“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


january now and then

if you catch them just right,
if you are up early enough on a slightly foggy morning,
they look like snow against the branches.  

the tulip tree lives on the far left side of the yard, the west, and it begins our calendar.  january.  baby buds.  i thought of them in a dream in the other night, awoke wondering if last summer's drought had delayed their coming, but no.  they are where they should be.  i like to think they whispered to me in my sleep as they opened their eyes, a bit of reassurance, we are back, all is well, the world still moving in seasons and everyday rhythms, soothing predictability.

this week's story: happy birds.  a hawk, two days in the sweet gum tree across the street, and cardinals.  yesterday morning, birdsong and even more cardinals, climbing the empty wisteria vines, flittering into the hackberry.  sparrows.  the smell of the sweet olive tree finding its way through the front door, skye cat hiding around the corner, chattering at the birds, so unaware as they breakfast on the lawn.  they dive and swoop into the creek, where the water lives, bursting upwards in a surprise of feathers.  it will sound like a fish story when i try to explain how big the woodpecker was, this big, i will say, and hold out my hands to show you, and this big around, truly.  you will laugh and say pictures, please, but trust me.  he was that big.


a year ago today a snowstorm was on its way, but i was on the road to florida.  i stopped in louisiana for the night, and the news was full of heartbreak from arizona, land of my youth, land of deserts and my heart.  my fears suddenly felt small, but even larger.  i called my mother and the ever-wonderful michael and settled in for the night, on the road again the next morning, still headed east, still headed out.  

she gave me the ocean again.
it had been a long time.

tell us about a time this year
that you were moved by the generosity of another.

reverb 11.  late.


generous souls i know.
there were so many in this hardest of years.
i will choose a january soul, before the hard time hit.

beth got lost in the shuffle,
got lost in the bigger story of my mother's death so soon after.
had bad timing, or good, i can't truthfully say,
but she believed in my courage when i didn't,
and she offered a few days of the ocean.
a temptress to whom i said yes.
when i thought i was lost, she asked if i had a map.

that water was an old lost friend,
never mind the cold.
she offered patience and understanding and open arms
and tea and new friends.
i listened to under the tuscan sun on the drive down
and all the way back home.



  1. Wow, this rings a bell ... is it really possible that I remember this from your posts from last year? The photos of girls doing cartwheels in the surf??? PS -- pretty poetic writing of the birds. We love our birds, but your week kinda takes the cake -- glad you had it. :D

  2. gorgeous. there are always generous souls in good times and bad, the ones who see us and make it known. sometimes, the generous souls are the birds, offering color and fish stories to remind us of just how the sweet the world can be.

    you have always been held in the palm of many hands. xo

  3. Reading this (as often happens when I come here) is just a cascade of smiles & memories & heartstrings remembering tunes new & old.
    The ocean is a perfect setting for you, darlin', vast, powerful & brings peace.
    Happy second Sunday of the New Year!!

  4. this is beautiful debi and truly touched my heart.....xoxoox

  5. this is so lovely and full of hope. :)

    i love the way that the tree has whispered to remind you of the seasons, always moving forward, even if in unexpected ways.

    and the woodpecker!!! how cool is that. this morning, in the snow, five male cardinals in the hedgerow. you just have to smile when you see that.

  6. In May a phone number was offered, no strings, no pressure. From someone I had never met, had met in essence only in the ether.
    That phone number, used weeks later
    in desperation to talk with out the tears
    made a difference
    The generosity of a stranger, who is no longer a stranger
    is now a friend, we have met and I will never forget.

  7. In winter, we often feel like everything is dead or sleeping, but through your eyes, winter is a vivid world, where every object, every animal is alive and dancing. The true winter wonderland.

  8. The cardinals, the ocean, the tulip tree, the wisteria, the cat, the wisteria, the generosity, the caring, the woodpecker - I love everything I find here . . . Except the sweet gum tree;)

  9. She's pretty wonderful, that Beth.
    And it is even more wonderful that your souls could connect in that soothing, healing ocean air.


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .