“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


stop. this isn't about the dragonfly.

it's so often not about what you think it is.

it's too often about what draws your eye, your ears, your bleeding heart; you rush to put the other lens on the camera so you don't see the background, the background falls away, the background you want to ignore, the background that hangs there so beautifully true when you move the camera away from your eye.  when you allow yourself to see.

painter's eye sees that curve of darkness above the dragonfly, and the just beginning to fall leaves scattered across the creekbed, knows the strokes of light painted with a wide open fstop.  painter zooms back and blesses the knowledge of this place, of this moment.

it is about seeing it all, and choosing what to ignore.  photographer's eye ignores the shards of monkey grass and f16, and hands the camera to painter's eye.



the nearing end of the day

i see these chairs everyday.  his and hers, not matching, not expensive, just a place to rest at the end of the day, before the mosquitoes come.  they move around the yard, following shade or sun.  they say time taken. time taken to speak to each other.  time taken to sit under the sky.  time taken to just breathe.

neighbors stop by.  dogs.  cats skirt the edges of the yard.  conversations are held.  how are yous.  you're not gonna believe thises.  glasses of wine sit in the grass.  strollers go by, parents waving.  joggers, walkers.  kids with basketballs.  skateboards.  more neighbors, more dogs.  laughter.

just a couple of chairs.
a loveseat.
time for each other and the lives they lead.  

a scene from the nearing end of day.
my neighborhood.



words. misbehavin'.

up early this morning again, again, letting the cat out into the darkness soon to be rain.


my camera sits still, stays quiet, no photographs documenting these days. i just have words, and they are fleeting, fractious, naughty, playing hide and seek, and i just let them.  i am a bad word mama lately - i just let them loose and don't even try to rein them in.  i let them stomp through puddles and sit in cars with their seatbelts unfastened and i just look away if i see cigarettes dangling from their fingers.  they eat candy for supper and apple pie for breakfast and i even offer them cokes or coffee to wash it all down.  they stay out late and come in noisy.

i have no idea when they had extra keys made.

they make mistakes and text me misspelled lies.  i laugh and roll my eyes and open another can of paint; yesterday dipped a red glass heart in fat white paint, smothered it covered it laughed at it dripping, my fingertips drying fast.  the words don't understand, they think i'm silly, i embarrass them, and they cover their mouths, giggling at me, refusing to take part.  i agree with them, but i like the silliness, i am too old to anymore care that the breeze blows paint onto my skin.  i wear it as a tattoo that disappears with the days, knowing another will soon take its place.

the words sip beer and sit under the cloudy skies, drinking in rain and cursing the mosquitoes, saving their stories for later.  i know they will come in, i know they will be back.  they will bring pictures of their adventures, and say nice things about the chairs i am painting, the circles i am cutting, the figure eights i am moving in.


daylight now and gray and chilly on my toes.  the phone shows 67°.  the catawba tree across the street glows yellow green in the wet air, shimmers when the wind shakes left over raindrops from its leaves.  the cat is almost asleep on the aqua chair, an outward facing circle, ears always on alert.  a fire truck passes in the distance.



remind me

the earlier sound of thunder has given way to the softer sound of rain.
doors are open.
streets are silent,empty.

remind me of this moment,
this moment right here,
this one bird moment,
sheltered high in the hackberry tree,
singing end of the day notes with the rain.
remind me someday when i am complaining about some unimportant something.
remind me that the light in the window across the street,
just now on,
was a pale golden rectangle surrounded by even paler ginkgo leaves,
almost silver in the slipping-away-fast light of the day.
remind me that the grass was golden green and out of focus,
that it was darker green near the door where the light had already slipped behind the horizon.
remind me of the lamp's reflection in the glass doors,
golden white against the darkness of the oak tree in a.c.'s backyard.
remind me of the songs the rain sings as it slows.




my god, but this night is quiet, the september sounds of cicadas softer than their summer songs, one last bird singing the day to sleep, the dusk to wake.  it falls darker as i type those words and i look up to see that dusk has given way to almost-night.  the front door is open - welcome breeze, welcome almost silence, welcome.  i have not felt this peaceful in months.

a book finished as the day draws to a close.
dark chocolate with almonds.
barking dog in the distance.
i want so little else.

done is a funny word.  done with my mother's house, time now for some easiness.  i am painting a chair at work, and a table is next.  i am making banners and there is already glitter scattered across the seats of the jeep.  i am done with a chapter of my life and beginning the next.  i fantasize already - already! - about the empty place out back, falling down its own stairs, and i see myself there.  i like the way the kitchen floor slants downward to the north and i can imagine french doors replacing the windows that open onto the long flat garage roof.  i see that roof as terrace, screened to hold skye cat close, full of plants to keep us happy.  perhaps a roof so we could sit protected when the rains fall.  i see it all and i lay here in this quiet and know the quiet that terrace would bring, and i give in to the illusion.  i see us there.  i even know the plants i would choose.

done leads onward.  done opens up that spot in your soul you thought would never open again.  done has music to dance to and dreams once again of tomorrow.  done has a paintbrush in its hand and sees beyond the horizon.

darkness drops in silence and it is night.
there are stars and tomorrow the sun. 



one more time again

before i start this day - check that, it's already started.

take 2.  before i move forward even further into this day, before this last bit of ohmygod  heat sweats me and beats me and before i once again choose christmas carols, the colder the better, perhaps sting's winter songs, as the music to move by, to remind me there is cool air coming tomorrow, i say a happy little prayer.  a gratitude for this week.  for the tears-in-my-eyes laughter i found in unexpected places.  for the rip somewhere in the wall that's kept me in for such a long while, fresh air pushing fast into the used up thoughts i have been breathing too long.  inhale, indeed.  inhaaaale.  i talk too much about exhaling, about letting go.  time to talk about moving on.  which requires one last big exhale and then.  tomorrow comes.

last night was shoes with pink flowers, a pearl anklet, a swirly skirt, and dancing in the balcony, lyle lovett on stage.  i remembered life before.  today is one last jeep load of stuff from my mother's house and i am done.  i can feel her exhaling right along with me.  pushing me out the door to the rest of my life.  i love her for that.

i do wish she'd chosen another day, though - it will be 103 today.  85 tomorrow.  when god is happy, he plays.  i think he is happy.



the everything of tuesday morning

tuesday smells of early morning dew
the awakenings of birds,
doors and windows opened one by one as the skies lighten
until sunlight,
yesterday's mushrooms
are no longer white against the summer green of grass already warm,
leaves are scattered from last night's secret breezes.

the cat's ears turn east and west,
deciding west,
and she disappears to my left.
i track her movements by the birds gone silent.



blue lunacy

september began under a blue moon and we hugged the trees - the tiny dogwood, the magnolia, the pear and cherry laurel, the pecan, the oak tree, extra pats on the belly for the hackberry, my old friend.  we talked of placing water under the moonlight for this morning's tea, but exploded into laughter when i said if we put some water outside under the moon, we'll catch . . . and she replied mosquitoes.  we'll be drinking lunacy,  she said, blue lunacy,  i replied, and then we were off  into the night, trailing the laughter behind us, moon shadows everywhere, leaf shadows, the cat howling. blue lunacy.

for the first time in ages i picked up my camera and never mind the several second exposures, i felt inspired and tickled blue inside and the cat kept howling and august was almost behind me and it felt good all over.  just a bit of a bit of a breeze, a hot night, and i admit it, i placed some water on a bedroom window sill and let the moon bathe it all night.

where august has been:  inside my mother's house.  new french doors, new floor, new tenant.  emptied rooms.  when i removed her calendar from the wall, her last year of handwritten birthdays and doctor's appointments, i fell into little pieces and all the king's horses and all the king's men were useless.  only the tears could put me back together and i let them come, though in truth i had no choice.  one last goodbye.  all will be well.  i can move forward.

where august has been:  in pain.  this chronic, often severe, since february pain tapped me on the hip and pushed me on my backside and all the king's horses have again been useless.  writing has been useless.  doctors don't know, but we move slowly forward.  i splurged on extra massages and a chiropractor with the new money from my mother's house, but the pain remains, and makes no promises to leave.  

where august has been:  inside the business with its newly painted walls.  a table for art and new fairy lights.  no emma tree.  i will show you later.  

what august gave me:  an owl's feather, a now found long lost necklace, cello music.  christmas carols in the jeep.  old photographs and my mother's words. 

this morning is september and the skies are gray and white clouds,
blue sky peeping through.
the music is lyle lovett's joshua judges ruth
and on the road this morning, a dead kitten, still warm.
i stopped the jeep to move it and lifting its body felt its last breath.