“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


this is usually the day i think about where i stood all year.

this year, i think i won't.
i've done so much of that already this month.
this year, i think i will just be easy with this new year coming in.
feet up, kicked back,
i will leave the door open.

the wind is up outside,
a swirling dervish of leaves circled by my door a few moments ago,
and those leaves seemed happy.
a sign.  an omen.
i will take it.



she taught me everything i know & vice versa

some sleight of hand for you today.
i'm not here.
today i'm humbled and honored to be featured at gigi's place,
the magpie's fancy,
talking about legacies and magic
and why i do what i do.

she has a beautiful place
and is a wonderful woman and wonderful writer,
and did i mention how honored i feel?
we'd love it if you stopped by.
just click your heels together 3 times right here.



2011: Soften

it is the day after the day after christmas and i awake wanting life in pinks and oranges, wanting life softer than it has been, wanting valentine hearts hanging from the ceiling on ribbons, wanting open windows and whimsy and a warm wind blowing across my face, a cool breeze come summertime. 2010 is leaving and i feel sadness at its passing, this year that took maggie with it; i look back and see patterns in photographs and words, indeed i saw them emerge as the year progressed, patterns of lace and shadows, of things not quite hidden, of things not quite clear, not quite so sure. pictures of maybe. words fell around me and i let them lay, walked barefoot across their sounds, felt their tickles and kisses; there were days i lay next to them and found my name spelled with diamonds in my dreams, and there were nights they held nothing but dust. they were words of colors ~ clementine, tangerine, peppermint ~ and i saw them everywhere. this morning the words are pink tinsel and sour cherries, and they are more than the lingering taste in my mouth or the view from my couch; they are words that shimmer, words that quiver with joy and celebration, however small the confetti that is thrown may be.

these images and words have appeared on their own, pieces of magic slipping in through open windows and the broken places in my heart, and i have watched them in silence, have let them stay, have bid them welcome.  i have painted walls the color of butter and discovered a place of magic under the emma tree, a place for small photographs of imperfection.  it is a new place on my map, and i am still the navigator of my life.

and it leads me to my word for 2011.

in 2009 i chose a verb - unfurl - and unfurl i did.  the ribbon that wound me so tightly at last began to loosen and i unfurled my way across the months, across the death of a dear friend, across the terminal diagnosis of maggie the cat, and it was the unfurling that saved me.  i watched myself stop trying so hard, though i still clung too tightly to rules and worries and feelings that i should be more like everyone else.  the unfurling continues, the ribbon is still with me, but it is beautifully ragged and torn and it flutters in the wind.  almost free.

last year, another verb found me.  navigate.  to find my way further into my own life, to understand where i stood, even though a storm may have tossed me there.  i plotted my own course, and began my own map, and that map is with me still.  always. it is full of unexpected places and it is stained with tears; trees have fallen across my road and i have had to climb them to keep going,  there have been floods and friends left behind and a cat with me now only in my heart.  the road continues and i am stronger, but i have softened as i walked unknown places, and that softening leads me to 2011.  softening has been the sky under which all those patterns i spoke of earlier bloomed. 

and so, soften it is.  this word found me months ago, and allowed me to cry.  it allowed me to play.  it pushed back at the perfectionism i struggle with daily.  it showed me things i might have missed a few years ago.  it put a cellphone camera in my hand and said forget about f-stops for a while.  go.  play.  see.  the image above is the shadow of 2 parking meters, quickly shot from a moving car - not a cell phone image, but i have learned to just shoot - mid afternoon, overexposed.  i saw the heart and had a second.

softening will include many things. it will include color and play and out of focus,  it will include silliness and hurt and opening my heart and pain.  i expect there to be blisters.

i will take it all. 



day 25: and so this is christmas

me too.

and so we are done.
christmas is here.

when i began my christmas advent calendar, playing along with graciel's suggestion, it was important to me to keep it current.  to not go back and use older images, to stay in this christmas moment.  it was just for me, something i did for myself, and i mostly succeeded, if you don't count that sly peeping angel of emma's.  i went out for a walk this morning, thinking to take christmas pictures, but it was a shorter walk than i'd planned, it being much colder than i'd anticipated, and i took few images.  i mostly kept pulling my sweater tighter around me and wishing the wind wasn't blowing in my face as i turned toward home; those of you who live where it is cold and snowy will laugh - i understand and i laugh right along with you, but nonetheless, i was done with the outdoors unless i bundled up more.  instead i chose to drive around and look for something cheery, but it is a gray day and though i did find myself on harmony street several times, a good sign if you pay attention to the word and ignore the street, i finally just headed on to the business and lilycat and some warmth.  hence this image.

and so christmas is she and i, and a heater next to my feet, the central heat on a timer that lets the weekend air go quite cool; i keep getting up and overriding it when it gets too cool - i have no idea how to totally change it - and then i am back with lily and we are kindling, which is my new verb for reading from my kindle, which sounds especially nice with coldness outside.  we are almost through the land of the blue flower and we are waiting for the ever wonderful.  the phone is mostly silent and downtown is deserted. 



advent day 24: christmas eve

silent night.

here is where tonight will become christmas.
when i leave my mother's house,
it will begin.

the noise, the hurry, the scurry,
the wrapping, the worry,
the parades and presents
and finding a parking place
will be behind me,
and the truth is, for me,
they are not christmas.
they are the leading up to.

tonight there will be silence and christmas lights
and lily and i will nestle 'neath the emma tree
and christmas will come.

there will be church bells at midnight.



advent day 23: hidden gifts

christmas is this close.

i still have gifts to buy,
but the agonizing has stopped;
they will come with love from me
and i think that will be enough. 



advent day 22: zen & the art of my landlord's christmas tree

i love the not trying so hard of this tree.
how perfect that makes it.
let's string some lights, someone said,
and they did.

i am reminded of my landlord's christmas trees ~
through the years both single & married.
never in a hurry to get one up,
never a bought one,
he who owns wooded property.
it is always almost a charlie brown tree,
but not really.
not quite.
it has driven girlfriends and his daughter
and wives crazy,
though i think the lovely, lovely katie has come to like it.
it is strung with those old colored lights i remember from childhood,
homemade tin ornaments,
and when you step into the house it feels like christmas.
there is the perfect fall of sunlight from the back windows
and the gifts under the tree aren't wrapped in matchymatchy paper,
and it feels relaxed.
i have always laughed and sympathized with the women
who wanted it flocked,
the lights all one color,
the ornaments to match,
a theme.
i understood.
but secretly,
or maybe not so secretly,
i have always liked it.
every year.

i like the space between branches,
the light around the lights,
the smell,
the looseness,
the not trying so hard.
i like the ease of it.
it feels the way christmas should.
it feels like santa might be stopping by.



advent day 21: it was a hide and seek moon

behind the clouds, now i see you, now i don't.  the night was warm and windy windy windy and i'd fallen asleep at work, lilycat and i snuggled on the couch, santa could've snuck in and we'd have been none the wiser, but on second thought, he didn't have to.  our gift was outside; it tapped me on the shoulder about half past midnight and i was awake, afraid it was later, afraid the eclipse had passed me by, but it had just begun its age old dance with the earth, just beginning to darken. 

at home i stood in the front yard with my face turned upwards.  namaste.  it felt necessary to pay my respects.  clouds that seemed treetop high flew past, thin, wispy, the moon quite visible, and when the night sky flew by it too seemed to be great smoky masses of clouds until the stars and moon reappeared in its midst, hard and sharp and clear against the darkness.  the moon continued to disappear, continued to play hide and seek, a red glow always giving it away; the wind stayed strong and the night was warm and i stood in pajama bottoms, flipflops and long sleeves and felt a part of it all, felt it wash over me, said a thank you.  at the very end, the moon disappeared behind the thick white clouds and was gone. how perfectly imperfect a night ~ the moon, wind and clouds as performance art.  a gift with no bow to untie. 

a welcome to winter, here at last.
the days begin to lengthen. 
joy to the world.



advent day 19: pool as sky as soul as journey

this could be the night sky, that darkness a hill.
let's pretend it is.

let's pretend it is full of the magic of the week that lies before us,
the winter solstice,
the lunar eclipse,
christmas eve,
christmas itself. 
let's fall in,
dive in,
not just one toe in,
not keeping our hair dry,
but let's go all the way under and open our eyes. 
let the magic and the quiet surround us
and see what those christmas lights look like from down here. 
let's see if we can see the stars.



advent night 18: the christmas rabbit hole

today i am the white rabbit,
i'm late, i'm late,
but into the christmas rabbit hole at last.

it is quite an enchanting fall.

there are dark chocolate santas with peppermint bellies
and stars frosted white with white sugar sprinkles.
there is a movie of india,
a song of autumn,
tangerines and pineapples
and the scent of green tea.
there are puppies all glittered,
and kittens all sleeping,
and heart shaped marshmallows
waiting for hot chocolate to be poured.
there are rolls of wrapping paper
and christmas cards yet to be addressed,
and ribbon unfurling into the darkness below me,
streams of white and sage and silver
tickling my toes as i tumble ever on.

there will be tea waiting at the end,
no matter how late i am,
in a blue china cup
on which tiny painted monkeys
scamper up tiny painted candy canes,
and christmas carols will sing me to sleep.

it is quite an enchanting fall.



advent day 17: a creek runs through it

as darkness begins to fall,
and christmas moves closer.

i see this every night.
one house down,
the view from the end of the driveway.

and you wonder why i believe?
this neighborhood is magic and holds me still.



advent day 16: a silent jingle bell

the front door jingle bell at work is officially off duty until christmas.
it will still jingle,
we will be in and out on no particular schedule,
and lilycat will be kept company,
but officially?
closed until after santa.


and on this -
the first day of nothingness -
i give in at last to the exhaustion,
the achiness,
the teariness,
the blues.
i give in and throw some laundry in the washer
and breathe deep breaths
and sit.
in a moment or two, i will head out the door;
there is a party tonight
and paper whites seem the perfect gift
and the perfect excuse to visit my favorite garden,
wander among the christmas flowers
and christmas music
and listen to the wind chimes i so covet.
i admit it.

tomorrow, the plumber,
and thankfulness for people who are really gifts.
thank god for plumbers
and mechanics
and chiropractors
and masseuses
and ups delivery persons
and druggists
and bakers
and candlestick makers.
thank god.
and gas station attendants
and florists
and mothers
and dogwalkers
and people on the end of the phone when you need to talk
and librarians
and cashiers you can barely see,
way down there at the far end of the line,
their day seemingly never ending.

merry christmas to all of you still in the craziness.



advent evening 15: the stars are falling

the wind was up today
and stars were falling from the trees.

tonight there are moon cookies, sugar sprinkled,
the songs of christmas,
and gifts piled in brown boxes waiting to be wrapped.

i will tuck in a few stars.



advent day 14: zen christmas tree

10 days until christmas eve.
i am so not ready.
at least in the have you bought/made all your gifts yet? 
(in my case, bought.)

it is what it is, though.
a little christmas zen for you.



advent evening 13: christmas lights = love

how cool is this?

hand held waaaay too long exposure
of the emma tree
in the reflection of the window across the street.
waaaaay too long.
i almost deleted it.
but then i saw all those little hearts.
a little christmas love
blowing in with the cold air ~
i could hear leaves skittering down the street behind me;
it was cold
and it was windy
and i'd left my car door open
and diana krall was once again singing on the stereo
(i haven't changed christmas music yet);
so nice to be on a deserted downtown street
with just the wind and the lights and the coming of christmas
for company.



advent day 12: christmas, dancing in pink jingle shoes

a piece of ribbon hangs from a branch of the emma tree,
the ribbon that once held a star. 

ribbon, cellphone, runaway star.
pink photo filter.
if only shopping were this easy.

i remind myself of the time we'd worked triple hard,
no extra time to be found,
no gifts bought till the afternoon of christmas eve,
and all was calm.
we went to one store and found everything we needed
and no crowds.

i remind myself to enjoy these days.
to slow down,
that after midweek i will have more free time.
there is a christmas party thursday night ~
the invitation says cocktails & hors d'oeuvres & rsvp
and it makes me giggle,
makes me feel i am not that much of adult,
makes me feel i need a new pair of shoes.
pink, with bows.

the kind of shoes christmas would wear.
she will be there, you know,
with a jingle in her step.



advent evening 11: my neighborhood. saturday.

saturday morning and the sun is blinking sleepy eyes.  sunshine, shade, shadow, sunshine, shade, sunshine, sparkles of sunlight on christmas tinsel, shade again, then shadows, blink, blink, blink again.  the trees are showing their bones and they are sketched in spirals; the neighborhood is all a-spiraled; the winding staircase, the pear tree echoing those circles; the ginkgo across the street is a pale golden sparkler, twirling against the green house behind it, the house that once was mary's.  the japanese maple, long dead, its bones exposed to chilly air, is hung with sparkles and more spirals, man made this time, foil, catching the sunlight when they can, a substitute for the red it once wore for christmas.

saturday afternoon and the sun is out of bed and the wind is there to greet her.  the brick street shops are open housing for the holidays and there is lemon pound cake at katie's and the neighborhood church is decorated by the trees surrounding it, red leaves and green a celebration.  when i turn the corner next to the park, santa is in front of me, traffic slowed to a crawl as he passes and waves, and there is magic in the air, freefalling in figure eights, high-fiving the leaves as they fly by. 

saturday evening and the sun has gone to bed. 
christmas lights follow the path of the creek
and i decide shopping can wait.
it is night
and 'tis the season.


advent evening 10: christmas past and christmas found.

this is the younger emma's peeping angel ~
i've shown it before ~
her christmas card to my mother many years ago.
if you look closely,
you will see that the angel on the right has one eye open,
the sly thing.

i am now in bed, toes snuggled warm beneath a comforter, heater churning out heat, silence caressing my shoulders, snuggling against me, welcoming me home. an early movie tonight, harry potter and company helping us put to rest this rushed crazy week, and then we were off, the ever-wonderful michael headed down the highway, i moving towards home, driving the back streets, not quite sure where I was, but knowing the direction; not knowing, however, that i was about to wander into christmas past until it was too late and i had already done so. the dark streets, the wrong side of town where houses are still small, these houses that, in my childhood, were not the wrong side of town, just the poorer side ~ still just the poorer side deemed the wrong side ~ but nevermind because there i was, in the darkness of the streets surrounded by tiny houses and imperfect christmas decorations and suddenly i was home again, a child again. how lucky to have been a child then, when only a few people we knew were able to afford christmas lights on the outside, how lucky that those lights were just a few strings of color here and there across a window, outlining a door. how lucky to have found such magic in those tiny pieces of enchanted imperfection and how lucky to have found it again. how fabulously lucky. i drove tonight's tiny narrow streets, and remembered it all, heard the soft pitter-patter of reindeer on the roof, listened to my father’s explanation that one needn’t have a fireplace, that santa was magical and knew where we lived. remembered walking the neighborhood streets in the darkness and glow of what lights there were, drinking in the almost-here-ness of christmas, remembered the angel wings i wore in a church play. remembered it all.  felt my bones recall it all, my soul, my heart. i drove those backstreet wrong side of town streets and listened to i’m dreaming of a white christmas and winter wonderland and breathed, exhaled this hard week, out with the bad, and inhaled the crookedly strung shimmers of red and green and blue, in with the good.  christmas. found.

and so, for you and yours, i wish you ribbons that don't perfectly perfectly match the paper, i wish you some darkness still visible through all the lights, i wish you a tree that that wiggles and giggles and jingles a bell or two. i wish you mistakes and laughter and silliness and silent night

i also wish you a song to which you forget some of the words. 
you'll remember them later.



advent evening 9: tree, decorated

sometimes you get what you get.
the thing is,
this big old squooshy lollipop
gets soft when you leave it next to a window for too long.

i love the way it looks like it's leaning on its elbow,
all lazy & lollipopy,
while visions of sugarplums dance in its head.
which is where christmas really lives,
or really your heart, i guess.
the decorations don't matter,
the tree doesn't matter,
the twinkly lights don't matter.
ditto presents.

they all make us happy, of course,
of course!
but they don't make christmas christmas.

so for all of us who are busy busy busy right now
and not with the fun stuff,
and yes, michelle, i mean you,
it's okay if the spirit ain't moving you,
and it's okay if it doesn't.
some years are just that way.

and you know what?
christmas comes anyway.



advent evening 8: same star, take 2

because it is late,
and i am tired tired exhausted whew! tired,
and this is where i am,
working working to get it all done,
and because i really like the silly thing.

a present for me.
already unwrapped.



advent day 7: if we're lucky, the best laid plans fall apart

eventually this star fell. 

i had the best of plans, the image in my head, the day exhausting and coming to an early almost-end, or at least a long break, not wanting to write anything introspective, just wanting to open the door and let a little christmas in.  it was not the star i wanted, that star is at home and i am still not, and lily ignored me for a minute or two, but only a minute or two, until the star began to twirl and twist, and then, yes indeedy, it had her attention.

and this long rushrushrush day was suddenly a bit better. 
suddenly calmer. 

that star would not stay still no matter how much blue tape i used betwixt it and the wall and i just gave in.  to the twirling and staring and star-stalking and suddenly i was laughing and just taking pictures and christmas was in the door and the star was laughing too.  when it fell, tiny pieces from its smiling face landed on the carpet behind the couch, and i think i'll let them stay.  i bet they will shine when i'm not looking. 



reverb10: day 6. make. i don't cook, i don't sew

i don't a lot of things,
and if i paint a painting, i'm not sure i call that making something.

today's prompt from reverb10:
what was the last thing you made? what materials did you use?
is there something you want to make,
but you need to clear some time for it?

i make lots of sentences.
i string the words together
on whatever flimsy piece of string i can find,
and see if they hang correctly,
see if the string holds,
see how many more knots are needed.
i don't even care if those knots are visible.
cause really
i want you to run your hands over those words,
i want you to know the feel of those knots.
i want you to know the sentences are handmade, 
tied together with pieces of my heart
and my day
and my loves
and my not-so-loves.
i made sentences last night on a piece of paper
with pen and ink
and silence in the background.
i am making this one right now with noise
and a computer and a keyboard
and no capital letters
and interruptions
and a growly belly
and a chill in the air.

this one too.


advent day 6: the house that once was mary's

is strung with shadows and sparkle
and silently waiting for old saint nick.



advent day 5: silence

a space of silence here on sunday morning.
that place next to lily is mine.
last night we turned off the emma tree lights
and watched the wind in darkness.


reverb10: day 4. wonder. it was easy.

today's prompt?
how did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

and then i held out my hands to catch the magic.

i painted a blue room with golden honey,
i followed the owls,
i sat with the night
and slept with the moon
and walked barefoot on blossoms dropped from trees,
pink and white and lilac tickles.
i floated on water hot with the july sun,
danced under snowflakes blushed with the dawn,
laid my hand on the heart of a cat's last day.

i caught it all.


advent day 4: tinsel & twinkle & the toes of angels

saturday, and shopping must be done,
though i am far more interested in wrapping & tying bows,
and oohing & ahhing at the lights
and thinking about tonight and all the fun stuff.
this morning i am all about the twinkle in santa's eye
and the twinkle of fairy lights wrapped around trees, 
and i am giving in to the child who waited for christmas morning,
who knew there was magic afoot and above.
there will be sugar cookies with silver sprinkles
and christmas carols painted on wrapping paper
and singalongs in the car as i drive from town to town.
the angels are still up there,
their toes dangling just below the clouds;
i can see them swinging back & forth
as they gossip a bit of angel gossip,
their perfect pedicures sparkling in the sun.
they are letting me loose for the day.
keeping an eye on me, but letting me loose.
today is about the twinkle, the glitter, the sparkle,
and they understand,
tossing out a bit of angel dust to guide me.



reverb10: day 3. moment. secrets and small things and nothing new.

it has been a year of storms, both inside and out, a flood, snow more than once, hail, loss.  i have sat at this computer and began more than once to tell you about the night, to story you the storm surrounding me, to say once again listen to the train across the street and can you feel the trestle rumbling? can you feel the windows trembling? and sometimes i have told you those tales and sometimes i have not.  sometimes they stay unfinished, waiting for an ending, waiting for another storm with the right words.

i tell you so much.

and yet, there are things i do not. 

today's prompt from reverb10: 
pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year.
describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

i find that i cannot.  what i would tell you has been said, what i have kept for myself is mine.  i have searched the year and find nothing left.  so i will leave it mostly unspoken, but this:  it has been the small moments, the moments when the wind moves a certain way, the mornings i awaken to find maggie's blue flowers still blooming - now here at work, but still blooming when i walk in the door, the moments when silence at last drops onto the day, that i recall most clearly.  and it has been the small moments nestled inside the big events. the weight of maggie's body when i last held her against my stomach.  the world series, that last game, the swirl of red tshirts coloring the ballpark.  the coolness of the blanco river, the hard rocks hurtful under my feet.     

you've read it all, most of this is not new.  so let me tell you this moment.  it has been a warmish day, and my toes are bare as i sit in my office, and they are cold.  i turn the small under-the-desk heater on, then off, and when it is on it is the only sound except for my fingers against this keyboard.  my tongue is all a-tingle with granny smith apple tartness, but my belly is growling for something more.  lilycat is curled atop a white blanket - until i typed those words and now she is up, green eyes the color of those apples staring at me.  she can feel i am about to leave, and she is right.  the emma tree is all aglow in the front room and there is a jeep with half a tank of gas waiting for me outside.  diana krall will sing christmas carols to me on the way home; i will only listen to the slow ones.


advent day 3: and we sang feliz navida-a-ad, feliz navidad

from last night's christmas parade.
i have pictures of children and pictures of lights
and bands and floats and christmas cheer,
but this one makes me smile.
just for kids? says he,
bah humbug!
let me in there,
give me a santa cap,
one with a blinky light,
and let me march.
and so he did.
and merry christmas'd us.
there was candy tossed,
and down the street a block i could see the tops of red tents
against white lights which had settled in all the trees,
tents full of hot chocolate and other winter goodies;
i pocketed a candy cane
which broke when i kneeled to take a picture,
but still ~ just as good in pieces.

feliz navidad was playing in the background,
and we sang along.



reverb10: day 2. writing. and keeping it all.

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing
and can you eliminate it?

is this a trick question?, i thought.  cause everything i do contributes to my writing.  i mean everything.  if i'm sad, that's the contribution - did i not, and do i not still, write my way through grief and heartbreak?  the whole point of my writing is to spin little yarns about the everydayness of every day, whatever that everydayness may be.  i've typed words-a-plenty about having nothing to say.  so i was confused.  befuddled. wondered if perhaps the question was what do i not do each day, but that's just a rewording, just semantics, so nope, that couldn't be it.  i reread the question again and felt a bit of annoyance.  who does this guy think he is?, i wondered.  2nd day in, throwing out a question like this, a question that kinda sorta hints that if you're doing anything that doesn't serve the god of writing, you ain't got passion enough, commitment enough, to even consider being a writer, so off, scat, begone with you, but that brought me back to my original thought - everything contributes.  it all does.  even the parts that temporarily keep me from writing contribute in the long run, even the parts like i cannot get enough rest, i cannot sleep, i am exhausted, and is that what he is asking?  about those shut-down times?

i don't know.  i've thought about it all day, and i thought, like others, well, i have to work to find the time to write, but not really, not really, i have time, i do.  there are days i don't use it well, but he said each day.  i don't have time for everything every day, and sometimes that means that day i may not write, but if there is something else that needs to be done - a job, like many of you, with no one to fill in for me when i'm sick, or taking care of my mother, or laying on the damn couch watching hallmark channel movies one after the other because it's been a bad day and those mindless plots are the only thing that will stop the worry and overthinking and allow me to get up the next day and begin again - that something else that needs to be done is something that contributes to my writing.  i will find the words for it or not, but it contributes to who i am, and who i am sits in front of this computer most nights and writes, whether anyone sees it or not. 

"it all contributes, she says so arrogantly."  i know what you're thinking - you're aghast that i would take this approach.  who do i think i am?  markham?  hemingway?  t.r. by god pearson?  no.  not even close.  but here's the deal - even the things i would choose to eliminate contribute. 

so 2 days in.
 can reverb10 expel me? 

advent day 2: angels disguised as leaves

these ginkgo leaves flew past my camera yesterday morning
like angels in the sunshine.
that one on the right turning somersaults in her joyousness.


i am joining graciel in counting the days to christmas.
an advent calendar with little gifts.
yes, in addition to reverb10.
yes, a day late.
and yes, i am crazy.
i'm kind of liking it.



reverb10: day 1. one word. i will say surrender.

it has been a year when i could do nothing else, a year full of moments i was powerless to change, a year full of letting go and letting it happen because i am not god, no matter what buddha may say;  it is a year i said the buddha might be wrong.  i walked paths expected and paths unplanned, and i kept walking.  the longest path of all is one i still stand upon, but it is no longer uphill and i have caught my breath.  i can look back and see the other paths behind me - the digital roadways that trucked my words to a larger audience;  the charming pathways of cobblestone or brick or sand, bordered with flowers and birds and friends.  they offered tea and sympathy and blue cupcakes and celebrations and invitations and i held out my hands and took them.  those paths are the reason i won't say empty ~ 2010 has not been empty at all.  i was wrong for thinking so.

2011 will be softer.  this year's surrender decrees it.  my heart has been full of loss and joy and love and tears and grows softer daily.  not weak, but soft.  strong.  soft.  soft. 


from reverb10's annual event.
i am late in joining ~ i thought i wouldn't.
i said i wouldn't.



artful blogging

it's been a month and i just realized i haven't said anything.  i was waiting until the magazine hit the bookstores here in town, and that took a while, but it is here now, at last, and i am in it, which is a pretty wonderful thing.  in addition, i knew a lot of you already knew - you threw me a congratulations party, after all! - but i need to say something.  i need to say thank you to jennifer who asked if i'd be interested in being featured, and christen, and everyone at stampington for putting together such a gorgeous issue, and i need to say thank you to everyone of you all over again.

this is the magazine that made me believe.  this is the magazine i picked up one day (almost 3 years ago) and found hard to put down.  this is the magazine that was full of women who themselves were full of life and passion and truth and joy and art and words, and i couldn't put it down.  a month or two later, i was blogging, and i couldn't believe it, but i was, and i haven't stopped, and now, here i am, featured in that very magazine that started it all.  still hard to believe.


i walked up under the ginkgo tree to take pictures amongst the leaves and it is a very bright contrasty sunshiny cold texas day and once again, the wind was blowing the pages.  the leaves were too golden and too sure of themselves against the softness of my images, and so, i have softened them also.  it's one of the things i talk about in this article - going where your blog leads you and today it whispered soften those leaves.

i chose this image because i liked the timeline of the page.  a winter photo, a summer photo, the shadow of that ginkgo leaf stem a sundial measuring the morning.  i can see the words willingly follow