May 5 2016

opening, again

Comfort zones. They get tighter as we get older, much like that favorite pair of jeans. We get set in our ways, and we like that, mostly, we find comfort in routine and pattern and the familiar.

But life is too complicated to allow us to stay in any one place for very long. Just when we settle in and start feeling all warm and fuzzy, something happens, something changes, and we have to learn how to move through life all over again. And I’m okay with that. It keeps things interesting at the very least.

We go through phases. And they’re called phases because they are slices of time that have a beginning and an end.

The leaves on the oakleaf hydrangea just outside my studio window are just about to open. Dozens of buds waiting for just the right moment. Each one unique, if you look closely, yet all part of the same mother plant. Yes, that’s a metaphor. A nice reminder to myself this morning, a sunny moment in a week that’s been filled with clouds both literal and figurative.

I am learning new things. It is making my brain hurt, which happens as you get older. My body is holding me hostage with hormones, and I keep reminding myself that I am becoming. Moving on. Getting ready to open to a new season of life.

Pfft. That makes it sound pretty, and quite honestly, it’s not. But it’s going to happen just the same, and I’m going to embrace all of it, even the rage. (Yes, there is rage.)

Maybe you lose something as the years go by, bits of innocence and wonder, but you don’t forget they exist.

I think.

Maybe I’ll find my way back, or perhaps I’ll end up in a different place altogether. Yes. I’m pretty sure that’s the answer.

But I’m still asking questions. And I’m still going to open, even when it is painful.

Because there is sun to feel on my face, and a garden to plant, again, and all these people to love with the heart of a crone.

Reasons enough to spread my arms wide.

Reasons enough.

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May 3 2016

same landscape,
different day

and you cling to the thread of recognition
stitched up your arm proclaiming you
mended

when torn is what you are

not broken

torn and sewn
back together
with the needle
of forgiveness

and these aren’t neat, tiny stitches
these are meant to leave a scar

a mark you’ll wear as badge
as you walk into battle

fragile and crumbling
paper thin

unyielding

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Mar 10 2016

and the birds return
with the sky

Folding grey in upon itself and shouting color back into the world.

I am listening for grace and finding bits and shards scattered in puddles of mud and the still deep pockets of winter’s coat.

Moving through hard things and surviving them.

Watching lines of geese form arrows of forgiveness. Connecting the dots, but lightly, in pencil, in case I want to start over. Drawing my way through a book named 2016.

Yesterday pretended to be summer and I spent the day with dirty hands and a warm, warm sun, as the mockingbird reinvented his own story. He tells me everything and I laugh in all the right places, knowing we need each other—performer and audience, though I’m never quite sure which is which.

I feel myself growing. Older and lighter, wiser and taller. Heavy-hearted and ever-surprised.

I think about compassion. I think about flowers. I think about endings and beginnings, comings and goings, cycles and seasons.

I think about flight and freedom. I think about the day when both become impossible.

Geese fill the air with a frenzied, raucous melody. Fighting for space and survival. Smoothing ruffled feathers and thinking about dinner, or gravity, or both.

The horizon is always an illusion, marking time on a map filled with moments.

I find my way with blind fingers and broken pencils.

I find a feather in the corner of redemption, and think how floating and falling are simply different speeds to the same destination.

I find benediction.

Here.

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Mar 1 2016

power outage

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watching shadows dance

in a cinnamon shaped room

recording silence

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Jan 7 2016

we do that dance

light on dark, old on new, shiny on dull. we’re married to the magic of remembrance, made bold by possibility, held aloft on a nail in the wall of existence.

a new calendar cracks open, full of empty days, blank spaces, blocks of time.

i want to leave it, the entire book, unmarred.

i know i won’t. i know there will be appointments to schedule, birthdays to remember, plans to be reminded of, just as i know i’ll forget to look sometimes, when i get caught up in the vortex of living.

it’s winter again, it’s new years again, it’s thursday again. we march like soldiers through a forest of seasons and wish to be the one in command.

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i bought a new small frying pan in december, to replace the old one i’d burned peppers in one too many times. but i don’t use it much. the old cast iron one discarded by my 89-year-old friend as she moved from home to apartment sits on my stove now, always at the ready. it turns my eggs just a little dark, but i love flavor of the stories it adds to my food.

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i don’t have a word or a resolution or even an intention pointing my way on 2016’s compass. i have this pan made of borrowed promises, i have these same four walls to hold me in, i have this sky that is forever creeping in my window.

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i have everything i need.

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Dec 31 2015

presents

The bows get harder to tie each year, wrapping life up into neat little packages is a gift of the young. But no matter, the new year comes just the same, wrapped or not, prettied up or painted over, parceled out or held close in hidden pockets.

We like our second chances, though. New year, new month, new week, new day. The chance to begin again, be better, live more, love more, give more.

We bring our scars and broken bits to the party, and after a while, no one notices. Because what matters is that we are there, standing testament to each other’s existence. My paint is peeling and your paper is torn. My corners are crooked and your ribbon is creased. Packaging, no matter how perfect or pretty, ruined or wrinkled, is not what we offer.

The gift is always inside.

And the bits that poke through, refusing to fit neatly into boxes or hide beneath brightly colored paper, those are always the very best parts.

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Here’s to another year of gifts and smiles, tears and scars, sunshine and puddles.

Here’s to you and to me and to us.

All of us.

Here’s to being here.

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xoxo

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Dec 1 2015

december light

and trying to keep it that way

in the midst of memory

and detritus

reaching

always reaching

for illumination

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Jul 28 2015

passing myself
on the way to savannah

and all the other places
i’ve never been

never seen
never learned
to love the light of

that’s bad grammar
i know
but i’m talking about life
and loss and nevers

and there are no rules
no platitudes
no built-in panaceas
to make my knees
stop creaking
or my hands
look any less
gnarled

don’t get me wrong

i wear my wrinkles
like jewelry
cherished accessories
of sentimental
value

and i smile
when i drive and they remind me
i’ve forgotten to apply
lotion

again

dry skin cracking

me up

and five times a day
i get surprised
by my own reflection

remembering i’ve aged
only when i see proof
or try to get out of bed

time
hides in patterns
paisley pretty and
just as intricate
as the web
i’ve spun
into my
crinkle crackle
carapace

but my shadow
retains the shape
of youth

or at least
remains smooth
and unmarked

by the scars
of regret

and i sip
slowly
from the cup
of forgiveness

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Jul 2 2015

clouds

clouds, storm, poetry, calm before the storm

backlit by storm
and the magic of timing

there is never a moment of silence
something somewhere
is always rumbling

and i learn to take peace
in the pauses

there is never a pillow
of sweet dreams
everafter

but rather

this reality
of storm and sunshine

creeping in
on stealthy paws

and we sit
together

stare each other
down

from the comfortable
distance

between us

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Jun 11 2015

the scent of dawn

and freshly fallen rain

passing through on its way
to far-off places

leaving sparkling bits of fractured light
and splashed up drops
of holy water

to reflect a laundered sky
gone back to blue

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