Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter sun

Sometimes it's not the dark that looms most menacing,
but the unrelenting grayness of depression,
yet still the winter sun, so low and small in the December sky,
spreads her warm glow, tempting forth the seeds of spring.

Friday, February 27, 2015


When was the last time you felt complete,
so complete, nothing dared approach you?
... Nothing that could not do anything,
anything but adore you. 
Adore you.

-- Hafiz

Thursday, February 26, 2015


We ache to make new marks upon the world:
dark tokens to carve our place in the infinite sky.
Yet still, behind the roof, the door, the window,
hearts beat, and burn, and break, and --inevitably -- die.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

True colors

There is a line we drift behind in search of solitude
(the time we spend there varies, each to each)
but at some point we double back, seeking to engage;
to learn lessons that elude us when alone.
But after all this back and forth,
it's harder to distinguish yours from mine:
am I seeing your true colors
or reflections of my own?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The fog of grief

Take care, my friend; row slowly 
through the murky fog of grief,
for memories lurk ahead like deadhead logs
to knock you off that carefully steadied keel.
Know your life preservers, and keep them close:
just in case you capsize 
during the occasional flood of tears...

Monday, February 23, 2015

And let us all be grateful, each for each

Which has the greater majesty, you ask --
the mountain, or the bridge;
the works of nature or of man?
And in return, I ask of you --
why must there be a competition?
Is it not enough that each doth frame the other?
Your gifts are yours, and mine are mine,
and let us all be grateful, each for each.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Colours of a Life

We can't predict the colours of a life,
or how they will distribute over time,
but we can learn to trust that some balance will be struck,
that the darkness will be tempered by the light --
if not in quantity then potency:
just as the crescent moon glows bright 
in a dark November sky,
or the colors streaming from the sun
intensify as day steals into night.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The cat who loved me

Though I've had a lot of cats over the course of my lifetime, I was never really all that fond of cats -- until I met Alex.

Alex was really a dog in a cat suit -- embarrassingly affectionate and deeply loyal, he was the personification -- or felinification? -- of unconditional love.  He would drop everything and run to me if I called his name, stretching his paws up my legs and begging to be picked up, then wrapping those paws around my neck and licking my cheek or chin.

Whenever I sat down for any length of time, Alex would curl on my lap, butting his head into the crook of my elbow or nuzzling the hollow beneath my chin and relentlessly kneading with his sharp claws, demanding all the while that I keep stroking his ridiculously soft fur.

So when, last May, it was discovered that he had a salivary tumor, we were devastated.  Sometimes they can grow really fast, we were told; his breathing passages might be cut off in a matter of weeks.  So we canceled trips we had planned and began living each day as if it might be his last. 

His cheek began to swell, and the hard knot beside his chin grew larger and harder, stretching across his throat, and still his life and mood seemed unchanged: he still went for walks with us and the dog every night, spent hours out in the dune grass stalking and catching the birds and rodents who dared to venture onto our property, and curled happily into my arms whenever I sat down, loudly purring his appreciation for our time together.

They told us he would probably be gone by Christmas, but when 2015 arrived he was still going strong.  He became a bit of a picky eater, but was otherwise still very much himself until two days ago, when suddenly everything just... stopped.  He curled up on the heated floor in our back room and didn't move -- didn't eat, or drink, or hunt for his cat box -- and so we knew the time had come.  We let him sleep with us that night, knowing he was too weak to be the disruptive presence that had gotten him kicked out of bed in the first place, and in the morning we took him in for his last vet visit.

It wasn't our first pet euthanasia -- by now we knew the drill.  But it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye.  I know the grief will pass with time, and know there will be other cats to love. But still, today, right here, right now, the ache of love, for what was lost, still overshadows the gratitude I feel for all the joy he brought into our lives.  Farewell, my dear, dear friend -- and thanks so much for all the love you shared.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mind the gap

"Watch your step!" -- usually a cautionary tale.
"Mind the gap!" -- another word of warning --
and yet there's so much truth in this: 
know where you stand, and notice the gap between
the first step -- or breath -- and the next.
Who knows? It may hold the key
to everything.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Taught by time, my heart has learned 
to glow for another's good
and melt at another's woe.
-- Homer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Inner Child

Though faded now with age, 
she still lives in me, the lonely only child 
who sat at the edge of the gravel drive,
sifting the pebbles through her hands 
and watching the world go by.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In gratitude

In gratitude, O Light Divine,
for the grace with which you illuminate
and fill the space within.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Which is right? Everything!

Photography both distracts me
and keeps me centered.
Putting away last night's dishes,
I see this plume of light
rising above the houses
across the lagoon
and rush to grab my camera.
Settling into my meditation chair,
I see the container ship,
still gleaming beneath the pink-striped sky,
and reach again for my camera.
sliding down into my heart space,
I find this poem waiting there,
and interrupt my hard-won peace
to massage it.
And which of these is right, I ask?
Which of these is right?
some voice replies:
Which of these is right?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Existential questions

What slumbering behemoth looms offshore,
its engines rumbling, ready to surge forth at just a word?
And how can we befriend or tame what feels so like a threat?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

May life and love embrace you today
with all the colors of joy...

Friday, February 13, 2015

With time we learn

With time we learn all things in life are true:
While some things break, others are being joined;
while some are cruel, others are being kind
and so the world spins round and round again  --
From dark to light; from chaos into calm --
The waves curl toward the beach, then slide away;
The sandhill crane flies south, and then returns.
And in between the blue skies and the gray
the Painter weaves her ever-changing tapestry of color on the sky.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In the heat of an argument

In the heat of an argument, it can be difficult to assess 
what's real and what is not; how much of what we see 
is just reflection or projection from some other space or time,
and if we were to step (in all our confidence and pride)
onto what we thought was solid ground, 
how quickly we might sink into the sea of doubt, of wrong, 
of never-was -- and never-meant-to-say.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beyond the walls

When each of us learns we've a hole inside --
some emptiness, some longing --
we stuff it behind a wall of shame,
assuming it means we are broken,
not realizing (as the poet says)
that when those walls burn down
we will see the moon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The ache of aliveness

When the sweet ache of being alive,
lodged between who you are
and who you will be,
is awakened,
befriend this moment.
It will guide you.
Its sweetness is what holds you.
Its ache is what moves you on.

-- Mark Nepo

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mountain view

For just a moment, winter lifted
 the curtain of the clouds
and let the mountains breathe
their sharp white words of wisdom
into the light...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A thin dark line

It takes so little --
a thin dark line or two --
to crystallize the canvas of a life:
some unexpected streak of death, or loss 
can make a path, though different, suddenly more clear;
can bring new focus, new reflections, 
purpose, definition, and conviction
to the textures and the layers 
of the work that went before.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The fragrance of peace

The morning fog,
the water gently lapping at the pilings,
a rustling in the leaves, then silence,
and into the stillness curls the sweet high call of the loon:
the air before me shimmers 
with the fragrance of peace.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Don't watch

Time ages me, and moss grows on my bones,
yet still I keep that curtain up
to mask, or to exclude, or to protect --
to keep myself from seeing out,
to keep illusions safe,
or simply to maintain 
those last sweet shreds of privacy:
don't watch me as I fade away to dust...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Icarus: the arc of faith

They handed me these wings they'd built,
and, buoyed with all the confidence of faith,
I soon began to soar, intoxicated by
the grace of flight, the scented air,
the unfathomable lightness
of being borne upon the wind...

But I mistook the sun for you --
its height, the light, the glitter of its robes
the daily rising, its singleness and power  --
and soaring ever closer, felt the wax
that held it all together melt away,
and realized I couldn't stand the heat.

Those self-constructed feathers
weren't enough to keep me lifted close
to what I'd always thought -- and been told -- was you,
and so I fell, thinking I'd fall too far
to ever find the Oneness that I'd dreamed,
and fallen find
I've landed in your arms.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The artist's delight

The artist's delight:
to detect and then convey
the shimmer of spirit 
dancing in the ordinary

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We are a team

We are a team, you and I,
and somehow we'll get through. 
I'll man the oars and keep a sharp eye left;
you watch the right,
and we'll keep pressing, forward into light...

Monday, February 2, 2015

How do you live?

How do you live your days?
Do you ever stop to rest,
or take the time to deepen
and explore the cave of being?
Or are you always striving upward,
toes and fingers cramped
with the sheer effort of holding on...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dreaming of warmer times

Our furnace broke down Thursday, and the part we need won't arrive til Monday afternoon. 

Though we have no hot water, we have a space heater, an oven door we can open, and a propane fireplace, and the temperature beneath the gray sky outside is only 45, so there's a lot to be grateful for. 

But it helps, somehow, to dream of warmer times and places, where there's color, heat, and sun...