Thursday, June 30, 2022

The challenge of volunteering

Nature has a way of tossing 
Beauty into unexpected places: 
My neighbor used to call these surprising gifts 
Volunteers. And — ideally — 
Isn’t that what volunteering’s like? 
So often an attempt to bring some light 
And/or beauty to dark places? 
How sad it is, when the light we bring 
Never seems to be enough, 
 Or gets extinguished, 
Or when others only add to the darkness…

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Lefty unattended

Though overgrown with weeds, 
Our lavender garden’s lush 
With the purple scent of promise:
 As with people, institutions, and opinions 
That we cherish, we look past, forget, ignore 
The imperfections, only seeing 
What we expect or have grown accustomed to, 
Forgetting all things grow and change — 
Both bad and good —
 And may get wild or unruly left unattended…

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Let spirits rise

The winds of change are blowing through, 
And all the opinions, guidelines, and the rules 
We thought we had nailed down 
May be whisked away, leaving us bereft 
Of all but spirit: that which fuels 
Rebirth, rebuilding, and renewal, 
Always turning winter into spring. 
Trust, don’t cling, and watch the spirit dance 
As it’s lifted to new heights.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The joy of reconnecting

And the return of simple pleasures, 
Like splashing in the water, with friends. 
Even masked, and six careful feet apart, 
We welcome opportunities to reconnect, 
Both with nature and each other.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

On the journey home

In the still morning,
 A lone sailboat returns home to the harbor, 
Back from adventures unknown, 
Watched over by the mountain as it passes. 
We, too, are on a journey home, 
Watched over as we pass 
Through waters sometimes still 
And sometimes rough; 
 The Watcher sometimes clear; 
Sometimes fogged in or clouded 
But always present as a marker 
To help us stay the course.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Seeking equanimity

This was the state of my dreams last night 
As my mind struggles to cope 
With the swirling surge of responses: 
The fury, the helplessness and frustration, 
The sadness, the grief, and the driving desire 
To help all those affected. 
I’m grateful to be living in a protected state, 
And appalled to discover the depths of my rage 
With all those who celebrate this victory. 
How, after such troubled dreams, 
Am I to find the trust and calm I seek; 
The equanimity, tolerance, and compassion I crave?

Friday, June 24, 2022

Thoughts on generosity

I was never one of those wonderful moms — 
You know: the ones in the ruffled aprons 
Who are always cooking roasts 
 And baking cookies and apple pies — 
But on special occasions I will make 
This amaretto brownie chip pie, 
Most of which I prefer to give away.
 It’s not exactly a selfless act; 
 It’s more to protect my figure — 
Or what’s left of it! 
And isn’t that the truth 
 Of many apparently selfless acts? 
We tend to only give away 
That which we no longer want or need. 
But each of us draws those lines — 
The boundaries between self-sacrifice, 
Self-protection, self-serving, 
And pure selfishness— in different places. 
 Where are yours? And what —
 If we were to become more generous; 
More compassionate — might need to change?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

How human are we?

The Eagle watches for prey 
From his perch above the sea, 
His powers of observation focused 
On what he might catch and eat, 
While we, as humans, 
 Watch for so much more — 
Unless, of course, we don’t. 
 How human are we, if, like the Eagle, 
We only watch in hopes of turning 
Each situation to our own advantage?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Simple pleasures

The simple pleasures offered to passers by 
 By a yard full of bright red poppies 
Are not to be underestimated. 
Whether the colors remind you of Christmas
 Or the flowers bring memories of Dorothy 
In The Wizard of Oz, 
Or the profusion simply makes you smile, 
They are a gift, and as I pass, 
I bow my head in gratitude for the cheery sight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Not always in our control

I want to begin by saying 
I did not set out to paint trees. 
But paintings are a bit like children: 
They have minds of their own, 
And sometimes their intentions 
 Don’t match ours, forcing us 
To open our hearts to the wider possibilities
 In search of a response that will result 
In a fruitful combination; a pairing 
That will take us someplace altogether new, 
And yet, somehow, familiar...

Monday, June 20, 2022

Afternoon of a fawn

Something about the innocence of a fawn 
Is irresistible:
 The patience with which they watch 
For their mother’s return makes us ache 
For that time in our own lives, 
Before the pain and betrayals 
 Made us lose our trust in goodness. 
It’s a bit like watching a wedding: 
So much love and hope on display, 
Yet our tears fall at the thought 
Of both the joy and the struggles 
That lie ahead…

Sunday, June 19, 2022

On Father’s Day

These two photos were taken minutes apart, 
At and after sunset, 
And it struck me, how much the colors changed 
Under the influence of the sun; 
How the gray barn turned to red 
And the lavender in my garden 
Became just a grayish bush — 
Much as children become more or less themselves Depending on the influence 
 And control of their parents. 
This Father’s Day, I choose to honor, 
Not my father, but my husband, 
Who not just permitted but invited our girls 
To let their own special colors shine forth.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

When words become weapons

We all know that old adage: 
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, 
But names will never hurt me,” 
Yet research shows that’s not actually true. 
When we dehumanize those we call other— 
Describing them with derogatory names 
That convey contempt and disgust — 
We pave the way to our own inhumanity. 
It’s time to watch our language, 
Lest in doing so we give ourselves 
Permission to destroy human life.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Evening sky

Sitting with the Eagle, we watch the horizon 
As the clouds begin their nightly transition 
From white to gold, to orange, to pink, to black 
Against a sky that proudly displays 
Every possible shade of blue 
From green to teal, to aqua, to cobalt, 
And finally to a purple fit for a queen. 
Drawn by the colors, she lifts her wings 
To glide upon the wind, 
 Adding her sharp dark counterpoint 
To our chromatic symphony.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

When the path is clear

So grateful for the days when the path 
Is wide and clear; dry and speckled with light. 
I’m learning to be grateful as well 
For the days when it seems 
I’m bushwhacking through the woods 
Or backtracking, lost, and circling round 
To the same wrong results repeatedly — 
If only because they teach me by comparison 
 To more fully appreciate 
 What good fortune I do find. 
I wish I were more like Edison, and could say 
 I have not failed, but simply found 
10 thousand ways that do not work.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

On gray days

On gray days, when a wall — 
Grief, anger, or betrayal — might seem 
To indicate the end of the world, 
The challenge is to keep on moving toward it. 
Get close enough to see it’s just another edge; 
Another opportunity to surmount 
The obstacles placed in our path 
That guide us forth to new, unexpected futures.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

In gratitude for gardens

Today I give thanks for all the gardens 
And the gardeners of this world: 
For those who grow and sell 
Such beautiful plants; 
 For those who plan and dream 
The colors into life; 
 For those who dig and weed and dirty hands; 
And for the designs, the shapes and colors 
That inspire artists everywhere 
And warm the hearts of all those who pass by.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Traits needed for success

We awoke this morning to the sight 
 Of a dozen or so tiny sailboats 
(At least, tiny from this distance) 
Making their way north 
In the annual Race to Alaska. 
Having interviewed the first women 
 To have won a few years back, 
I now better understand 
 The massive preparations they go through; 
The inventiveness, the courage, 
And collaboration that it takes to be successful; 
And the nature of the challenges 
 These sailors may well face upon their journey, 
And watching them, we wish them Godspeed — 
Just as I would new parents, 
Whose journey lasts much longer 
 But requires those same traits along the way

Sunday, June 12, 2022

It takes all kinds…

One might conclude that this photograph 
 Was taken somewhere in Europe, 
But in fact I shot it through my windshield 
On my way to the hardware store.
 I confess, like many of us, I am wary 
Of folks who build monumental edifices 
Instead of more charitable expenditures, 
But at the same time, there’s no denying 
The pleasure such creations bring — 
A gentle reminder that there are many ways 
To contribute to the uplifting of a community.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Old + New = Joy

Like life, this painting 
Is full of happy accidents: 
The graphic elements from earlier attempts 
 That show through; 
The other-worldliness of all those little planets 
(The result of not-enough paint on a sponge), 
The starry sky effect — 
Because the new paint didn’t quite adhere 
To the old — 
Like this painting, each of us 
Is a work in progress; a blend 
Of new discoveries over old experiences— 
Some hidden; some revealed — 
And, every once in a while, 
The combination results in moments of pure joy.

Friday, June 10, 2022

When things get foggy

I do believe these cows have the right idea: 
When the weather — 
 Whether emotional or atmospheric — 
Starts to get a little foggy and unpleasant, 
It might be wise to take a break; 
To find a safe and quiet space 
To simply cogitate and breathe, 
Re-gathering your energies 
(Marshaling or mustering) 
For the challenges yet to come.

Thursday, June 9, 2022


For some reason, when I look at these clouds, 
I see a dog, riding a dinosaur across the sky. 
But that’s just me, and what I’m seeing now: 
You might see something different, 
And so might I, two hours later — 
Or, influenced by me, you might then find 
The dog and dino dominate your vision. 
Perception — especially 
 When what we perceive’s not easily defined — 
Is always colored by experience and influence: 
It’s best not to confuse opinions with facts…

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Tangled, messy, joyous

It’s rock rose season in our little town: 
 they grow wild here, 
 and their scrubby-looking bushes 
 spread happily along the edges 
 of our beaches, pathways, streets, and farmlands. 
Over the winter it just looks like tangled brush, 
Like blackberries; messy and encroaching; 
Something one might wish to remove. 
And then suddenly, in June, 
 The small pink flowers are everywhere, 
Singing their song of the summer to come — 
Like so much of life: tangled, messy, 
And then sweet moments of joy…

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

An open and shut case…

Staring at this photograph, 
I’m struck by the irony: 
The larger doors are open, 
But the smaller door is locked… 
My first response is that old saying, 
About locking the barn door 
 After the horses have been stolen. 
But it also speaks to me 
Of the sometimes foolish ways 
 We protect our hearts, 
 Ignoring larger vulnerabilities, 
And, at the same time, 
Of the ways we can obsess over small details 
 While ignoring the bigger picture. 
What is it that you see?

Monday, June 6, 2022

The mystical enchantment of the Now

Even the best of cameras 
Can find it hard to focus 
On both near and far away. 
We, too, can find it challenging, 
Thoughts drifting between where we are, 
Our intended destination, and the future 
(Though it’s often obscured by clouds.) 
But when we dwell too much on what lies ahead, 
We run the risk of missing 
The beauty of the moment right before us; 
The mystical enchantment of the Now.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The generosity of the sun

Who can doubt the generosity of the sun, 
Which not only warms us, 
But gifts us each day with a wild display of color, 
Inviting whatever has been buried in us 
To become seeds, to burst into the light, 
To bloom, and to bear fruit…

Saturday, June 4, 2022

What are we called to do?

Though I’m in my studio almost every day, 
It’s actually rare for me to paint something I love; 
Rarer, still, to paint something realistic. 
So this one, based on the fig tree 
Outside the window where I meditate, 
Came as quite a delightful surprise! 
But then the question arises: 
Was this just serendipity, 
 Or is it something I could — or should — pursue?
 … and the root question 
Each of us faces every day: 
 What am I called to do?

Friday, June 3, 2022

The beauty in complexity

Those of us who crave simple solutions, 
Simple explanations and easy answers; 
Who long to reduce the world 
 To black and white, 
Might need to return to their gardens 
To rediscover the beauty in complexity…

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Peaceable kingdom

The bucks around here 
Tend to be pretty competitive, 
So when this fawn began sneaking up 
To a resting male, I watched anxiously, 
Hoping she wouldn’t get kicked 
(I’d seen that happen before). 
But after a brief nuzzle, she danced away, 
Unharmed, made a bouncing circuit of our yard, 
Then returned to her mother to nurse, 
And I breathed a sigh of relief: 
In a world beset by violence, 
I’m learning to treasure 
 These rare instances of peace…

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Pleasures of symmetry

My artist mom, an advocate of asymmetry, 
Always objected when I strived 
For even-handedness. 
 If I placed the candlesticks on either side 
Of the fireplace or table, she’d complain, 
And stand them both together, 
On one side or the other, 
 Perhaps adding a small bowl 
 On the opposite side for balance. 
However much I understand that now,
 I still delight in symmetry, 
And, finding ways to express that love, 
I grin, and imagine her objecting…