“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


time off

this space is always an empty box when i begin.  white.  containing nothing but possibilities and stories yet to be told. yesterday, i could say, there were pear trees blooming, 4 and then another 4.  tiny white blossoms just beginning, and they were to my left as i walked the skywalk to the corridor which led to the hall which took me to my mother's hospital room and even more bad news and i ran away in tears.  this time the pear trees were to my right.

and such is life. 
it is folly to pretend otherwise.

it is now today and day 21 of my mother's journey but i lasted only a minute and a half yesterday afternoon.  i ran because i could - i fled.  i thought i'll run and i'll write about those pear trees, i'll talk about that last one that is just a young teenager, not quite grown all the way up, but bursting proud with new blossoms nonetheless, and i'll forget everything else;  the problem is it was the pear trees on my left i wanted to talk about, but they were obliterated by the blur of the ones on my right as i ran. 


i have only those words and they are too hard to write.
maybe later.

i will be back when this is done.



february overhead

this morning was a hawk swooping low, inches from the grass,
and a squirrel almost caught,
but not.
not quite, by a mere fluff of his tail
and an oh-so-convenient bush;
the hawk circled and settled onto a limb, waiting.
this afternoon was wind and a cardinal, cardinals always come with the wind,
then almost hard rain upon that very same grass,
and this early evening was still light in the sky, blue overhead,
with a flock of blackbirds heading north.
i stood beneath them and watched them fly,
and was not ashamed of the envy i felt.
there are robins now and bluejays
and a drizzle of yellow forsythia 
poured atop brown stalks at the foot of the drive.
there are daffodils and paperwhites and blooming camellia trees
and pink buds on the tulip trees.

february always tears at my heart.



year 3 finishes with fear & poetry hand in hand

riding a rocket ship with no training,
ill equipped
except for that star compass in my heart.

tomorrow is my 3rd blogiversary.  3 years of standing on fields of flowers and shadows and pronouncing them poetry - perhaps it is perfect that this new year of blogging begins with my feet on concrete, hospital parking garage concrete, standing still in the not-knowing, standing still with the possibilities of anything.  standing.  still.  but the rocket is flying forward, the stillness just an illusion, a magician's trick.  in truth i am being pulled towards true north, heart first.  my words have become whispers and prayers and feel stronger than i really am.  choose soften as your word of the year, and the universe will bow to your command.  i will testify to that.  i will amen it.  you will soften.



a grasshopper from today and a really long list from 2008

this grasshopper was far away
and it reminded me of this image
from when? last year?
the year before?
me always drawing horizon lines in my head. 
the first one was at my feet,
today's was overhead in the hospital parking garage;
the sun just beginning to tip the treetops on her way down,
light splashing through the open space,
puddling as shadows in the corners,
and i couldn't get close enough
or climb high enough,
but i saw the color fall across the air
and i admit to a bit of photoshop juju,
but not as much as you might think.
the color was shimmering at all my edges.

and the full moon
and a reprinting of stuff about my mother.
originally posted for her 75th birthday.

it's really long.
settle in.

1. Best fried apricot pies EVER.

2. She taught me - inadvertently - to be fearless about painting.
Old metal teapots were not off limits;
if it sat still, it was just asking to be decorated with daisies.

3. She has had & still has a life full of pets:
Cherie, Citrus Sue & Martin, Noop, Deanie, Coco,
Sparkle, Shadow, Angelina, Miss Kitty, Old Joe,
Tom Tom, Skye, Ike, Miss Buster,
Reggie the Blue Jay who had his own room,
Martha, Gray Boy, and thousands more.

4. She is the 16th child in a family of 16 children.

5. She moved - with my father - to a new state,
leaving behind friends, family & the only life she'd ever known,
dragging 3 kids to an unknown future.
No job waiting on either of them,
very little money, not knowing anyone,
knowing only that the health of my brother
 - and his life -
was at stake if the move was not made.

6. She's a writer.

7. Her gardens were organic before organic was cool.

8. She is overly prepared for any possible emergency.
Stuff is in the car
in case she & Skye the cat have to quickly evacuate;
emergency rations are under the bed.

9. When my father died,
she put aside her own grief for an hour
 & came to my house to make sure I was okay,
to feed me baby bites of cold sandwiches.

10. She has a Sweet Tooth. Capital S. Capital T.
I've seen her eat an entire peach cobbler in one evening.

11. Yet she stays thin.

12. She has great eyebrows. (Seinfeld fans will appreciate this observance.)

13. She loves Lyle Lovett.

14. The first tree she plants at any house is a fig.
She never has extra figs to give away
because she will stand at the tree & just eat them all.

15. She is a lover of all wildlife - birds, beasts, insects, reptiles.
Even the snake brought into her house by the ever vigilant Skye -
the one Michael had to capture because
she had barricaded herself in another bedroom.
When he told her he'd caught it,
she yelled through the closed door "Well, don't kill it".

16. She once lived in a haunted house.

17. She always has her hair in curlers
during any disaster or family emergency.
If her house is ever hit by a tornado,
no doubt her hair will be in curlers
& she will be interviewed by CNN reporters & will be broadcast nationally,
to the amusement of all her relatives.

18. She is funny - sometimes on purpose.

19. She's afraid to fly - or at least she thinks she is.
She's never flown, so there's no way to know for sure.

20. She tithes, but not necessarily to her church.
Sometimes the Salvation Army receives her 10%,
sometimes the Humane Society.
Once it was a neighbor who'd left an abusive husband,
but needed temporary help feeding herself & her kids.
She didn't ask, but my mother knew.

21. She is not easily bored - a trait that, thankfully, she passed on to me.

22. She loves my blog - this very thing you're reading.
When she first read it,
she was so moved that she wrote me a little note telling me so.

23. She successfully threw my father a surprise 65th birthday party.
No mean feat - we have a huge family & they all showed up.

24. She hangs my artwork all over her house.
Bad high school & early college drawings
& paintings that she nonetheless loves.
She even has my very first drawing (I was about 2) framed.
It's not too bad, if I do say so myself.

25. She has only one grandchild, but that child is a doozy - the joy of her life.

26. When she was 16 she got married. (Not my father.)
She was a carhop, he was a cool, unemployed guy on a motorcycle.
One day while she was at work, he drove by & waved & that was it.
She got divorced & told me that as she was walking down the courthouse steps,
she felt free!

27. Her favorite song is Summit Ridge Drive by Artie Shaw.

28. She has a yard full of turtles or tortoises or terrapins
or whatever they are.
She knows.
They're all named & she recognizes them immediately by sight.

29. Her grocery lists are unbelievably indecipherable
& written on the teensiest bits of paper imaginable.

30. Because she recycles everything.

31. She can sew or upholster anything.
Except for that Halloween witch costume I wore one year.

32. She cannot, however, spell just anything.

33. For this she blames her father,
a Hungarian immigrant who could speak 7 languages
& even invented a traffic control device
that was used for jillions of years until computers came along,
but who spoke with an accent.
This accent, she claims, is the reason she mispronounces & misspells words.
He taught her to speak with a Texas/Hungarian accent.

34. In addition to great eyebrows, she has great fingernails,
and lives in constant despair of mine.

35. Have I mentioned her Thanksgiving dressing?

36. She can't swim.

37. She loves to limit our Christmas spending,
and 5 or 6 years ago, that limit was $5.00.
She says she enjoyed that year's shopping more than any other year
because it was such a challenge.

38. When she was young, she was a jitterbugger.

39. She has a provision in her will to make sure her cat will be taken of.

40. Speaking of cats,
she believes they cannot find their way down or out of a tree,
which has led to the climbing of a ladder more than once by yours truly,
the cajoling of cats, the pleading.
The begging.
This usually takes place after dark.

41. She cannot sit still.
She is always busy - in the yard, at her computer, in the house.
It made my father crazy.

42. She will loan me money if I need it. I try to not need it.

43. She has, in the last 5 or 6 years,
survived a broken sternum (car accident),
a heart attack, a severe staph infection,
several cases of bronchitis,
a broken shoulder & hip (at the same time),
heart arrhythmias, reactions to medicine, colon cancer,
ischemic colitis (necessitating firemen breaking through her back door).
I have come to know my way around emergency rooms & hospitals.

44. She knows about plants & flowers -
she knows when to trim them back, she understands deadheading,
when to plant tomatoes, how to prune azaleas.

45. She has a fireplace that she has never used.
She has firewood in case of an emergency (see #8),
but did not consider a 3 day power failure a few winters ago
emergency enough to light a fire - she just stayed cold. (See #43.)

46. She is a bath person & doesn't understand how people don't drown in showers.

47. She cries very easily. She will cry when she reads this.

48. Despite the fact that my father was a sports nut,
was the head of the Little League association when my brothers were young,
that he was always glued to tv football & baseball games
& attended as many high school & college events as possible,
and despite the fact that my brothers & I grew up to be sports nuts,
she just doesn't get it.
Except for last year's Dallas Cowboys season.

49. She likes Julia Roberts. She especially liked her when she married Lyle Lovett.

50. She sings all the time - it's one of my big memories of her as I was growing up.
I remember her singing while washing dishes,
or sweeping floors (which would sometimes elicit a jitterbug move or two),
or gardening.

51. Deep in her heart,
she believes the Harry Potter books promote witchcraft.
She denies this to me, but I know it's true.

52. When she was a child,
one year for Christmas she received a doll with no hair.
Her sister closest to her in age, however,
received a doll with beautiful hair - Hildegarde.
In a fit of jealousy, my mother cut off all of Hildegarde's hair.
When she retells this tale, it never fails to make me laugh
& it never fails to make her mad all over again.

53. Great shoes.

54. When she married my father she wore a black dress.
I have no idea what she wore when she married the cool motorcycle guy.

55. She became friends with her oldest sister's nursing home "roommate"
& when her sister died, she continued that friendship with the roommate
until the woman died several years later.

56. She has met Dolly Parton & Henry Kissinger
& the cast & crew of "Bonanza" -
she & my father happened upon them while they were filming in the Arizona desert.
My parents were looking for gold.

57. She was a smoker from the time she was a teenager (again, see #43)
until just recently.
I suspect she still sneaks a cigarette every once in a while.

58. She loves my sister-in-law like a daughter
& tells me quite often how glad she is
that my brother married such a wonderful woman,
and how lucky she considers herself.

59. She says she will not drive in bad weather,
but I know this to be untrue,
having shown up at her house during a freak heavy snowstorm
to find that she was visiting someone who lived an hour away.

60. She worries a lot.

61. So her house is like a fortress.
I've mentioned this before.
Multiple locks, tall fence, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms.
She is armed.
Do not mess with her.

62. She is a die-hard Republican,
but she voted for Ann Richards
when Ann ran for governor against Clayton Williams.
Don't tell anyone.

63. She wants to be an archaeologist when she grows up.

64. She can say the word "panties" without blushing.
I, who cannot, find this amazing.

65. Her kitchen is painted bright Granny Smith apple green.
And surprisingly, it looks terrific.

66. The last movie she saw in a theater was "Poltergeist".

67. She has a cast-iron stomach.
She can eat anything without getting sick.
(I sometimes wonder if I am, in fact, her biological daughter.)
Many years ago she had a kidney infection,
was feeling pretty bad & had, in fact,
decided to just go on to the emergency room.
But first she had to cook a big supper & eat -she was hungry.

68. Back to motorcycles.
When she was a young wild teenager,
she liked those guys on motorcycles,
and she liked it when they would lean the bikes over
& make sparks fly when the footpegs scraped the road.

69. She does not & never has cooked on Sunday.

70. She has a huge, huge, huge collection of depression glass & carnival glass -
mostly in storage.

71. She knew my father was the one when she first met him.

72. She once, in a fit of self-pity & anger,
referred to herself as old "Mule Jean".
Unfortunately, that nickname stuck.
I am trying to convince her to start a blog under that name.

73. She likes a lot of lights on in the house during the night.
If you're spending the night, take a sleep mask.

74. She expects you to be punctual,
even if you've not set an exact time for something.
If you say I'll take care of that next week,
she expects you to take care of it first thing Monday morning.

75. She is the best mom in the world,
and has 3 children,
a daughter-in-law & a granddaughter who love her dearly.

UPDATE 10:30 PM, 7/16/08 - According to one of my commenters,
I am incorrect in stating that my mother never cooked on Sunday.
I assume this commenter to be one of my brothers,
probably the one with the computer.
He's younger than I & no doubt has a better memory -
I've been old a lot longer -
but I have no recollection of Sunday meals.


the light of yesterday afternoon

my february room.  a sliver of light under the door, which i originally typed as sliver of flight.  this door leads i know not where, it sits in the sky, a piece of the hospital, perhaps where the angels come and go. no one ever parks nearby but me; sometimes i like to point the jeep to the outside world and let it fill with sunlight while it waits for my return. 

day 12 begins and i cannot sleep. 



hospital stairwell belly button

the umbilical cord ties us together still.


day 11.
we fall into the routine.
the average of 5 bucks a day to park,
the late lunches, if any,
all the last calls on my cell phone medically related
aunts and cousins i've not heard from in years.
i carry the phone charger in my purse
and leave the phone plugged in everywhere.
i sit on hospital benches,
kindling games and cheap novels,
and stay at work late into the night,
lilycat and i in the darkened front room.
i forget to buy groceries
 a huge box of valentine chocolates
is supper three nights in a row.
and breakfast.



you have to write these words like no one is reading them

tell the truth of the day no matter what; details are maybe unimportant, but you might mention the girl in the silver car in front of you at the stoplight, shoepolished words covering every window - honk if you're single, dang girl you're sexy, and you might mention that she texted through the go arrows and you kind of wish she would read this, but she's from here, so you know she won't, and you might mention that you wanted to honk but you were sure she wasn't smart enough to realize it was a honk that was saying move on you fool, that she would think you were signalling her you were single and she'd think you were way too old and she was probably straight and would think you were hitting on her, so you just didn't.  honk, that is.  you waited through the lights, and she finally noticed the green one and you were home free at last.  you might mention that as you sat through those go lights and another set of don't goes, you were forming words in your head, saying them right out loud up there where no one but you could hear, and you might mention the word solace, and how it kept popping up.  cause it did and that's important.

the day began with a wake up call from my mother's doctor, telling me it was time we made a decision re: keeping her alive or not.  that's not how he put it, he's a good man, he gave me statistics, and even told me he knew my mother wasn't a statistic, but her chances didn't look good, he said, and he will wake me again in the morning to hear our answer.  which is yes.  where there is life, there is hope, and i am a newcomer to the word hope and intend to embrace it.  she will get that chance.  here is where the details are unimportant, and i am exhausted with saying them and writing them anyway, so let's just skip that.  it ain't over till it's over, and it ain't over. 

and here is where you might mention that while walking along the hospital's skywalk this evening, you ran into an ex-neighbor, the other amber on the left side of the house, and her grandmother is in the hospital not doing well, and you might mention that you said ditto your mother, and that she asked your mom's name and when you said jean, she said we'll add her to our prayers.  there is no doubt that you would then find out her grandma's name, and tell her wanda juanita will be added to yours.

you might mention that earlier in the day, something happened with your mom in icu, something a little scary and you left her room, left her with nurses, and you settled onto a chair in the icu hallway, silently crying, when a woman came by, younger than you, crying also, and said i'm there too and can i get you some water?  you might mention you thanked her, but no, and you would definitely mention that in a moment she was back, kneeling on the floor next to you, hugging you, the both of you crying.  my baby may not make it, she said - you will mention that - and she tells you he is 19, that his heart just stopped while he was jogging yesterday afternoon, that the prognosis is grim, and she asks about your mom, and you both cry some more and you talk about the hardness of it all.  you might mention you cannot imagine her pain.  you might also mention that you were just flat out unable to carry yourself back to your mom's room this evening, you called your brothers and made sure you were all on the same page re: what to tell the dr. when tomorrow's wake-up call comes, and you are, but you also might mention that you almost made it, you were about to turn the corner when you met one of your brothers leaving; she's sedated, he said, but looking good, and you walk back to your vehicles together and you leave.  and the word solace comes to you.  it may as well have been written in the clouds.  it was that big and that perfect and that loud. 

solace. you felt it when the other amber recognized you after all this time, you felt it walking with your brother, you felt it on the phone with the ever-wonderful michael as soon as you were in the jeep and had dialed his number.  solace.  comfort in trouble or grief.  comfort.  you'd felt it earlier with emails from friends. all those arms held out to hold you, all those hands to pick up the pieces.  you'd felt it when there was a message that said call if you need anything - i am only 3 hours away.  only 3 hours.  solace.  and you knew you had to write.  there is solace in words, in the saying of things, in the power the words hold.

if i were to make a magic potion for my mother, i am unsure what i would toss in.  she and i are so different, but so very much alike.  i would toss in words - she writes also - and cats and birds from her backyard, she has the smartest crows ever, and i would toss in calmness, a soft place to fall into, easy breaths.  i would drop in all the letters and notes and emails and phone calls and prayers and thoughts and light sent her way.  it would be a potion that glowed.

so this is where we are.  in the land of not knowing, in the land of not giving up, the land of tears and hands held tight.  i thought i would mention that.



on the street where i live

the street where i live, golden under the streetlamps, the shadows welcoming me home each night, i turn left at that lower left corner and am home.  the bricks are old and they sink and they move around with the earth and the water and the floods, but they glow at night and are warm with the day's heat and the street is small, a few steps and you are across; it is the nighttime that keeps me here, the house is just where i sleep.  i turn the corner and there the shadows wait, only 3 houses on the block, a small, small piece of earth.  the trees are summertime homes to owls, all the time homes to raccoons, and on good nights, when the long day has been sweet, i lean against the jeep and breathe in the stars and moonlight and the scent of sweet olive trees and let the night settle against me before heading indoors. on bad nights, i often do the same, even if a chill has fallen with the darkness; those nights are often the clearest and i find the stars i know and listen for night birds and say my thanks to the sky, arms extended, a prayer of gratitude, not of need.  how blessed i am.

~ thou art everywhere, but i worship thee here ~
                                                                 a prayer of india, texan adopted



not yet

yield:  verb \ˈyēld\
transitive verb

to give up possession of on claim or demand:
as a : to give up (as one's breath) and so die
b : to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another :
hand over possession of
c : to surrender or submit (oneself) to another
d : to give (oneself) up to an inclination, temptation, or habit
e : to relinquish one's possession of (as a position of advantage or point of superiority)


i held her hand yesterday and told her i was not ready to let her go.
good, she replied.
and so, we do not yet yield.
we fight on.

(image from the skywalk at hospital)

day 7



a pause . . .

my mom.
all flirty with my dad back in the day.

i need to take some time off to be with her right now.
i'll be back.



our hearts tell our secrets

a midnight snow is coming they say,
and we,
disbelievers all,
still wait by the window.


one toe over the line: why i didn't email y'all back yesterday

breaking a rule here, my foot outside the line. 

i was in the midst of reading y'all's so kind emails or comments yesterday (i cannot thank you enough) when my mom called, unable to breathe, telling me she was calling 911, but couldn't find her cat.  call, i told her, i will find the cat, i am on my way.  the ambulance was still at her house when i pulled up and i was told she was being taken to hospital #2, not her normal hospital - it was full to the brim with folks and only accepting walk-in emergencies - and she was off.  i found her cat, called my brothers & sister-in-law, and sat down for a few moments in the quiet of my mother's living room to catch my breath.  i took anti-anxiety meds, hospitals being a bit of a trigger for panic attacks, and me having to be there and all, and then i, too, was off. 

my mom has copd and atrial fib and we go through this quite often.  i am familiar with hospital #1.  hospital #2?  not so much.  here's how it works:

you park far away from the emergency room, unless you're handicapped.  i mean far away.  i mean 2 bucks an hour in a parking garage away, the side streets already full of parked vehicles.  you have to walk through the open air to get to the hospital (there was a shuttle waiting area near where you parked, but no shuttle).  it is windy and getting chilly, but never mind - when you get inside the doors they direct you down a hall, through double doors, then through a 2nd set of double doors which brings you back to the outside on the opposite end of the hospital.  you stand for a second in the ambulance/emergency driveway, unsure where to go, and you finally spy - across that driveway, when one of the emergency vehicles leaves and you can finally see - a door with the words emergency center painted on it.  you walk in and this emergency room is smack dab full also and you try to not breathe or touch anything while you give the receptionist your mom's first & middle name, not knowing which name she's under.  the receptionist tells you she's not there.  you beg to differ, you tell her your brother made a quick stop to check in on her before he picked up his daughter from tennis practice.  you give her your mom's name again and oh! yes, she's here, hahahah, isn't that funny? and she sends you back outside - yep, back into the wind, and across that driveway, but through a different set of doors.  you find your mom and settle in for 6 hours. 

there is no chair in the room/cubicle - indeed, there is no real bed, there is a something or other that your mom's feet keep slipping off - unless she lays flat, which is uncomfortable for her.  you steal a dr.'s stool to sit on, no one is around to notice, but soon give it up to your mom's feet - something to keep her on board and more comfortable, more relaxed.  she is fine as long as she is still.  a trip to the bathroom leaves her gasping for air, needing oxygen, but no, not now, she is told, we need to do a test and she can't have oxygen for 15 minutes before the test.  you suggest giving her some oxygen because she can't breathe and delaying the test.  they flush her iv line without warning her that it will be as cold as ice and it hurts her and they are brusque and not friendly - it's just cold, she is told.  and they leave.  you still have no chair.  they are back in a bit, a breathing treatment given, oxygen removed and the respiratory therapist tells her she is going to take blood from an artery.  okay, neither of you have experience with this, but okay.  it hurts.  hurts.  hurts.  your mom screams like you've never heard her scream.  she makes the therapist stop, she refuses this particular blood test.  it is explained to you why they want the test, and you understand, but, you tell the nurse, she has been to hospital  #1 in worse conditions and they have never felt the need, can an alternative test not be used?  you are told well, we aren't hospital #1.  you are told that if she refuses the test the dr. may send her home with an unauthorized dismissal. you call your brother - his sister-in-law is an ex-respiratory therapist; she explains the test and says they should have offered to use lidocaine to help deaden the area, that sometimes that helps, not always.  (she also tells you that if she is released with an unauthorized dismissal, medicare won't pay for any of the tests already performed.)  the nurse and therapist didn't mention the lidocaine, of course, they just agreed that it was very painful.  they leave to talk to the apparently invisible dr.  you still have no chair.

outside the cubicle is an empty lobby - a folding table, a wheelchair or two, some larger rolling chairs, and then emptiness.  no windows, no doors, just an empty room.  when you make a phone call you step into this area and walk around a bit.  there is nothing to see or steal - you having already scooched the dr's stool from this area under your mom's feet.  you are eventually told by yet another person that we can't have you wandering in this lobby, that you must stay in your mom's cubicle.  you explain you have no chair and wandering and walking about is all you can do, and they seem surprised - who knew?  not they.

when you want a coke, you are directed to the vending machine area, which means - yes - going back outside and through those double doors again.

no one tells you anything.  but a chair eventually shows up and the dr. eventually shows up, concerned because the heart monitor is showing atrial fib - yes, you know - but he is surprised because he can't get your mom's records from hospital #1, nothing but an ekg from 1999, before she had this problem, never mind the fact that hospital #1 performs 3 or 4 ekgs a year on her.  he tells you that he may keep her overnight, but will talk to her "regular" drs. first and get back to you.  he doesn't.  they never do.  you have to go the desk to find out what's going on, and they have a fabulous big computer monitor on the wall, with cool graphics and everything, which they study and then say, well, we're waiting for a room for her.  nice to know.  that computer monitor was money well spent, you think. 

you finally leave at 9:30, her room # in hand, she still in emergency.  they don't know if she will be allowed to eat or not, they say - that will require the okay of another dr., the admitting dr., wherever he or she is.  it will cost you 7 bucks to leave - there is a sliding scale if you stay longer than an hour.

this is the way the real world works.  no one knows a damn thing, and no one cares.  but they got rules and they got fancy gadgets, and that's all that matters.

day 2.



this morning i made an offering to the gods of winter

i brought candles and fire and cold feet
and i stood on the bridge from here to there,
cursing the wind,
dropping no-longer-lit matches into the creek below.

the snow where i stood is now ice,
the bridge now more dangerous.
but it will melt and i will wait.



early on a february morning

there is a lot of quiet outside,
snow falling through the night,
no one on the road.  

the snow woke me at midnight, the brightness beyond the windows saying come see; it kept waking me through the night, until i last gave up, cried uncle, settled myself on this couch to watch the silence fall from the sky.  that sky is white and if i hold my head a certain way, the double paned glass doors reflect a neighbor's backyard lights perfectly and hang them as fairy lights on the tips of tiny hackberry limbs overhanging the creek.  there is a broken limb caught in the wisteria vine, not seen till now, a black silhouette against that sky, that white sky going pink.  i nestled on the couch and felt comforted, and thought of last year's february, nights spent on the couch with maggie the cat as she moved closer to her ending, and i remembered the february mornings of two years ago, early morning awakenings then also bringing me to this couch to keep an eye on mary's house, she too nearing her ending.  so perhaps i blame the snow when it is in truth the memories of februaries past that push me out of bed and onto this couch, surrounded by quiet and the heater's warmth, surrounded by those loved, but gone. 

two cars have passed by as i typed, intrepid souls the first out on this day.  the news says there is ice 'neath the snow and accidents here and there across the area.  i will wait a while before venturing forth; there is another cat waiting for me at work; she has food and water, but she doesn't have me, and christmas still hangs from the emma tree.  there is much to do if i will but do it.

but now? 
just the quiet.
just the snow.
just the morning.




baby snowflakes in the air all day.
windows sweating and frosting and freezing and melting.

this morning, colder, but sunshine instead of snow or sleet, and my front door is impossibly difficult to open. i awoke in warm absolute quiet, the quiet of new fallen snow, but instead it was the quiet of no electricity, no refrigerator hum, no outside sounds, and i stepped outside that hard to open door to check the meter, knowing i had paid my electricity bill, but second guessing myself.  it was 16 degrees, wind chill of 1, and not too bad if only for a minute and no wind.  i stepped back inside and the power beeped on, and there was chicago and snowsnowsnow on tv, and that moment outside felt even less cold. 

my inner artist awoke a bit yesterday.  not in absolute quiet, but in the warmth of a quick conversation, the realization that there are some people who get her, and i suppose it shouldn't matter, but it does, sometimes it's needed, and that's just the way it is. she was up and yawning and feeling well rested and feeling inspired, and feeling pretty good, stretching her artist arms and ready to climb out of that january bed in which she's been nestled. 

perhaps that bed has a place in the january room.



february says hello

i would like to take credit for spotting them, but it was the ever-wonderful michael who pointed them out.  we were in line at a chinese drive-through and there were drizzles of rain, but just a few; i opened the car door and pointed the camera.  they formed a perfect heart in the first image only, the not quite in focus image, all the other images almost hearts, but i'm okay with that.  because really, this one's perfect.

hello back at ya, february.