heat wave

heat wave

Bird Egg Feather Nest, Maryjo Koch

Tiny chirps let us know that the eggs in the nest above our light fixture have hatched,
and so this year, having failed yet again to prevent her nesting there,
we re-arrange our tiny porch to better accommodate feeding & flight,
which is to say: poop;
while eagerly awaiting the sight of little heads popping up from her moss wrapped nest.

She comes every year.
Last June Casey saw each one of her chicks take flight.
She’s been my steady companion this cold spring–flying out each time I arrive home or depart,
and then as the weather warmed, flying back and forth to the nest as I watched from the kitchen, fixing meals for my family, while she fed hers.

Last week I introduced her to a friend.
We’re all Mamas after all.

But then a day went by, and I realized I hadn’t seen her, and then another, and I was almost certain I hadn’t, so this morning, I asked Casey to check.

And all the little chicks are dead.

There won’t be poop all over our porch after all.

june 2017, marlboro, vt

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Resenting Summer

Resenting Summer


This year I decided or defaulted into resenting summer’s approach, which has long been my favorite time of year (ever since marriage & motherhood confined me to a state where the season of life is so absurdly short.)

So that even as I returned to my summer pleasure palace–South Pond–I resented it:

“Oh, this again…”

Which was a terrifying or at least a largely alarming state of mind, particularly after such a protracted winter.

“Had South Pond changed?
Had I?
Was this what it was to age?”

But even in my sourness, there was suspicion.

Was I simply protecting my heart?
Had I lost the capacity to love in the face of inevitable loss?

YES! That was it!

I couldn’t bear another summer ending.
And so I wouldn’t love it.
But then May came, and even with all its cold rain, it wooed me.
And then June, not even through, was sweeping me off my feet.

So that I’m pretty sure that I’m falling in love again, in spite of myself, because this morning when I woke, in yet another dour middle-aged mood, I looked across the room and thought:

“Wow!
Look how beautiful my blow dryer.
I’m gonna take a photo of it in this morning light
and share it on Instagram”

Crap.

Farewell September, Welcome Autumn…

Farewell September, Welcome Autumn…


September 29

The grass is so green, it’s hard to imagine it any other way.

September 28

Last week it was like Where’s Waldo.
Today, it’s like heads in the back row.
Peeking through.
Soon to be center stage.

#red

September 18

the sound of an early rain on the leaves
the first breath of air through the trees
the union of self and sound and air and ease
without doors or windows or shoes or sleeves

#savoring

September 7th

August is the month that brought so much harvest into my life. My beloved, both of our sons, even these Green Mountains, upon which a soft rain falls, this first week of September–my grieving week–spinning a cocoon of communion–inside the arms of all those Goddesses of compassion–Mary, Tara, Kuan Yin–and all those who plumb the depths of what it is to be human.To love.To lose.To love again.

September 6th

best source of white twinkle lights?
indoor/outdoor
solar?

Late August

Maine is Vermont’s wilder cousin. I have one of those too. I adore her riveting company, but soon retreat to the familiarity of home where I romanticize her rough edges & salty sprays.

Mid-August

museums. movie theaters. malls.
blackberries. watermelon. cukes.
ponds. streams. seas. sprinklers. showers. ice. sweat.
left nostril breathing. curled tongue breathing. slow movements.
frozen treats.
rest.
spaciousness.

August morning

Wild berry scat
Path to the woods shower.

Early August

The older I get & the more I travel away from home, the more I realize what it is about this particular spot that suits me so well: S-p-a-c-i-o-u-s-n-e-s-s and the balancing embrace of the woods. The proximity of water. Still. Flowing. Fresh. Frozen. The rainfall. Lush. Moist. The shade. Secluded spaces. The tree to people ratio. The head space. The room to see and smell and feel.The light in the east and the south, the west and the north. Southern exposure, particularly come winter. Quiet. The call of the thrush. The hoot of the owl. The hush of snow.

Mid-July

oh, july! a night like summer.
cool shower under a rising moon.
bare bodies, even ours, fresh like dew.
the stone path, underfoot, still warm,
lit by lamps, fed by the sun.
the house, from the woods, aglow.

Early-July

It took me years to surrender. To allow and even welcome the sweltering heat. To know it as a gift. Fleeting in these mountain spaces so often filled with chill.

July morning

When I see a man
on his knees
in the garden
on a Sunday
morning…

No Virgins

No Virgins

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There were 20 minutes when no one was there.
Not on the beach.
Not in the water.
Not across the pond.

I strip down in an instant
and dive into the September waters
without compassion
and daringly continue out
toward our town
center–
the altar of summer.

I lift myself onto the dock
and lie there
under the sun,
one middle-aged breast
deflating to each side.
No virgin offering
to this lasting day of summer.

And before I hear a car door slam
or the crunch of a stick underfoot,
I slip off the dock
and make my way back through the cool water to the shore.

I wrap myself in a towel,
and stand at the water’s edge
to let the sun kiss my face,
in communion with the stillness
of water
of Everything.

Just then, a head appears,
out of the soft ripples I left behind.
It’s the one we’ve watched grow from a chick on his mother’s back
to being left behind by the mating pair to come of age on his own.

The loon and I regard one another,
and then he dives under the water again,
and I sit down with a book.

Russ and Andi appear
in their beach chairs
behind me
in the grass.

And together
we hold the silence
of the eternal moment…
of this summer day

Until we’re startled by a flock of geese
who lift from the banks
and swoop across our view,
and circle the pond
and rise over the mountains

Heading south.

~


Vacation, 2:30 am

Vacation, 2:30 am

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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,
millions
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
pain
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
ones
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.)

Summer’s Passing

Summer’s Passing

IMG_0235
3 Generations of the MacArthur Family

Once a year they come together
To say farewell to summer
The farmers and the teachers
The musicians and the healers.

They pretend it’s a celebration
Like some funerals are said to be
But those of us on this side of 50, know
That life is less a gathering, and more a letting go.

Only moments like this still into perfection
A constellation of MacArthurs brightens into view
Jason in the field
Robin beside the boys
John under the tent…
First his wife, then his children,
and now the grandchildren and great-grandchildren center stage.

The sound of their voices stirs a longing inside for all things eternal
The nursing mother
The father and son embrace
The nail pounding contest
The tea tent
Megan’s fair song.

As Dan’s familiar voice addresses the crowd
I feel a pang inside
For the preciousness of all things yet to pass.

Like these lasts drops of summer

With the poet’s words echoing in the fading light… 

I wish I understood the beauty
in leaves falling. To whom
are we beautiful as we go?

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Community Tug of War
Community Tug of War, 33rd Annual Marlboro Fair