Vacation, 2:30 am

Vacation, 2:30 am


What about all those times when any kind of bed would have been a welcome relief:

…that night on the park bench in Pamplona
…the bucket seat on the ferry crossing from Ireland
…the overcrowded train car from Milano to Switzerland

But I had slept at least some on each of those nights without the pressure points of this deck-of-cards body; and there had been nights, like this one, with a bed, even at 20, when I couldn’t sleep…

… the Shrimp Diablo
…that night in Nice
…the mornings after cheating

And now the second margarita instead of supper at Happy Hour.

There are children
Without beds
With aching stomachs.

There are the ill and the aged and the terrorized.

Who am I to claim deprivation?

What of nursing mothers, teething toddlers, and the dying–and those tending them.

I should have had some dinner.
I should have skipped the indulgence of a second cocktail.

Should I have stayed home?
Never left the comfort of my bed?

Instead of writing now, at 2:30 am, with a view of the lighthouse, on a island across Saco Bay?


Sometimes I can’t bear the pain that lies ahead
So exquisite is the joy I’ve known.


I began writing at 18 to feel less alone.
I began offering my work at 36 so that others might feel less alone.


I am lying awake on a tiny strip of land beside the sea.
Who are these people in the passing cars and where are they going at 3:30 am?


I’ll close with  a poem for all those who are still awake.

The Sleepless Ones

What if all the people
who could not sleep
at two or three or four
in the morning
left their houses
and went to the parks
what if hundreds, thousands,
went in their solitude
like a stream
and each told their story
what if there were
old women
fearful if they slept
they would die
and young women
unable to conceive
and husbands
having affairs
and children
fearful of failing
and fathers
worried about paying bills
and men
having business troubles
and women unlucky in love
and those that were in physical
and those who were guilty
what if they all left their houses
like a stream
and the moon
illuminated their way and
they came, each one
to tell their stories
would these be the more troubled
of humanity
or would these be
the more passionate of this world
or those who need to create to live
or would these be
the lonely
and I ask you
if they all came to the parks
at night
and told their stories
would the sun on rising
be more radiant and
again I ask you
would they embrace

~ Lawrence Tirnauer

(note: I first heard this poem read by author Dani Shapiro in her workshop, The Stories We Carry.)

The Month of May

The Month of May

The Green Man arrives. May Day. 2016
The Green Man arrives. May Day. 2016

May 29
The world conspired to keep me awake. The warm air. The intoxicating sounds. The sky. Especially the sky! First Mars. Then all those constellations whose shapes & names I never bothered to learn. Then something else. A first for the season! So soon? Maybe it was a plane. A falling star. A UFO. I got up three times. After midnight. To be sure.


My guys strut around in the Rockin Rose towels I bought for spring, Makes my feminist heart sing.

May 27
Here’s to black fly bites & ant infestations.
Without which we’d drown in the intoxication of May.


I suppose I was 17 and she was not quite 2. We dove under the sea together and the salt water soaked her long lashes and made the gift of her in my arms under the warm sun almost unbearable.

“You have such pretty eyes, Bon Bon,” I said.

After which, she looked at me, just as earnestly, with the sand kissing the fine hairs of my face, and said,

“You have two eyes too, Kel Kel!”


One year ago today. Bernie announced his campaign. On the waterfront. In Burlington, Vermont.


May 26
both boys back in the house


At 52, I’ve become such a risk taker. In relationship. First with a friend. Then a sister.
Exposing where I’ve been hurt instead of tucking it inside. To fester.

After I share,  I listen and respond to the ways I’ve presented a similar challenge. To them.

I am so brave. And vulnerable.

We all are.


May 24

after 10 days away, i love re-integrating back home
under the cover
of rain…

May 22
Another day, another graduate!


May 21, 2016
Am I pretty?
52, and I still want
to know. Daddy,
do you think so?

May 20

Medicine enters the next generation…
Nephew Corey (my sister Robin’s oldest and the first of our next gen) JUST graduated from Medical School.
Continuing on the path of his father (ER doc), grandfather (Surgeon) & grandmother (Nurse), great-grandfather (Surgeon), great-great grandfather (Physician) & great-great grandmother (Nurse), and his great-great-great grandfather (Health Officer.)

May 19
The island in May. Empty of commerce. Pulsing in preparation. Landscapers. Dune-shapers. Painters. Stockers. Deliverers. A shoulder season like September, but intemperate & gusty with an unwelcome chill. A desire for baring, not covering. Skin. Aching for swimsuits, not sweatshirts. The anxious cheer of Open for Business. Eager staff training & being trained. Busboys seeking anything upon which to apply clean rags. Everyone practicing on pretend customers, like me, before the real ones arrive, in throngs, in season, with the height of the summer sun…

Happy 26th Anniversary of our Marriage, Casey
the “backdrop to women’s oppression for centuries”
(I wouldn’t want to live inside this institution with anyone else.)

 May 18

Though I was born here, and lived here from time to time throughout my life, it is the returning that I most appreciate. And in this, I have been well received, both by the sea, and by those who have welcomed me and my family over a lifetime. First grandparents, then parents and in-laws, aunts & uncles, siblings, cousins, friends, friends of siblings, parents of friends–each providing spare bedrooms, empty apartments, entire homes–so that I might know, and always remember, that I belong.

May 16

The pre-patriarchal goddess, Hera, returned for a ritual bath to the Spring of Kanathus every year to renew her Virginity–the quality of belonging to herself.

~Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter


In my bag, I have packed, just about 700 pages
My own
Ready for gentle eyes

 May 14

If ever cease I to call Vermont my home, this may be what I’ll miss most…


May 13

To her home state. The great state of North Carolina.

“Let us learn from our history and avoid repeating the mistakes of our past… Let us write a different story this time.”

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch

May 12

How often have I lived my life in compensation…
for another’s lived or unlived life…
Or my own…
How might I live without it…

Where does the balance of self reside?


 May 11
Healers, artists, builders, coaches, counselors, teachers.This rich village in which we raise children.With special gratitude for Beverly Current at the Colonial Pool & Spa, who retires this summer, but not before coaxing a reluctant swimmer into proficiency & delight. True mastery.

May 10

the communing season


 Christened the new picnic basket.

Life is good.


I don’t read a lot of fiction. Because I feel manipulated and all. But my favorite fiction is once read. Sent by a friend. Who just had to share. Post office and all. Hoping I’d love it too.

May 10
I guess there’s some alchemy to an old white guy reminding us who we are as a country (and who we are not.)



30 years ago. The phone rang. It was Casey Deane.
Calling for a job.


 what if i didn’t try to change how i was feeling.

what if i felt tired or depressed or heavy or all three and i just let that be. as if there was nothing wrong with me. as if how i am feeling is an invitation. as is. to really know. me. nothing to change. nothing to fix. nothing to flee.

next time, i’ll try this.
today i had chocolate. (lots of it.)


~EARTHSHINE: Sunlight reflects off the earth and lights up the moon; most intensely just before & after the New Moon of April & May.

ECOlogical Calendar

 May 9

Mothers Day sightings:
Racoon. Porcupine. (both dead)
Fox with two kits. Crossing road.
Turkey. Crossing highway.
Mouse. Crossing Rte 9.

(honorable mention: Golden Eagle, seated, on Rte 9, the week prior.)


Mothers day. Every day.
Feel the love. The sacrifice. THE POWER.
Every country.
Every home.
Every womb.

May 8

Weekend witnessing:

~A middle-aged man & woman, searching for trash along the side of the road, pause to exchange a touch & a kiss. ‪#‎GreenUpDay‬

~A silver-haired man wipes tears from his cheek as the chorus sings, “Every week, I visit my mother. She lives in a place where they can take care of her. She’s not sure that I’m her daughter, but that no longer makes me cry.” ‪#‎BrattleboroWomensChorus‬

~HEROINES with young children at performances throughout time, braving the gauntlet of breakdowns, while the rest of us get to focus so intently that we bristle at each squeak. ‪#‎Motherhood‬


Celebrating all the ways we’ve been mothered well, and all the ways we can mother ourselves…

May 7

I can look out the window and see another dreary day or I can see the carpet of white blossoms on the greening earth.
I can look toward my kitchen and see the crumbs and disarray, or I can sense into the years of feeding a family and celebrating home.
I can look into the past and remember a mother who abandoned her children or I can see a woman who looked her demons in the eye and invited to them to the table where she nourished my soul.

May 6

Even the cd shuffler knows that stealing the sun after a few hours flirtation is crueler than another day without it.


Daffodils on a string of cold, dreary days; like sunny people at funerals.
You know that moment just before you transition into deep sleep? It’s there that He appears. Waking me. With a startle. Each night since Cruz dropped out. (Thank the Lord.) But now there’s no more pretending. He’s their guy. #Trump


Yesterday I finally tracked down a beloved. I can’t believe how hard she’s been to find. Made simpler by one fact: the smile that greeted me every morning in 7th, 8th & 9th grade was the same one she beamed at 51.

From her obituary.


That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.

Pope Francis – May 2016

May 3

After a 6 month hiatus, I’m struck by a tidal wave of sensation. Fear. Constriction. Resistance. A
nd something even more immobilizing:
Who do I think I am?!
The stakes are this high.
9 years of experience washed away.
Forced back to the beginning.
The initiation.
Ishvara Pranidhana.
Let my successes and my failures be an offering.

May 1st

I asked Father Hodges–the one who wore a hair shirt and had us sing Irish drinking tunes in our senior theology class at Wildwood Catholic High–if I might be excused from getting on my knees and saying the rosary.

“I’m not Catholic,” I said.

The next day he volunteered me to crown Mary in the May pageant.


Game Changer?

Game Changer?

First a chipmunk beside my chair.
Then a bird nesting above the door.
A fox barking at the boys beside the fire.
A buck grazing near the bath tub while I shower.
A hummingbird too, circling me, and the spray of water, on consecutive mornings.
Cue the yellow butterflies escorting our departures from home, and our returns too.
On the evening walk, a beaver paddles by.
In the morning, an eagle swoops overhead.
In the afternoon a hawk.
A salamander scurries at foot.
A raccoon, straight out of a picture book, joins our picnic, helps himself to compost, stares back at our pointing, our oohs and awes, and the dogs, do nothing, no barks; they don’t even lift their heads.

Has someone changed the rules?

Annoying Bird Calls (or what kind of mom are you?)

Annoying Bird Calls (or what kind of mom are you?)

If ever cease I to call Vermont home, the call of the thrush in the quiet of the morning or just before night falls, may be my greatest loss…

The Empty Nest Diary

Photo 339I wake to the sounds of birds and wonder if I should get up too. Now that the boys are home for the summer, I like to be up early to steal some quiet time. I roll over to check my husband’s alarm clock but instead I see his back.  If he’s still beside me, it’s too early to get up. I notice it’s dark outside.

Still, I lift my foggy head over his body in a heroic effort to assign time. 4:44. I like that. Those fours could inspire me get up and write about the “masculine.”  “4” is the number for Emperor  in the tarot, and this is the first full day of summer–the masculine in full expression. I roll over and slip back into the soft feminine of my dreams.

When the sounds of birds wake me again, the room is lightening and Casey is missing. I…

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April Notes

April Notes

the first bouquet of bluets left by a boy beside my bed this April morning


the first bouquet of bluets; left by a boy beside my bed this April morning


(insight at dawn)

i think it’s dangerous to live in an idea of your life. your relationship. your work. your politics.
but even this is an idea.


(return of the geese)

Thursday morning trumpeted by the negotiation of nesting rights over Neringa Pond.



they passed their stress between them like they had this winter’s cough.



I find myself softening more and more into generalities, which leads to increasing ease, and also anxiety–about further aging–how it separates me from the specificity upon which so many lives depend… like road signs, and names, and numbers, and dates. And also how it releases me, into the merging light of the One.


(body memory)

Casey & I served on the organizing committee for the first-ever Earth Day Fair in Cape May County. A few days before the event, I miscarried, and a week later, after heading the Beach Sweep, we put out our resumes to dozens of schools across the state of Vermont.  23 years have passed, but the preciousness & fragility of life (human & planet) continue to pulse–inside of me–forever shaped by this week in 1993.


(The Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük circa 6,000 BCE)




I don’t need to bash Hillary to feel the BERN.


(politics, continued)

“Reality” isn’t everything.
Challenge it.


(Seasonal amnesia.)

Sunburn. Black flies. Ant hills.


(the center)

Last night, when faced with the astonishing talent of a 16 year-old, I felt the despair of the ordinary. What is the point for the rest of us? How can we bear our generic gifts in the face of such greatness? But then I saw the earnest face of the cellist, and the violinist, and the percussionist, along with the multitudes in the chorus, and the rapt attention of the listeners around me, and I knew. Our work is to stand in the center of our own lives. And celebrate that too.



I lost my diamond earring yesterday. I’ve worn the pair for more than 30 years. In the shower. In the ocean. Over seas. Over night. Dancing. At my wedding. At yours. During labor. During loss. In the garden. In the woods. It’s amazing how something so small can topple something so large as identity. If the diamond is found, what a delight. If it isn’t, what a meditation. Equally profound.



every so often, if i stay put, i’ll slip into that soft space–of grace–sensing the gentle breeze, the promise of summer’s pace, the mating duets of birds, the chorus of peepers across the pond, the company of my people, the caress of stillness and place…



first sign of leafing revealed at dusk in the stencil of the cherry tree against a robin egg sky


(a robin’s meditation)

step, step, step, pause…
step, step, step, pause…
consider, contemplate, commune.

there is more to life than activity.


Tuesdays in May

Tuesdays in May

a spring offering for women in southern vermont & surrounding areas…

Kelly & Lila

Music & Meditation
Consciously crafted through the chakras
To move & soothe you–body, mind & soul.


Discover lightness of being
Experience deeper joy & self-regard
Move into life with greater ease

With a one-of-a-kind fitness experience
Let Your Yoga Dance
Tuesdays in May at the Marlboro Elementary School
on Route 9 in Marlboro, Vermont
6:00 pm
(no class 5/17)

4–90 minute sessions for $49.
Drop-in $15.

Dress to move, dance barefoot, bring a mat & water bottle.
Gently-guided. Skill & experience not remotely relevant.
(If you can take a brisk walk, you’ve got this.)

“The music ROCKS!”

“OMG! I can’t believe how much fun this is!”

“I love it!!! Every time!!

“It’s more than a workout–it’s spiritual grounding and a chance to experience true freedom. It’s exactly what you need each and every moment.”

“I feel lighter and uplifted!”

“I love feeling the music through my body.”

“It was easy…

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