Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moving around rocks.

You must
Slowly: tides and eddies
Your punctuation marks.

You think you know how to move around these rocks because you have done it before?
You were young then, and had no history of falls.
Remember how just last winter the sand shifts changed the landscape?
Those movements did not register on the Richter scale.

If you make yourself small, you too can crawl under the tide and
Bury yourself alive until the storm has passed.

Friday, September 23, 2011

NAKED steps.

I walk alone, most days.
One and twenty-thirty-forty-fifty-sixty-
seventy years living at the brink of the known universe.

If I drop my weight
I can bob on these waters for a while, and find a safer shore.

Monday, September 19, 2011


A morning walk on the beach. Water, rocks, pine trees. The waves and their sound lull me into peaceful strides, close enough to the water to feel the chill and the swoosh without changing my pace.

The rocks allow me to stop for a moment and breathe deeply.
A small summer creek winds around them before spilling into the ocean.
I can step here, and there, and my shoes will stay dry, I think.
Or, I can take my shoes off right here, and go barefoot.

I do. The sand is warmer than I anticipate. My toes are buried now and then. In some places, the wet slime brings another smile on my face,as I  remember a mud bath somewhere in a hot tub. Where was it, I ask my companion, when we decided to have mud baths?
He says, we never did!

I smile again. It must have been before the two of us, other times, other lives.
Before the walk is over, I'm all tired, all wet, my heels and soles have been treated to a great scuffing procedure, and I'm back in the wheel of life, hungry, wandering how far the restaurant is.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How can we live past today?

I still don't know exactly how Brian died,  and where, and why the whole thing happened.  I  think of what we have been told, and I don't know how to make sense of facts I don't have. I wish I were Matlock,  or Mike Hammer, because it makes no sense to me that this act took place at all.

(The investigation is still open. No trial dates have been set. The official death certificate says: "homicide", "battered by another".)

Brian was a peaceful man. His friends, all peaceful, thoughtful, engaged in living good, productive lives.
He was strong, tall and wiry, fit and energetic, taking up one sport after another,year in and year out.  Being a victim of a battery was not in his profile.

He had no need for possessions that cluttered his life. He biked to work, played basketball, tennis. He enjoyed the outdoors, and went camping every chance he had. He had just what he needed to live a great life: a wonderful job, a loving family, and recently, the love of his life, Janet, had accepted his marriage proposal. Two weeks earlier, when the two of them had visited us in Port Orford, Oregon, we had spoken about having a wedding at our lake house.

He had lived a frugal, thoughtful life, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity on weekends, or mentoring students, like the neighbor's son, or working on his house or car, or taking his dog Butters (short for Buttercup-as in The Princess Bride) to the ocean to swim.  Yes, that dog had been the reason he saved and  saved to buy a house in this economy, a house to nest in and build his future in - a cat Newkie now in our care, and Butters now in the neighbor's son's care.

He was most generous with his elderly parents. He called often, sometimes just to ask about a recipe he was whipping up. When he visited, a couple of times a year, he'd ask what needed to be done around the house. He couldn't just sit around. He and I would be pulling weeds,  planting, and he'd find something to be done, clean the gutters, trim trees, repair a hinge, replace light fixtures.

I see him everywhere. I look at young men now to see any resemblance of what mine was.
This week, during Cycle Oregon, I could see him riding from town to town, visiting the coast, stopping in Port Orford.

I plan my days, my outings, trying to avoid meeting people. Each look of grief on their faces melts my composure. I break into sobs and I'm back to square one.
When people ask ,how are you doing, they get a standard answer, Better.
We are not better.
We are not worse.
We are barely breathing.

Yet, yet, words and gestures of condolence are helping. We feel better, somehow.
Just a tiny tiny bit warmer.
And alive.

(Thank you for reading this. Thank you for your support.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Easy Greek Yogurt

This is the easiest thing to make in just a few steps, one pan and one thermometer. Cost? About one dollar for two-three cups of Greek-style yogurt. If you purchased the same in the store, expect to pay over $3.00.

Here is what you need:
One quart of milk
2T of yogurt mixed with 2T of milk

Step One:
Bring the milk to a boil and remove it from the heat source to cool to 100 degree.

Step Two:
When the milk has achieved the right temperature, mix in the yogurt you have mixed with milk. Cover the pot with towels and let it sit in a cooler overnight or 12 hours.

Step Three:
Refrigerate and use in your favorite recipe.

Mine? Fresh berries and a teaspoon of honey.
I make a batch every week. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Weight We Carry


You carried a weight
For many years. 
I thought,
put that weight down, put the bucket down,
you do not need to make a big fuss about such a little thing.

I remained silent, angry at
your blindness.

I carried a weight too-one you didn't see-
salty sadness of loss,
a world we stopped sharing.

I don’t know about your weight,
but I lost my roots, my branches
and my life force while you carried on
about your little bucket.

Your weight just slows you down.

Mine is about to kill me.