Saturday, March 31, 2012

More of this, less of that...

( Brian's backyard, in the process of becoming. These are all volunteers, including children, busy doing something,  trimming, roto-tilling, etc. For this entire story, search posts from last summer. Here, the picture is just illustrative.)

Every project involves a clearing or destruction of the present status. In our enthusiasm for the new vision we have on paper, we become masters of our universe for a few days, weeks. We arrange our vision on paper; plot the work stages; identify the materials needed; identify the interventions from the professional crew or inspectors; plot the timeline and the cost and go at it.  The project is doable and everyone is on board!

The amount of joy, adrenalin, enthusiasm, and overall good feelings getting a project done for a cause you believe in surmounts any amount of pain, any amount of guilt, any amount of cost beyond the budget  you had anticipated.

But, how often does this happen? How often, in our daily lives, in our work lives, in raising our children, communicating with our partners, do we have an overall vision of the End Results? 

How many times we say things we don't mean. Offend or Neglect people? Say we support this cause, believe in this principle and then go off and do something that negates that principle?

In the big scheme of things we are all clogs in a machine; we work where the bottom line is profits for the stock owners. If the company could replace our work with a machine that will cost them less in the long run, they will.

How often do we even get into conversations about these topics?
Most of the time, our conversations are polite nonsense, lukewarm coffee served with spiceless cookies picked up at the closest convenient store.
We have given up being fully engaged in anything.

Is this how we thought our lives were going to be?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gathering places.

Gathering in the garden
(blog: Myfrenchcountryhome)
future front terrace vignette
(not yet)

These places are inviting, clamoring for guests and family.
What will always be missing? My people, people who have passed, people whose lives are too convoluted to make time to be here, people who live too far away.

The more I fix my nest, my garden, my spaces, the more I feel these losses. I will never have my mother, father, aunts, uncles, brothers, cousins, people I grew up with, people I wish I could be with.
My eldest son in California is unable to travel long distances, and he too will never be here.
My other son died a few months ago. He loved this place. He came up to Oregon as often as he could.
The last time he was here he borrowed a tiller, took it apart and stuffed it in the trunk of his car. He had ideas about renovating his back yard. ( You might remember that his friends made that possible for his memorial.)

Notice how this space is dog-friendly. Butters and Walrus (Brian's and Pia's dogs, respectively) would  be gathering under the table, waiting for treats.

Yet, I continue to dream, to gather in these places.
 I continue to live.
I breathe deeply and carry on.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strings, particles, molecules.

At the edge of something,
a funny taste in the mouth
and a dull sense of unrest
blooming out of proportion,
I drive myself to the emergency room.

I need to
banish the culprit,
stuff it with pills,
give it some attention.

I used to be in charge of big problems
multi-tasked for hours,
wrote multi-paged
in different colors
in different fonts
illuminated by real lazer beams
the likes of which found only in The Vatican!

Now, this little-bitty twisty toe
a tiny molecule of it, actually, is
sending nasty messages to all my particles
all I have been,
all I could be.
I'm waiting to be called in
to be waited on
and then, sent home with a tiny vial of

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Small town.

This is the door to my cottage in a small sea town in the Northwest.  To reach it, you have to go over a bridge of sorts, as the house sits above street level. At night, the bridge is lighted from below! A grand entry for a modest cottage. Off this bridge, before you reach the street, you travel on pea gravel, watching your step lest you step on deer poop.

Deer roam freely, and often stop by this camellia bush for breakfast.

This picture was taken a while back, around Halloween. The pumpkins didn't invite people up to the house; the footbridge did, and does, every single day. And this cranberry door.
Just a few years ago I wouldn't have picked cranberry for my front door, a color that demands attention. I had doors that remained closed to the world. I didn't want anyone to case the place and return to rob my house.

There is a certain attitude about living in rural areas. Doors remain unlocked. Everyone's pet is known to everyone else.  And people's stories are shared easily.

All last week, we had to be out of town on medical needs. People took turns visiting our cat, clearing the garbage bin, picking up papers, looking out for any intrusion. I didn't even had to ask!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

just a hopscotch

A dream 
-a hopscotch game-
over-grown tendrils
 of jumbled experiences  
hidden desires
and a figure in a black robe chasing you into a cave.

(photo credits:
(one of my favorite landscape designer)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Holding for dear life.

I was never sure
what to do
whom to tell
what to say, or 
if I should have pulled the emergency bell
on those days
when someone got too close for comfort
on the bus.

The ride itself wasn't scary
but the passengers 
smelled of places I had never been to
eating fruit I didn't recognize
taking more space than was allowed.

What was a simple exercise
going to and from school
into something else 
for a girl like me, in a uniform
that spelled the school name and its address. 

Sitting straight and tall
I memorized the stops
to liberty
holding tightly to the emergency string
the only thing between me and alien prowlers.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


What came before us, will be here after us, 
dust mingling with dust, across oceans, 
all  energy of the universe,
all grains of sand, 
kicking up other grains.

Why do I still feel  a longing 
that burns my entrails
after all these months?

 Will a hint of recognition, a face in the crowd
that looks like his face
satisfy my longing?

Will a monument?

Tears continue to
etch my face. 

The universe can wait, they write. The universe doesn't need your dust.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A stop for women's rights.

I feel sick to my stomach.
It can't be just me here,
fuming at the radio host,
you know the one
talking about me
the one who doesn't even know me,
and in That Tone!

Doesn't he have a mother or wife,
women in his life to teach him
to hold his thoughts until they make sense?
Even just for a moment?
To review the facts of life,
the rudiments of chemistry
Even just
even for a minute?

What was he thinking?

What makes me want to vomit,
wait, I have to stop the car
and do this properly,
shout it out to the rest of
the frightened motorists
as I propel the vomit
of my words
on the side of the road.

"You know shit!!!!!!!"

I feel better already.

This bile of mine has not known
such circumstances before.
Even in the middle ages!

I stopped, got out of traffic, put the window down, threw up on the side of the road where my mess could be expelled and not bother anybody. After all, I'm lady!

There now, couldn't he have been a gentleman?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'll know when...

So many roads i've not taken
so many bitter greens i've avoided
though restless  
and hungry
 i stayed on the road
that took me home
every night
to a fire burning steady 
a full refrigerator.
Boots and wallet, though, i've always kept by the door
for the day
would come
and i'd take that other road i'd mapped for such occasion.