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

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.


Where I belong

Where I belong

img_2220The Co-op is quiet this morning; the town itself demure–wet and waiting–for spring.

The ice spitting from the sky before dawn was the first sign that the winter was willing to surrender, something, before April.

I step through the tiny glistening shards as I cross the parking lot, thinking the day dark and heavy, just as the first flock of geese flies overhead, announcing its return.

The regulars are waiting. Mostly men. Mostly older men. Like an Italian piazza. They talk politics, instead of bocce ball, because this is Brattleboro. One has a wild, silvery beard and could be in Russia, playing chess. Talking treason. Instead he is running for office. Asking for signatures. Interrupting his companions’ reading of the cafe copies of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

There are 8 men now, some a bit younger, one on a computer with headphones, smiling. A single, middle-aged woman unpacks her morning pills, her breakfast, her book.

“It’s like we are home,” says the cafe attendant, as I step up to the sink to wash my dishes. “We all know each other. It’s the way it should be.”

I don’t know any of them, really, but I know their faces, and their smiles, and their bad days. I join them in their morning ritual, a few times a month, when I’m needing an escape from working on the hill, where I live, encrusted in snow.

The mountain across the river is our steady companion, in every season. The Co-op itself sits beside a brook that runs into that river. The black, grated iron along its banks defines and holds the space we occupy: captures our silent gaze, keeps us safe, serves as a leaning place for children tossing pebbles.

As we crest 9:00 am, the cafe empties and fills, new faces, a few women; and the traffic across the bridge and up the main thoroughfare picks up to a hum to fill in everything in between.

A father and son cross the street at the light, beside the tall amber grasses at the corner, which some kind souls planted to remind us that there are other colors coming even when the world has been monochrome for so long.

It is this time each year, March, when I seriously consider moving; but this morning I’m right where I belong.