Monday, July 31, 2023

Those dry days

As the dry days of summer settle in, 
We say farewell to the last of the rhododendrons 
 As the lavender turns, first gray, then brown, 
And the calla lilies wilt on their tall stalks. 
Is it any wonder I woke up wondering, 
“Have I done enough? 
 Have I reached out enough, or cared enough, 
Or loved enough, or given enough? 
Have I done my part; 
Have I paid enough attention 
 To the needs around me? 
Those moments when the reality 
Of mortality sets in…

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Giving back

It’s been so dry (as always in the summer)
 The birds are reveling in our birdbaths: 
I go out every morning to refill them, 
And clean out all the mess they’ve left behind — 
The eagles leave fish heads, 
And the crows and raccoons dip their peanuts — 
We do our best to give back 
 To those with whom we share 
This awesome acre.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Before the fade

Bold as a graffiti artist,
 The evening sun brushes 
 Both the Madrona branch and my potting shed 
With fiery streaks of red; 
Streaks that fade like memories 
 As the dark rolls in and edges blur 
Between known and unremembered, 
Now and past, presence and loss. 
I stumble back across the pockmarked yard, 
Wary of the molehills and the divots,
 Lest I trip and break some newly fragile bone…

Friday, July 28, 2023

Forgiving absence

Our swallow babies have grown quite large, 
Yet still their parents feed them — 
Clearly their wings are still a bit too stubby 
To consider attempting flight.
 I used to think the fact that their parents 
 Flew away whenever we opened the door 
Was because they didn’t trust us, 
But now I understand it’s because 
Feeding these hungry teens is a full-time job: 
There’s no time — or room! — for them 
To rest and socialize. 
We do our best to grant the same understanding 
 To absent friends and children, 
And trust it’s their busy lives, not fear or distaste, 
That keeps them from making 
 That physical connection.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Sylvan artist

As an artist, there’s so much
 I could learn from the trees: 
How many shades of gray there are,
 And how to use them to convey life and death; 
How to blend colors, 
And let them spill across a page
 In a song of survival; 
How to take opposites like red and green 
And pick shades of each that stand side by side 
And work together, totally complementary; 
How to use texture to express 
 The depths of our shared pain, 
As well as the capacity 
 And determination to overcome

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Art depicting art

The expression on this face 
So beautifully reminds us 
That Samuel Clemens’ humor flowed 
From a deep abiding sadness 
With the injustices and thoughtlessness 
Of his world, in hopes of drawing attention 
To its cruelty. I am reminded, seeing this, 
Of a favorite Eckhart Tolle quote: 
“The purpose of all great art 
Is to serve as a portal to the sacred.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Thriving without our help

Though my watering efforts have been focused 
On the newly seeded dirt that was dug 
When we added our foundation, 
The rest of the garden seems to be thriving 
Despite — or is it because of? — 
This dry summer — reminding us 
We’re not the saviors of the whole world; 
We just need to do our part...

Monday, July 24, 2023


This one made me think 
 Of that Rudyard Kipling poem — 
“If you can keep your head 
When all about you are losing theirs 
And blaming you” — 
And isn’t that part of the value 
 Of a classical education, 
 That you can’t but realize you’re not alone;
 That whatever you might be suffering, 
Others have gone before you and survived 
To tell the tale and offer hope?

Sunday, July 23, 2023

That golden glow

The golden glow of morning 
Colors everything it touches: 
Bathed in spirit, awash in gold, 
 Our lavender turns pink; our grass to amber. 
 All, ignited, is united, however briefly, 
At the rising and the setting of the sun; 
Those times when the divine spark within 
Spills out, enflaming us all with joy.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

A simpler life

I can’t not stop for scenes like this: 
The fog, the barn, the bales of hay 
All call to me: a siren song 
Of textures, colors, childhood memories —
 The tastes and scents of summer, 
All stored up in a photograph; 
A gentle reminder of the pleasures 
Of a simpler life.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Trusting the path

There will be times 
 When the path we’re meant to travel 
Is clearly marked, 
 Even though we may not know 
Exactly where it leads. 
And so, guided by circumstance, 
We take that chance, 
Trusting that, whatever the result, 
The lessons learned are meant to help us grow.

Thursday, July 20, 2023


There’s something very special 
About walking out your front door 
And seeing this. 
As a woman who used to quilt and taught quilting, 
With a daughter who makes quilts 
 And a quilting friend who just paid 
Her annual visit, and took me 
On a fabric shopping spree, 
And gave me one of her quilts, 
The serendipity of this — a stranger’s choice 
To build a photograph — seemed enormous. 
It amazes me at times, how often 
Coincidences like these seem to occur: 
I find them somehow very reassuring— 
Like those instances of deja-vu, 
A gentle indicator that I’m where I’m meant to be...

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Learning to sing

We turned our house 
From yellow to gray this week, 
But elected not to disturb the swallows’ nest 
(You can see, below right, where yellow stops
And gray begins.) 
Happily, the babies have thrived 
In spite of all the commotion. 
Mama got some paint on her tail, 
But it doesn’t seem to have interfered 
With her characteristic swooping flight 
As she and her mate fly back and forth 
In support of their young. 
Such a pleasure, watching the little ones 
Learn to sing!

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The firefly in the heart

Asked to give a workshop on abstract art, 
I came up with a set of steps and choices 
That would make it easy to demonstrate 
A wide variety of tools and techniques. 
But I found the colors and choices so addictive 
That for the first time in my painting career 
I seem to be doing a series: over 20 paintings now, 
All in the same style, and I wondered: 
What should I call them? And today, a gift, 
This poem appeared in my reading:
 “Who knows 
That in the depth of the ravine 
Of the mountain of my hidden heart 
A firefly of my love is aflame.” 
Thank you, Abutsu-Ni!

Monday, July 17, 2023

Harbingers of hope

A spectacular evening sunset —
 One I’d have missed, if I hadn’t been exposed 
(Or possibly exposed) to CoVid 
 And decided to stay home — 
Turned the Madrona trees behind me to scarlet; 
It seems only fair to share them both 
As a testament to the beauty of the day 
And the gift of happenstance: as we look back, 
Is it not true, that some of the best gifts 
We’ve received in life could only have occurred 
 Because something else more painful 
 Cleared the way for something new? 
And, knowing that, might we resolve, 
To treat our future setbacks 
As opportunities; harbingers of hope?

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Gifts from the sky

Driving home last night 
 From a birthday dinner with friends, 
We were treated to these amazing clouds. 
They were particularly fabulous 
 When we could see the nearby water, 
Which was pink with their reflection, 
But I wasn’t quite quick enough
To get my camera out to show you that. 
Nonetheless, their drama was impressive, 
And a joyful end to a joyful evening: 
Good friends and a glorious sky — 
Life’s precious gifts: who needs presents 
With gifts like these?

Saturday, July 15, 2023


The last patch of lavender in my garden 
 Is blooming; all the others, once vibrant purple, 
Have gone to gray, 
So I thought I’d take a picture of these, 
Glowing in the evening light, 
And now that it’s morning, I see there is 
A stray white blade of grass — 
 Just there, near the center — 
And my photographer’s eye is offended. 
Do I toss the photo? 
 Pull the grass and take another? 
Photoshop it out? Or keep it as a reminder 
Of something age is teaching me, day by day: 
That things don’t need to be perfect 
To be beautiful…

Friday, July 14, 2023

Stuck on the bridge

Stuck on the bridge behind a large truck 
As we wait for a sailboat to pass through, 
I place a phone call to my daughter, 
Discussing the challenges she faces at work 
And rejoice in the beauty of the day. 
Life is good.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Enjoying the fog

For me, fog has always offered an invitation; 
An opportunity to see things anew 
Without the distractions of complexity; 
To appreciate the textures 
 Of elements close at hand 
While enjoying the simplicity 
 Of a world where black and white 
Have merged to gray…

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The gift of awakening

I confess I was a little annoyed 
At having awakened so early — 
I’d have loved another hour of sleep — 
But in the summer, in a room full of windows, 
That becomes a bit of a challenge, 
And so I climbed out of bed 
And walked downstairs 
To be greeted by this fabulous sunrise, 
And somehow all my annoyance slipped away…

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Preconceived notions

So many of us come into new situations 
Dragging our preconceived notions 
Like sails behind us, 
Ready to catch a prevailing wind 
And take flight at the least provocation — 
Especially when leaders rely on power, 
Rather than sharing the risks experienced 
By their followers…

Monday, July 10, 2023


Recovery — from anything: addiction, disease, 
Losses, bad relationships, accidents, surgeries — 
Can be a very long and difficult process, 
And, standing at the beginning, it may appear 
Impossibly daunting — and yet, we persist. 
Despite the pain and the inevitable setbacks, 
We continue that upward climb 
To health, stability, serenity — whatever it is 
We’re seeking to restore — trusting, and praying, 
That our efforts will be rewarded 
And our understanding will be deepened 
By the process.

Sunday, July 9, 2023


“Did you realize,” my friend asked,
 After I shot this picture,
 “That that was a real human person?” 
And no; having first glimpsed it from the back, 
I had assumed it was a statue, 
And my only thought was to get a shot 
Of the face, and the hands holding the flowers. 
Why is it we humans so often make assumptions 
 Based on exterior indicators — 
 Skin color, clothing, possessions — 
And fail to detect the very real person beneath?

Saturday, July 8, 2023


Those who are determined to grow 
Will somehow manage to thrive 
Even in the most unlikely places. 
The very fact of their existence 
 Is then an inspiration to us all.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Between loss and acceptance

There’s an overlook, a road end by our property, 
And people gather there on summer evenings 
 To watch the sunset. 
 But once the sun goes down, they drive away, 
Never realizing how glorious the colors are 
That emerge between sundown and night — 
A beauty that reminds us 
It may not be the endings in our lives 
 But the aftermaths of those endings 
That have the most to teach us; 
The intensity of emotions that arise 
Between the loss and the letting go…

Thursday, July 6, 2023


When I first began exploring photography, 
In the pre-digital age, 
The man who developed my photographs 
Encouraged me to take a weeklong workshop 
(Held in the town where I now live). 
One of the first things we learned 
 Was to be very aware of what’s on the edges 
That might prove distracting — 
And clearly in this I forgot to do that:
 I was so enchanted by that bright orange, 
I didn’t see my own feet! 
And what a life lesson that is…

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The generosity of trees

Our plum and cherry trees, 
Which, last year, failed to give us any fruit, 
Are making up for lost time now 
And heavy with the harvest to come. 
I’m not a baker or a canner, 
Though I hope to get the chance 
To snack on a plum or two 
 Before we call the gleaners, 
 Who come and pick the fruit 
For delivery to food banks and schools: 
So much better than losing it all 
To the hungry deer!

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

How independent are we?


t’s July 4, Independence Day in my country, 
And red, white and blue are the colors of the day, 
Just not this shade of blue, 
Which is the turquoise—or is it aqua?— 
Of the ‘58 Chevy my parents had 
When I was growing up. 
Someone else’s restored version of that Chevy 
Keeps reappearing at the car show 
That’s held every year here on the 4th, 
And each year it triggers memories of childhood. 
I wonder now if those memories explain 
The appearance of this shade of blue 
In so many of my paintings… and why 
So often those same paintings have 
 These same, orangey-red accents.
 Are we ever truly independent of our origins?

Monday, July 3, 2023

Redressing the balance

Now that the fawns have grown a bit, 
Their mother invites them to share her corn, 
Keeping watch, all the while, to be sure 
No interlopers interfere. She times her visits 
 So the males, the bucks who push and shove 
All smaller deer away so they can feast, 
Are dozing elsewhere, unaware; 
I aid her efforts — mama to mama — 
By refusing to put out feed 
 When the boys are around; 
They retaliate by eating plants and trees 
The nursery owners swore to me 
 Were absolutely deer proof. 
All life, it seems, is a balancing act, 
And our efforts to redress the balance 
Often — though not inevitably— backfire

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Sharing what light we find

It’s evening, growing dark 
And the nightly watering’s done. 
I move to put away the hose 
And catch sight of these little flowers, 
Glowing in the dark 
As if they’d stored the day’s light, 
Hoping to point the way back to my home. 
May all of us be so conscious; 
Gathering what light we find 
And sharing it for those in the dark.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

A celestial introvert

There’s something reassuring about the moon; 
The way she waxes and wanes with the tides, 
Sometimes igniting the clouds around her, 
And other times hiding behind them, 
A celestial introvert, carefully choosing 
When to appear and reveal herself 
And when to mask or retire;
 Adapting to circumstances as if it were a game