Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The mirror impulse

For many years the empath in us 
May manifest like this: as a reflective surface,
 Only mirroring back 
What we think others wish to see. 
With time, we learn to open up, 
To speak our truth and ask for what we need, 
But that impulse is still there; 
To hunker down, take shelter behind the mirror, 
And hide what we truly think and feel.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Change, triumphant

Looking down from above 
At the rivers, like cracks, 
That have carved and are carving 
The mountains around them,
 I’m reminded again 
How much power there is 
In allowing the flow; 
That change will always win out 
Over staying the same.

Monday, September 25, 2023

What we learn

The heights we long to scale 
 Can prove challenging: 
There’s many a slip along the way, 
And the slide back down has a chance of being 
Terrifying or exhilarating. 
But once we’re back on solid ground, 
What will we remember about the journey?
 The joy? The pain? 
 Or the friends we made along the way?

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Happy Sunday!

May your Sunday contain moments 
Of beauty, purity, and grace…

Saturday, September 23, 2023

The soul, exposed

Nature, like life, is a sculptor of sorts, 
Chipping away at the accretions of time 
To expose the essence within. 
And as I stare at this amazing work, 
I seem to see a face emerging — 
A mouth, an ear, the beginnings of a nose… 
Could this be the soul of the rock?

Friday, September 22, 2023

A colorful path

There are those in life who seem destined 
To walk a more colorful path; 
To see more, attempt more, and accomplish more 
Than falls to the rest of us. 
Be humbled and inspired, 
 But not discouraged by their adventures: 
 Though our colors may be more muted, 
We, too, have charm and value, 
 And an impact all our own. 
We, too, can work in our own communities 
 To help the world become a better, kinder place.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Dealing with grief

"Don’t worry,” my mom used to say to me,
 “There’s always plenty more fish in the sea,” 
Whenever I was distraught about 
 A betrayal, rejection, or loss. 
Of course that never takes into account 
The unique attributes of the fish that was lost 
Or the dwindling numbers of fish in the sea. 
But she, because of an early hard loss of her own, 
Was terrified of emotion, and so 
She chose to belittle, not honor, my feelings, 
Lest they trigger memories of her own. 
Perhaps that’s why so many of us 
Deal so poorly when faced with the grief of others: 
We’re simply attempting 
To protect our own hearts…

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A taste of Eden

Where do you go 
When you need to rest and recuperate? 
What is it that feeds your soul? 
For me, a garden like this — 
A mix of sunlight and shadow, 
Light green and dark, private and quiet, 
With places to sit and places to wander, 
Blessed with birdsong and graced with art… 
This — this could be Eden.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Maternal responses

Though our cats have been catching 
 The mice in our kitchen with some regularity
 (Their methods are far more effective than traps) 
I was nonetheless moved by the tenderness 
 Of this charming creation. 
The detail, of course, is incredible, 
But the facial expressions so beautifully capture 
How it feels to protect and to seek protection, 
I found myself feeling a little bit guilty 
For all the dead mice we have tossed off our cliff…

Monday, September 18, 2023

Focus on the Now

It’s easy to get so caught up 
 In what’s past; in what’s behind you, 
That you fail to fully focus 
On what’s right here, 
Right in front of you; 
To worry so much about what you’ve lost 
Or what you’re missing, 
That you miss the blessings right before your eyes.

Sunday, September 17, 2023


Sitting in an old friend’s back yard, 
Snacking on homegrown cherry tomatoes —
 Is there anything sweeter 
 On a late summer’s afternoon? 
Looking at these two on the vine, 
I find myself thinking 
We’re not just aging; we’re ripening — 
Growing from a dull, mottled youth 
To a ripe, juicy, sweet and luscious perfection! 
Life is good.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

The promise of the future

Our destination looms 
So brightly in the distance, 
But there’ll be so many ups and downs 
Along the way before we get there 
That it’s easy to get lost in the valleys, 
Lose perspective, and never get there. 
So we hold the image in our hearts, 
Warming our hands at its promise 
Even when we feel buried 
In the cold and dark.

Friday, September 15, 2023

We are One

This is it. 
We are One, 
Steaming through life together, 
Laden with the baggage 
Of our hopes and expectations, 
Our breath streaming behind us, 
Echoing the clouds of breath 
Of those who’ve gone before. 
One boat, one life, one earth: 
How can we best support one another 
 On this journey?

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Perhaps a blessing

Each night, at sunset, I go out 
To photograph the colors in the sky, 
For, as with snowflakes, every sunset’s different. 
The infinite variety holds endless fascination — 
The shapes clouds take,
 The patterns on the water, 
The way the world turns gold, then pink 
As the earth turns from the sun… 
But, as with many photographs,
 It’s not til I look later 
That I see the unexpected gifts: look here 
And see the angel in the water, 
Her wings raised as if in praise of light, 
Or perhaps a blessing. 
Now, having seen her, breathe 
 A prayer of gratitude.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023


The dying poppy’s petals wax pearlescent 
As her blossoming season draws to a close. 
Like the essence, revealed beneath 
The transparence of an elderly woman’s skin, 
We see in that opalescence 
Both the beauty that she was 
And the dignity; the purity and elegance 
Of what she is becoming…

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Beauty and violence

The cat had just crawled into my lap 
For his morning nap 
When this rainbow appeared 
 Outside my window. 
Of course I leapt up and ran outside 
To watch it as it doubled, then faded, 
Followed (not preceded!) by an unpredicted rain. 
Back in the house I quickly learned 
The cat had responded 
 To being dumped from my lap 
By taking it out on his sister. 
Hearing her screaming,
 I grabbed my squirter 
 And ran to the bathroom to break up the fight. 
Must such beauty always be followed 
 By violence?

Monday, September 11, 2023

One brown cow

Whether on a crowded subway, or in a bar, 
Or sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight,
 Those moments come, when we’re suddenly aware 
Of the enormous complexity of life; 
 How each person that we see
 Has experiences and concerns 
We can only imagine, yet in that moment 
When we cross paths we are connected… 
And here, passing by a farm on a rural road, 
I can wonder who lives here, 
What their life is like, 
And how they ended up 
 With just one brown cow in a herd of black

Sunday, September 10, 2023


This charming sculpture is Pia the Peacekeeper; 
Isn’t she beautiful? 
Built of recycled pallet boards 
 By Copenhagen-based Artist Thomas Dambo, 
She lives in Sakai park on Bainbridge Island, 
And appears to have a steady stream 
 Of visitors— some quite young! 
 I was intrigued to note that her gaze 
 Seemed to follow us around, 
Inviting us to be peacekeepers as well…

Saturday, September 9, 2023


My husband clapped his hands, 
And all the crows in the fogged field 
Flew up into the air, then settled 
 Down again, as if they’d never moved.
 Applause, that praise some of us long for, 
Can be like that: a brief flutter, some uplifting, 
But then things settle down again 
As if nothing has changed: 
No new horizons opened,
 No self esteem enhanced, but just 
A pleasant memory that fades with time; 
A brief phrase on a resume, 
Buried in a list of accomplishments; 

Friday, September 8, 2023

In praise of generosity

I praise this day 
The generosity of apple trees, 
Whose lush and precious fruit
 Is so prolific, it feeds not only us, 
 But our deer, our community’s homeless, 
And even makes applesauce for schoolchildren. 
 Such bounty, and with so little help from us…

Thursday, September 7, 2023

What fog teaches

How is it, that we’re so determined 
 To hold and see ourselves apart, 
Separate from other humans so like us? 
Doesn’t the fog teach us 
The beauty to be found 
In the blurring of boundaries; 
How alike all things become; 
How alike we are at heart?

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Grudge match

It’s that time of year again, 
When the deer are locking horns again 
Like politicians, gearing for a fight. 
Grappling for dominance, 
They begin with a courteous lick and a grunt, 
And then engage and twist and try 
 To pull each other down;
A pointless exercise from my perspective, 
After which they lie down in my yard 
And take a nap. 
Unlike Republicans and Democrats, 
They don’t seem to harbor grudges…

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

There will be days

There will be days when we find 
 Our constant efforts to do good, 
Be compassionate, fight prejudice and injustice 
Are exhausting. It’s okay, in such a world, 
On such a day, to take a rest; 
 To lie down in the grass, made dry and prickly 
 With the heat of climate change, 
And relax, and close your eyes, 
And dream of a world 
 Where the grass is soft and green 
 And folks are kind, 
 For dreams like these will fuel our future.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Like the bees

Like bees, 
We all have our good points and bad:
 The honey we make and share 
Often outweighed by the venom in our sting. 
But like the bees, we need one another; 
Need the cross-pollination of thoughts and ideas.
Our willingness to share 
Feeds the world’s growth and vitality.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Where Sunday falls

Does Sunday fall 
At the beginning or the end off your week?
 Is this where the journey starts? A sunrise? 
Or a sunset as the week draws to a close? 
However it works for you, I pray 
That rest is still the order of the day; 
Some time to process what’s been done 
And prepare for what’s to come; 
Some time for peace.

Saturday, September 2, 2023


What if the baggage 
We drag along through life 
Isn’t bad, dangerous, 
Eating away at us and our relationships, 
But simply a marker we drag along on purpose; 
A way to make ourselves more visible, 
 More identifiable, 
 Should we find ourselves drowning 
In the minutiae of life?

Friday, September 1, 2023

Have you seen the moon?

A friend texted me: have you seen the moon? 
And though I looked around me 
From my spot in the ferry line, 
The sky was black. She texted back: 
It’s in the East, if that’s a help! 
And so I left my car and took a walk, 
Past the buildings and the trees 
To the corner of the street, 
And there it was, shining on both of us 
Though we were miles apart, 
Showering us both with grace, and light.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Mystical, majestic

Mystical, majestic; 
Echoes of ancient myths 
And Elizabethan forests, 
Where faerie kings masquerade, 
Luring maidens to their leafy lairs…
 It’s amazing, how a little fog 
Imbues a familiar scene with mystery —
 And we humans often seem to find 
Mystery more alluring than clarity…

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Like a ribbon

Like an answer to a prayer, 
The rains came yesterday, 
Soaking the yard and dripping from the berries, 
Then closing the day, like a ribbon on a present, 
With a fabulous sunset: what a blessing!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Lahaina and Kelowna

Awakened by a flash 
And the rumble of thunder, 
I am waiting 
 With the dry grass and the weeds 
For the rain that was promised 
But never seems to arrive; 
Trying to stay in the moment and not worry 
About the fires that lightning can bring; 
Images of Lahaina and Kelowna in my head. 
Having loved what was then burned,
 Do we ever feel safe enough to love again?

Monday, August 28, 2023

Be not ashamed of aging

Oh golden one, don’t hide your face, 
Ashamed your sunny locks grow thin, bedraggled, 
Your complexion mottled: 
Those who love you see the seeds you’ve lost 
Enumerate the birds you must have fed 
And those you’ve yet to feed; 
The countless futures enriched 
By the nourishment you provide 
In simply being the magnificence you are.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Joyful possibilities

The world is full of joyful possibilities 
 If we are willing to take chances;
 To step away from the familiar — 
Even a tiny step! — 
And try something bold and new.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

No longer viable

What makes this house so startling 
Is not so much that it’s leaning, 
But the fact that it’s still standing. 
How did this happen? 
Who or what do we blame? 
And how is it still standing? 
How long before it collapses altogether?
 It’s the same response we have on seeing 
Other kinds of trouble in the world: 
Failing relationships, companies, organizations — 
Why they are not working pales before 
The wonder that they’re still functioning at all: 
The tenacity of humans to cling with hope 
To things no longer viable
Is nothing short of miraculous.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Beings of light

The sun, in her brilliance, 
Ignites the clouds around her. 
As beings of light, 
We are called to do the same.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

As summer draws to a close

As we enter the final weeks of summer, 
Some part of us is wondering 
 If we spent enough time just soaking up the sun. 
Were we too busy doing to just be? 
Did we fully appreciate our opportunities 
 To let those tensions go and just drift? 
Before the chill of autumn sets in 
(And the rain, if you’re in the Pacific Northwest!) 
Find a little time to just appreciate 
The sights, the sounds, and scents 
 Of a summer afternoon, and store them up 
As memories to warm a winter’s night.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Nature’s art

I don’t pretend to know, but I assume 
That with the long dry summer 
The pond is drying up, 
And what water filters in attracts the algae — 
Although perhaps the surface is evenly coated 
But blooming only happens where there’s water? 
What I do know is that Mother Nature 
Is inspiring, and a finer artist 
Than I could ever be, and so I celebrate 
Her amaranthine creativity.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


This little bird, having bumped into my window, 
Is resting on the deck below, 
Taking time to breathe again, 
Shake out her wings before ascending 
Back into the sky. We,too, must learn 
To allow ourselves recovery time; 
Time to rest, to self-assess, test out our wings 
And slowly breathe life back into our hearts 
After those unexpected bumps upon the road — 
You know the ones: the accidents, the losses,
 The surprises we encounter that divert us 
From the path we thought we’d chosen. 
Who knows? Each one could be a gift,
But we won’t know ‘til we make time to unwrap it.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Night thoughts

Ships passing in the night: a cliche, 
And obviously my camera couldn’t find 
Its focus in the dark, so I can only share 
The brightness and the color, 
Not the texture — the lifeboats, 
And all the tiny windows
 (Though I’ve never understood 
How it can be all lit up like that 
At 3 am, when all the folks aboard 
 Are sleeping, as I wish I were…). 
But of course the crew are awake, and busy 
Preparing for their return to port, 
Rounding up the luggage, making breakfast, 
And guiding the ship home through smoky seas. 
And I could bet some passenger, like me,
 Is wide awake and staring out their window 
Into the night, worrying about the challenges 
Awaiting them when they return to land, 
And wishing it were easier to fall asleep again…
 Perhaps they, too, crawl back in bed 
And say a prayer for all who work,
 Or watch, or weep this night.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

What have we done?

It’s wildfire season now, 
In both our state and Canada, 
 And though we have no fires close by 
The smoke obscures our view 
 And forces us to close our windows. 
I ache for friends in eastern Washington, 
Where the air quality index is over 350, 
And wonder how long they can continue 
To breathe without suffering ill effects. 
I wake in the night with images of Lahaina 
Streaming through my head, 
Imagining that happening 
 To all the little sea coast towns I love 
And cringe: what have we done 
To our precious earth?

Saturday, August 19, 2023

When the mask grows too small

Does Madrona ache, or mourn, or celebrate 
 Those seasons when its skin begins to peel, 
Exposing all the green wood underneath? 
And does that stripping also slough 
The blackened scars below? How does this work? 
And what — if anything — does this tell us 
About those seasons when we, too, 
 Must be revealed beneath the masks 
That may have grown too small for us to wear?

Friday, August 18, 2023

Distortions from a lens

I’m not sure why 
 The glass in my living room window 
Turned an orange sunset to magenta; 
Everything else I’ve seen through it looked normal. 
Perhaps it was the angle from where I stood? 
But still: a gentle reminder 
 That what we think we’re seeing 
 May not be real, as it’s always filtered 
Through the lens of our experience. 
Try standing in a different place,
 Or in another’s shoes 
 To get a truer picture.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

When paths diverge

The choices that we make when paths diverge 
May matter much — or possibly not at all; 
They might converge again in some new place 
Or not at all; only time will tell, 
 So your best guess, based on what your eyes, 
 Your intuition, and experience have to tell you — 
And perhaps a bit of prayer — 
Is all you have to guide you: 
The time has come to trust 
That choices made with best intentions 
Are meant to bring good outcomes 
For all concerned.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The ache beneath the pleasure

A chance encounter with friends,
 A beautiful evening, a glorious sunset, 
And a flock of geese circling through the sky: 
All the makings of a fabulous summer evening— 
And yet, beneath the surface, haunting images 
Of the fiery devastation of a beloved town. 
We treasure these precious moments 
And ache for the losses elsewhere in the world.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023


On a warm and sunny day, we decided 
 To walk a new path for us, around a lagoon. 
And so we strode off into the woods, 
Appreciating the shade of the canopy of trees.
 Having forgotten to bring hats, we hoped 
The path would continue to be shady, 
But soon began to wonder 
 If we’d ever actually see the lagoon — 
And then it came: a break in the underbrush, 
And suddenly the lagoon was revealed 
In all its bright blue splendor,
 Framed by a lacy tracery of branches. 
Those of us who venture 
Into new territories must learn to trust 
The promises of those who’ve gone before us, 
And be patient, believing that, with time, 
The truth will be revealed.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Being present

What day would not go more sweetly 
After awakening to such a glorious display?
 Or are you one who believes 
 Life’s inevitably all downhill from here?
 Or one who didn’t see it; 
Too busy drinking coffee, making lists… 
No matter where we are, life will be richer 
If we’re present to what is.

Sunday, August 13, 2023


My cat watches, mesmerized and chirping at 
The bird who’s landed on our deck; 
The bird stares back, paralyzed I’m sure, 
By her steady gaze, unaware of the glass 
Which, like the restrictions imposed by laws, 
Separates and protects them both —
The bird from the cat, 
And the cat from the Eagle that flies overhead…

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Appreciating the mix

So many different types of clouds 
Coexisting in the sky —
 Dark, and light, and gray; 
Cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and altocumulus, 
All dancing together, a patchwork inflorescence 
 Of flowers in a garden of blue; 
Like the churches I grew up in, 
Where folks of all persuasions 
And backgrounds sat together in the pews, 
United despite differences 
By shared experience and beliefs…

Friday, August 11, 2023

Old friends

I think my father brought me these dolls 
 After one of his long business trips; 
I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8. 
And yet somehow I’ve kept them all these years, 
Allowing them to follow me from house to house, 
From move to move… I’m not sure how or why 
They ended up in this windowsill, 
But I get the feeling they approve 
 Of this, our most recent move, 
And are enjoying our renewed closeness 
To the natural world.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Never enough

The buck outside my window, 
Demanding to be fed; 
The cats rubbing against my legs 
 As I walk into the kitchen; 
The rhododendron leaves that droop, 
Requesting to be watered — 
All small reminders of the larger problems 
 In the world that I can’t fix; 
The daily stream of news that breaks my heart. 
And so I do my best 
 To care for those for whom I can 
 Make a difference, knowing all the while 
It will never be enough…