. The color of the waving blossoms is the same as the bruises which he left around her arms, where he had gripped on to her in desperation and emphasis. First purple, then green, then yellow, they had faded over the week. But the words he had yelled and the angry tone of his voice hadn’t.

Now she was driving, away from him, and towards a new city, and a new life with a reliable friend. The vibrant purple seemed to mock her, stung her eyes with tears. But there was something else as well. The delicate blossoms, their vivacious hue, spoke of beauty, endurance. Hope.

As she made the 10-215 transition, her car lifted high into the sky on the massive overpass. Caught up in the sensation, she felt that she had been lifted up above the world. She felt like her car, and she, could escape gravity, break through the railings, and soar.

She felt like a bird -- hopeful, and free.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Small Stone

I've just found the most beautiful blog! Pure words. Please go look at it and see if you like it as much as I do.

A Small Stone

(I know - why am I awake searching blogs at 1:30 am? Well, it's better than writing grants that are due VERY SOON at 1:30 am.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cause in My Head, There's a Greyhound Station...

Verse for Sunday - Psalm 143:10

"Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
on a level path."

Song Lyrics for Saturday - Soul Meets Body

Soul Meets Body - Death Cab For Cutie

I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what its like to be new

Cause in my head there's a greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
where they're far more suited than here

I cannot guess what we'll discover
Between the dirt with our palms cut like shovels
But I know our filthy hand can wash one another's
And not one speck will remain

I do believe it's true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too

So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you're the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body

I do believe it's true
That there are holes left in both of our shoes
If the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too

So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause you're the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

Thursday, November 6, 2008

So Busy!

I have to apologize for not giving you more material here. I got swamped under a deluge of grantwork, all on tight deadlines and I have to spend my computer time actually getting things done instead of just rambling to my cyber-friends.

I promise I'll get back to reading all of your wonderful blogs as soon as I can - I miss you!!! And I'm hoping things are well with you and your families.

Yesterday I heard "How Soon is Now?" on the radio. I love that song! Remember the Smiths?? If I can, I'll post the video soon so we can all reminisce.

In light of all the wonderful political process and outcomes this week (Historic! Groundbreaking! Astonishing! Inspiring!), maybe NOW is Now!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Your Own Voice

It's Election Day !!!!

Consider what a blessing it is that you have the opportunity to vote. Freedom of the kind that we take as a matter of course should never be taken for granted.

Whatever your political views, I celebrate this occasion of having your opinion matter.

To Liberty and Hope, with prayers for those around the world who are not currently enjoying the same good fortune.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tied to the Wheel

This is the
far from last time
I'll spiral
through this circle
of emotions... of actions
written to repeat

Panic Attack

In yoga teacher training this weekend, one activity explored Pranayama energy to powerful effect.

First we did 20 Sun Salutations - Kundalini style, very fast. Then we went flat on our back in Savasana and held our breath until the edge of panic. Getting high off motion, then plunging into the rapid heartbeat and compressed restraint of anxiety was very psychologically powerful. Because it felt like an adrenaline reaction, it was like experiencing pure anxiety without the thoughts or emotions that trigger it. It was emotion of the body, then the mind, then the heart.

The ability to play with panic reaction, to trigger it and observe it, fascinated me. I can't help but think that this could be a powerful, holistic type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for those troubled with anxiety. Or, you know, everyone who has to deal with life and its stressors.