“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


florida: in words i can't find with pictures i forgot to take

there were things i didn't take pictures of. 
the streetlamps topped with sage green covers,
pinholed to loosen the light softly into the night. 
the blue stop signs.  
the white circle i painted on laurie's hand.  
the balloons tied to the street sign to point the way, 
mapquest and google saying no route possible from here to there
funny things, maps; perhaps there really wasn't -
perhaps we each had to find our own way, make our own map,
one that ended in the same place, but looked totally different to each of us. 

i didn't take pictures of the key limes
or the homemade chocolate chipotle truffles,
or the heart shaped pebble
in the path leading from the house to the beach
or the little ballerina outside in the wednesday cold.  
i didn't take pictures of conversations around the kitchen island
or at the kitchen table
and i didn't take pictures of words illuminated by candlelight. 
i have to remind myself to pick up the camera and so often i don't.

but this time, in addition to no pictures,
i have no words.
they're out there, i know they are.

it was a long drive back, longer than i'd anticipated,
bumper to bumper traffic across southern louisiana,
but no meals, just gasoline stops,
a lot of silent no-radio or no-cd time,
just the sound of the road beneath me at 70 mph.
a lot of thinking time,
a lot of wondering how to put into words this story of florida,
the true tale of anxiety i promised to tell.
i crossed the texas state line in the dark
and yeehawed into the silence of the jeep;
an hour later i stopped at work to nuzzle lilycat's neck,
and a few minutes after that i was home,
into bed,
where i stayed for 24 hours.

i don't know what to say.  
i don't. 
all i can think of is that i have never, in my whole life,
spent much time with "just women". 
i thought about that through 5 states and almost 13 hours,
and i formulated no sentences, no phrases, no nothings. 
and i don't know what i think about that. 
it is a different energy, that all female energy;
i grew up with no sisters,
grew up never having a group of girlfriends,
not in that sex and the city way. 
i don't tell all  to the girlfriends i have now.  
those few days on a cold beach were a first for me -
the only man i spoke to was a waiter one day at lunch. 
and michael on the phone at night,
michael who i missed in a way i've never missed before.

i am home now
and there are dogs running in the rain through the front yard,
and the heater won't stay on
and there is laundry to do
and my life returns to me as i know it,
but not really.   
it will take some time to find the words.
i feel changed, and if that sounds melodramatic, well, so be it.   
i do
i feel like parts of me were left behind.
 somewhere on highway 10, or maybe 12. 
some of those parts i found again
headed at-last-north through louisiana,
but some are gone forever. 
and it scares me.  change aways does. 
but suddenly i feel the need to cook
(thank you laurie)
to have a needle and thread in my hand
(thank you deb). 

i look at fabric differently,
and i think i can at last glue paper to a page
without thinking it is gone forever.
thank you kim

i took with me on this journey a silver heart from katie,
a bracelet from kelly,
one of elaine's little birds,
the words new focus  tucked under a wing. 
i took a broken strand of freshwater pearls from my friend lulu,
a picture of lilycat on my phone,
the memory of maggie the cat in my heart
and a message from graciel tucked into my purse. 
good luck charms.

i brought back beach sand and new friendships
and a much softer heart. 
i look at my picture on beth's blog
and i look tired and shy and scared. 
i can see i'd been pushing my hair back over and over.
a little girl again learning to step outside.
(thank you beth.)

i had wonderful teachers.
thank you all.


  1. "we are all part of everyone we have ever met"

    i like that quote immensely my friend.



  2. the pictures that you took with your mind and your heart hold all the words that you need.
    change is hard but it keeps us going, it keeps us growing, it keeps us alive. we're always changing, every minute, every day, some days it just feels like it happens all at once.
    you took a giant step with much courage.

  3. so immensely glad you stumbled towards this take a chance gathering.
    i invite you to link to my stumbling towards ecstasy post...

    i am ruminating on your doll house project.....

    (and my word verification is

  4. ..amen to everything Mrs.Mediocrity said. i am pleased you found your courage and did this. for you, my heart smiles.

  5. i would say, do not try overly much to figure out what this trip all means. let it arrive slowly in your mind and heart.

    you are changed, even if the hows are not yet clear.

    from experience, it has taken months to understand how i am drawn to things that did exist before i traveled and met new souls, how my view of myself has changed and evolved.

    and sometimes, the uncomfortable moments while away are the biggest forces for change.

    xxoo, graciel

  6. These times together are so worth it, learning and growing. I am so happy you had a wonderful time with the girls and returned home safely.

  7. Time away with the "girls" is
    always a good thing....I just
    spent the weekend with my 2
    dear friends that I've known
    since child-hood.....It's so
    very soul fulfilling to be
    with women who know you and
    love you no matter what! So
    glad you had a great time and
    look forward to you sharing
    the experience!


  8. I love that quote -

    and your words. You are marvelous with words, you know...

  9. when your words finally come, i'll be so grateful and blessed to read them.

  10. debi...
    i think you found your words perfectly. they were beautiful. all those non-words. and i could feel the emotion behind them.
    this was a big time for all of us. in so many ways. in so many different ways.
    five women.
    five women learning.
    and my little quote i left on the coffee table. well i knew somebody would love it as much as i did. and you did have your camera. and you captured it. and i'm so glad you did because under all the dust bunnies left behind from our busy feet and hearts, i can't find it.
    sure i could make another one. but it wouldn't be the same.
    thank you.....
    thank you for keeping something exactly the way it was, even if for just a moment.
    because really. moments are all we have.

  11. Even when you find yourself struggling to find the words . . . . they are there, written between the lines. Sounds like it was an amazing experience.

  12. I helped Beth choose that picture of you on her blog. And I see all that you see in some ways, but I also see a softened, feminine, opened up woman that I was honored to have met and spent time with. How lucky and blessed were we to have found a place to just BE and learn new things about our Self ? I so feel that.
    This post makes me shed a tear and smile real big, all at the same time. Thank you for taking the journey, Debi. Thank you and you are so very welcome too. ;)

  13. Oh Debi...you captured the pure essence of our time together perfectly with your words. So far, I have only allowed the photos to tell my story...but I do that alot anyway. Your story slays me and renders me speechless. Your brave adventure has really touched us all. Like Beth said, all 5 of us have been uplifted, touched and changed forever. I continue to unfold my thoughts, moments and photos and re-live it all over and over again....I only wish I had another Truffle close by!!

  14. I think you captured the essence of the time together, & I feel honored to share it. I know it is the nature of being a writer, but let the words go for now~~the transformation is still finding its nourishing way amidst every cell, like water saturating sand at the beach.
    I am so glad for you, my friend! <3

  15. I cannot tell you how beautiful this is. How encouraging and inspiring. I don't have any words that are an adequate response, but know that you have made my heart sing this morning, a distant echo of the florida sunshine and loving friendship you write of.

  16. I love this post--the photos and the words. My heart is full to brimming. A terrible thing happened to me this past year. I lost my very best girlfriend (as well as several other friends) through a series of horrible events and betrayals. Essentially, I lost my whole little world. I have forgiven her, but I think she will never forgive herself, so I have been in morning for our friendship and for a life I loved. I have been longing to make new friendships, but have been feeling afraid of all that I will be risking again. The bigger risk is not to try, and I know that, and so your post is a really important one for me to read right now. Thank you, Debi. xo Gigi

  17. i followed your journey over the last week, reading your words and wondering how things were going. and then reading your words about your long drive home, sitting in the car with only your thoughts...and the road beneath. am so struck by that, and think it was a good thing. you needed that distance and time just on your own, before stepping back into life as before, but with something that is new, and wonderful brought back with you.

  18. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this trip and your photos and the links to the blogs of the other ladies who shared this wonderful experience with you. It's as if we were all invited along to share that special time with you all, and it brings a little more happiness and a little less fear into my heart as well.

  19. Debi. Oh, Debi. I don't even know what to say here. My heart is too full.

  20. I have anxiety issues - I'm really just beginning to puzzle through after finally dealing with the ADHD.. (hyperactive and anxious- can you say, never ever sit still?) and I think you are so brave in your transparency about anxiety. I too have felt like sneaking out of gatherings just to relieve the feelings.

    I want to chat with you about your photography and a book I am writing right this minute... rofl. But, I don't have your email... mine is ludwiglk @ gmail.com

    thank you. really.


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