Tuesday, May 31, 2016

noble fly

Once upon a time, there was a noble fly. His name was Barney. Barney was a magnificent creature, a quarter inch long, with transparent wings that glittered in sunlight. He could fly up. He could fly down. He could fly all around. His eyes had many, many facets and he could see almost everything in all directions around him. His reflexes were such that if danger approached, like the tongue of a frog, he was up and gone before the frog could catch him. He groomed himself while perched on a twig, and liked to fly to flowers, and walk - he had six feet! - deep into the tunnel inside to find nectar.

One day, he was perched on a box at an airport and before he knew it, he and the box were loaded into the cabin of a spaceship. There was big noise and he was rattled and confused and so kept very still atop the box. When the ship landed, he flew around the cabin and through a very big tunnel.  Nothing seemed quite normal.  That's because the noble earth fly was now on the moon...

Saturday, May 28, 2016


The past shifts just as the future shifts - according to what we're doing now, in the present.

Friday, May 27, 2016


Yoga teacher Kathleen Douglas ended each class with these words:

'May you be happy, healthy, and whole. Namaste!'

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lima beans taste fine right out of the can.

Our mother, who called them 'butter beans', had a way of preparing them, though, that enhanced their flavor and texture.


1 can of lima beans
1 large pat of butter
a pinch of salt and black pepper

Open the can with a can opener, leaving the lid partly attached. Drain about a third of the liquid. (This will not be used in the preparation.) Pour the rest of the liqid into a saucepan. Add the butter, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for about ten minutes, permitting the liquid to simmer. Stir occasionally. Add the lima beans, and heat another fifteen or twenty minutes. Stir occasionally. The lima beans become tender, and the liquid thickens to a gravy-like consistency.

If you like, serve with mashed potatoes or corn bread.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bats, mice, kids, dromedaries,
woodpeckers, squirrels,
and turtles eat berries.
Moose, foxes, bears, kangaroos,
raccoons and butterflies
eat berries, too.
Rain falls
and sun shines down -
the earth is crumbly
black and divine.
On land and near creeks
where lawn mowers stall
berries grow wild
and spread to feed all.
Strawberries and blackberries
on angel food cake
a heavenly feast
so simple to make.

Monday, May 23, 2016

'I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the colour and fragrance of a flower - the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.'  

Helen Keller

Saturday, May 21, 2016

chewing cane

During the 1960s, come fall in south Louisiana, on two-lane country roads, you might come upon open trucks filled with sweet potatoes or filled with sugar cane rattling to processing plants. Sometimes, near our house, a stick of sugar cane could be found at the edge of the road. At the local A&P grocery store, they sold sticks of cane, perhaps 8 inches long. We would take a stick of cane, and our mother or father would peel off some of the hard exterior. We then could chew on the moist tough sweet interior, and spit out the fiber when finished.

Friday, May 20, 2016


My First Book of Knots by Berndt Sundsten and Jan Jager contains the following little ditty to remember how to tie a basic knot called the bowline.

'A field mouse comes out of its hole, runs around the tree, and then goes back into its hole.'

There's a bit of information on the fisherman's knot as well.

'It's said that sailors used to send a thin string or silk ribbon with this knot to their girlfriends to see if they were still in love with and loyal to them. If the knot came back properly set, everything was as it should be. If not, then things were over.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


If you happen to be vegetarian, and you keep a small farm, what would happen if a friend contributed a piglet to your family? We know about bacon and ham, but what would the pig offer in a barnyard that does not prepare animals for the butcher?

Pigs have a reputation for being quietly wise. They have a most acute sense of smell. This makes sense given that in the wild, animals in the pig family search for tasty roots and fungi with their flat noses close to the ground. They are known to be helpful to humans in locating wild truffles in the woods.

I don't know much about pigs (or hogs, or boars), so I don't know the answer to my questions. Would a pig (a mammal like dogs, cats and humans) make a good friend? Would the domesticated pig we know today survive in the wild?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


i won't describe the moon - go look yourself today or night!
i won't write about bees and flowers - go listen, go see!
i won't write about wine - go have a sip, go sniff and taste!
i won't transform croaking frogs into words - go outside and hear!
i won't describe the wonder of a hug - may you be hugged

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

As a kid in Louisiana, I got to see fields of green cane, blowing in the breeze. Dairies and rice fields were not far from our home. It wasn't very hard to find corn, sweet potatoes, cotton, tomatoes, figs, or pecans. 

I've made several trips to Florida in my life, and seen groves of oranges. In eastern Washington state, I saw miles of wheat fields in what was called the Palouse.

In central Texas, I discovered fields of peaches and grapes.

Of late, I've wondered about foods and beverages I enjoy, but know little about. I've never seen a coffee tree, nor tea leaves growing. I've never seen an olive tree.

Monday, May 16, 2016

3 sparrow poems


the library is quiet
so quiet
hear sparrows
sweetly sing


hops through
clothing store door,
pauses, head tilted.
hear cashier sing


library's quiet -
cell phones, computers
hear sparrows
sweetly sing

happy a.i.

Friday, May 13, 2016

As a relatively new psychotherapist, I used to think about how I could help clients to spend their session with me in a most productive way. How could I shorten the gab and get to the heart of what was troubling them? With the passage of time, I came to realize it made no difference what a client brought up, whether it was what they had for breakfast or the major concerns in their world. If I listened, the big picture was evident no matter what subject matter was introduced, no matter how they spent their brief time with me. Sometimes, discussing breakfast was more effective than focusing on their troubling wounds.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Barbara Jordan

There is something auspicious
about sitting near
the Barbara Jordan statue
under the shady trees
on the campus
of University of Texas

her hands are on her hips.
i overhear
'you know she don't take no truck
from nobody'
and you can tell
that's truth
by her sturdy stance

she looks calm though
and wise as can be
and her words
on the plaque
burn like starlight
my liberty
my rights
my equality
and yours too

i tremble
just a little
as i walk near -
her faith, hope and charity
that confident
that present.
i walk away
in sweet air uplifted
her devotion to right
not wrong
that eternal

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

layered life

hermits like me
we waltz from dream to dream

the layers of life
i can see and hear
children rushing
from to to fro in the library
as i type

rise and fall
within my head
the talking heads
whether i participate
or no

banana tree leaves
shelter the shade below
nod, nuzzle, and wave
one to the other
weary of the heat

shadows expand and shrink
wrestle and laugh
on sidewalks and balconies.
they take shape and fade
like cloud pictures in the sky

Monday, May 9, 2016


When we are newborns, we gradually learn to distinguish the blur of colors and shapes around us, to recognize them as individual objects, as parents, as the doggy, as the blanket, as big sister, as the spoon. We learn to pay attention to the objects and individuals, and to somewhat ignore the shadows they cast as something intangible.  We learn the require less focused attention than the light reflected off the surrounding creatures and furniture and objects.

In my 60s, as I write in this blog I named 'the dark & the light', I've come to take more notice of shade. Perhaps we underestimate shadow.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

pat pat pat pat
the children's feet
scramble up and down
the stairs
- nearly two centuries ago -
of Longfellow's poem.
perhaps today
there are great great
great great
perhaps they can be heard
somewhere now
on somewhere stairs
their own
little feet
tumbling in abandon
making noise
making symphony
with ancient ancestors
who also live
still wild and child
their feet
still heard
in Longfellow's poem.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

process and product

I like to draw and write. I've completed poems, essays, short stories, children's books, a novel and a half, et cetera. I have framed some of the art I've created.

These days, I don't think so much about the end product. Even when I have no idea of what I want to draw or write, inking dots and penciling lines, perhaps in a rhythmic, repetetive way, helps me to break through the blocks, break through both on the paper and in life.
The daily process in itself - drawing, blogging - enriches my life. 
Some people live goal-oriented lives; some live fully within the daily details. Sometimes it's the end product that we strive for. Sometimes, it's the process, the everyday journey more than the destination, that keeps us whole and happy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.