29 November 2012

"The Smell of Hospitals...

...in winter, and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters but no pearls..."*

It's been a quiet November, writerly-wise, for me and the cool drought is showing no edges I can see. I don't know how to explain it, dear ones, other than to offer some faint excuses relating to the Stuff and the Things. I am lacking, for the nonce, a certain discipline.

Yesterday was a prime example. I had a long to-do list, most of it Have-To-Do and not Want-To-Do. I'm sure you know how that goes. But in the margins of that list, unwritten but visible to me, was this feeling that I should write something before everything atrophies.

I didn't get to it. That filled me with a cranky melancholy.

So...I took a deep breath of early winter air this morning, which carried a whiff of something I could not place, but knew that maybe I did not want to place. It had a scent of things lost, rounded out with leaf litter and wood smoke.

I am holding my place, for now. I sit at the table while the sun streams through the blinds, and I think maybe it won't be a long December. It won't, if you will join me in holding up a candle or two.

*Lyric from "A Long December" by the Counting Crows

21 November 2012

Hunter and the God

November 20th, 10:34 PM. My bed awaits.

Tonight, I came home from a dinner outing and errands, and found myself standing in the driveway holding a pie in my hands. The air was cool and crisp. I stood stock still, wondering.

Not about the pie, mind you. Apple, if you are curious, and about the size of a large hubcap. A slice will be breakfast tomorrow, perhaps with a slice of cheese.

What had me still was the sight to behold in the sky: Orion rising over the trees, facing Taurus the bull, which appeared to have Jupiter stuck in its horns. I was transfixed, wondering.

God on the horns, beset by the hunter. A metaphor writ celestial, just for me. My maternal grandmother, my G-maw, whispered in my heart. The voice of my brother lanced through my brain and I contracted around a spasm of loss, the point sharpened by the wrinkled  faces of my departed children glowing in the dim light of my mind.

Jupiter, Aldebaran and Rigel wavered briefly, little spikes of light coruscating out from them as I closed my weary eyes. The breath whooshed softly from my lungs. Two heartbeats later I opened my eyes to look back up in the sky. The stars and planet were still there shining down on me and my languid heart.

Just like them. Yes, just like them.

20 November 2012

A Brief Word About America

In the run up to the recent elections, and in the noisy din of its aftermath, there has been much talk by the sore losers that they needed to "take back America" and that they"lost America". Such bloviation angers and saddens me.

America belongs to all Americans, not one ideology or otherwise arbitrarily defined socio-economic-political grouping of citizens.

America is a grand, shared idea. No one gained it or lost it, because it was never theirs to possess.

17 November 2012

What You Hold

In the gauzy web that is the remaking of my life, there has been joy, there has been heartache
and echoes from the past.

Sometimes punctuated by the occasional glass of wine, and good conversation.

During this walkabout of mine the words of Max Ehrmann drifted through the open window of my soul...
With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Some of you will know that is from his prose poem Desiderata, a quiet gem unearthed and polished by Max back in 1927. It has been around, riffed on, maybe cheapened by some.

But the window was open, a heart in need spoke to mine, and all I could see in my head was my hands holding the living, beating core of another. I was filled with humility and need, fright and honor that I was blessed to cup such a thing and that in the moment my sole purpose was to hold it gently, don't let it fall, don't let it break.

One beat. Two beats. A score or more flooding my veins and heart with love and quiet, to know that even in the face of heartbreak and sadness, we must hold on. We must help others hold on.

There is sham, drudgery and broken dreams. But there is beauty to be had, love to be created. Hold on, find the quiet center. Storms will pass and flowers grow, in the golden light shining from our hearts if we let it be.

02 November 2012


I am embarking on a trip today, a 'there-and-back' jaunt, same day service to back east. I was puttering around earlier trying to wrap up the last minute loose ends. I had to remind myself that I wasn't packing any clothes or travel gear...

...except I made sure I had a notebook and a camera.

I feel like I can't go on any travel anymore without one or both of those things. I feel something is missing if I don't have either with me. Will I use them? I don't know. But I'd rather have them and not need them, than need them and not have them. You know that is, don't you? Don't you?