Earth Day Affair

Earth Day Affair

I cozy up in the chair beside the woodstove,
a peppery mug of chai in my hand,
and turn to face out the French doors,
toward the promise of spring
Because promise
is all we have
in these mountains
While the valley below swoons with bloom.

I don’t mean to rhyme, but even without sun,
the mid-day light on this hill beckons;
the grass almost greening;
the bulbs almost bursting;
But the branches
Oh those branches!
Weary with waiting
Darkened with rain
Empty and foreboding.

But wait, what’s that I see?
Faint, so very faint,
but definitely something other
than brown or gray or tiresome Evergreen.

Poetry comes to my lips,
but before I can grab a pen to put down the words I say aloud,
and as if my voice is an invocation
I hear the call of the geese
and look toward the pond
and watch them fly overhead.

Maybe it was the tick of the woodstove
or the soup in the pot
that clouded my vision;
Or perhaps:
the first blush of spring
in the mountains
is happening at this very moment
for all those, like me, who sit still and see.

April 22, 2017
MacArthur Road
Marlboro, Vermont

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Sign of Spring remembered

Sign of Spring remembered

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

I miss the Reading Lady on Williston–that tiny road on the back side of town.
She was my favorite sign of spring.
Appearing there on the porch of her aging Victorian.
Layers shed beneath gingerbread lattice
While the season unfolded into summer.
First a cup of tea and a blanket.
Then a glass of lemonade and a sun hat.
And always a book (and reading glasses.)
Well into autumn.
Right there on the corner as I drove by.
Did she move away or worse–pass away?
I like to imagine her on the coast of Maine.
Overlooking the ocean or perhaps beside a quiet bay.
Waves lapping at the dock
Where she reads
And reads
And reads
While the world
Spins
A bit slower
Around her.

~

more on the gift of a woman’s presence in Vermont:
The Flower Lady

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.

~


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.

Fireflies!

~
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!

Cousins

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.)

#Bernie

~

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:
Shame.
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.
#‎TeacherAppreciationDay‬‪#‎Unmasked‬

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.

#‎PatriarchalGoddessInitiation‬

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?

April Notes

April Notes

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

(gift)

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.

~

(family)

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

~

(Impressionism)

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)

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~

(politics)

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.

~

(identity)

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.

~

(stillness)

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…

~

(unfurling)

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.

~