Thursday, March 31, 2016


I've paid bills since I was 19. It was kind of fun then - I had my parents behind me, and roommates, and it just seemed like an exercise in being grown-up. Apartment rent, utilities, phone. That was about it. There were only a few transient concerns about whether I had enough in the bank to pay the monthly obligations. It was thrilling to be so close to being grown-up.

Over forty years later, it is the last day of the month, and tomorrow I shall sit down and gather the rent, utilities, psuedo-utilities, cell-phone, car insurance, storage unit rent, and credit card bills together. It's a bit of a sweat, times are tight, and I worry for two days each month as I complete what sometimes seems more like an ordeal than a simple chore. Then, I live frugally, and I set aside financial worries for the rest of the month.

Twelve times a year for forty years. Twelve times a year for millions of people.

It could be better; it could be worse. We count our blessings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I was reading about trends in positive psychology today, and came upon a paragraph about hope therapy. What stuck in my mind was a tiny phrase: 'Hope buddy'. For some people, hope comes to life when a friend is sharing their exploration for hope.

The little phrase lead to all sorts of silvery threads and glow-in-the-dark thoughts. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


i like things
that flutter in the breeze
flags on a tall tall pole
wind socks
and Tibetan prayers
Mexican scissored
squares of paper
aspen leaves
whether green or gold.
i like the triangles of foil
strung above car sales lots
and lowering sails
on great tall ships
monarch butterflies
rise and fall
coasting on an autumn norther
but most pleasing of all
are memories of wandering
through my family's
sheets and shorts
and pillow slips
wee socks
and tee shirts
as i hung them on the line
sweet damp and cool
under the hot dry sky

Monday, March 28, 2016

Illness and injury are not pleasant experiences, yet sometimes they open us to other ways to experience strength and vitality, despite diminished physical wellness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

black & white

black office chair
black shelves
the light on the ceiling
is a quadrangle of white
shaped by the window frame
through which sun shines bright
black, white,
black, white
I look and I stare
the draw is
visually - magnetic
spiritually - charismatic
the appeal
of dark and light
in the absolute
of black and white

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The magnolia tree branch
lay in the road
its leaves glossy
and dense with green

though it was
newly disconnected
from roots,
from its tree,
the leaves stood alert
and cheerful
ready to embrace
the twists and turns
the new growth
or dry mulch ahead
in life

as though the future
holds nothing
but good
whatever shape
it might take

Monday, March 14, 2016


the dough
the moulah
the spinach
the cash
the bucks
the dollars
el dinero
the grand

money money money
we dig holes
we fill holes
all night
and all day
so we can
bring home
the bacon
bring home
the baht

Sunday, March 13, 2016

from Macbeth

from Act 1, Scene 6
by William Shakespeare


This guest of summer
The temple-haunting martlet does approve
By his loved mansionry that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
The air is delicate.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

earth layers

In science class in 7th grade, there was an image in a book of how something like a pipe could be inserted in the ground and then pulled up. The contents could then be analyzed. One could see the various layers of soils, clays, earth that lay below. Those layers in a way told the natural formative history of local lands, and gave information about nutrient content, acidity, density and water. This information could be used by farmers trying to determine what crops might fair best in this location. It might be used by investors and explorers seeking petroleum.

When we humans carry out major projects with huge machinery, and hollow out the land to great depths, I suppose we lose some of that ancient history. Sometimes we use such diggings as filler elsewhere. The land becomes more like rubble. While many wonderful plants and trees can indeed grow atop this jumbled material, something of the natural integrity of the land and the life it supported is lost.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Help a Suffering Elephant

Soak the elephant's front feet
in washtubs of very warm water
to which 1/2 cup of baking soda has been added.

Speak gently and confidently.

When the water has cooled to room temperature
take one foot at a time out of the water
to gently trim any broken nails or debris.

Wrap the foot in a soft towel.
When dry,
pull a really soft slipper sock
onto the foot.

Repeat this process
for the rear feet.

Monday, March 7, 2016

dish water roses

There is a detail from a piece of writing that has remained with me. Unfortunately, I don't recall if it was from a novel, biography, or perhaps a newspaper essay. The writer mentioned a rose bush, wild and gnarly, that was in their yard. The mom in the family had a habit of saving the rinse water after washing the dishes. She would carry the pan of water to the rose bush each day and empty it there. Though the area had experienced some very dry years, the rose bush thrived.

Friday, March 4, 2016

'Small sweat lodges were often made of mud and covered with mats and tree branches. Larger sweat lodges might be made of logs. In one kind of sweat lodge, the entrance was sealed from the outside and then someone poured water over hot rocks that had been placed on the floor [ground?]. This created steam, which caused the people in the sweat lodge to perspire. Sweat lodge ceremonies were designed to purify the body, cure illnesses, and influence spirits. Most sweat lodges were built near rivers so the people using them could jump into cool water after leaving the lodge.'

quoted from
Indians of the Northwest Coast and Plateau
World Book
a Scott Fetzer company

Thursday, March 3, 2016

u can dance

you can take lessons and learn to play the piano
&/or u can play the piano

you can study agriculture and learn about farming
&/or u can grow a garden

you can memorize prayers and learn to pray
&/or u can just pray

you can take ballet, tap, and square dance lessons
&/or u can dance

u can dance

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lyrics to the song 'Beautiful'
from Stephen Sondheim's 'Sunday in the Park with George'
(as printed in his book Look, I Made a Hat):


Old Lady

It keeps changing.
I see towers
Where there were trees.

Going. All the stillness,
The solitude,

All the time,
When things were beautiful...


All things are beautiful,
All trees, all towers,
That tower -
Beautiful, Mother,

A perfect tree.

Pretty isn't beautiful, Mother.
Pretty is what changes.
What the eye arranges
Is what is beautiful.

Old Lady



I'm changing.
You're changing.

Old Lady

It keeps fading...


I'll draw us now before we fade,

Old Lady

It keeps melting before our eyes.


You watch
While I revise the world.

Old Lady

As we sit here -
Quick, draw it all, Georgie!


Sundays -

Old Lady

As we look.



Old Lady

You make it beautiful.

Oh, Georgie, how I long for the old view.