“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 altar

i have come to like january, the way it shakes rattles and rolls, moving back and forth between not quite winter  winter and damn cold.  friday morning, for example, began dreary, with 30 minutes of sleet, quickly ushered out by cold bright sunshine and followed by a day full of blue skies.  i keep rain boots in the jeep all year long because you just never know, but in january, i also keep an extra jacket, and i keep track of the extra minutes in the days.  january reminds me summer is coming.

if it were a color, it would, i think, be white.  with a silver lining.  the color of beginnings and endings.  i take down the christmas lights, the last leaves fall from the trees.  space is made inside and out.   i see things more clearly.

byron is across the street, smoking.  it's sunday morning early, his 'fro is messy and he's in shorts, sitting in the sun, breathing in the day.  another neighbor passes, cigarette in one hand, dog leash in the other, and she is bundled hard against the cold, sunshine or not.  she & byron exchange waves, he finishes his smoke, and heads back into the house.  there is a silver glittered star still hanging from the ginkgo tree in his yard and the wind is spinning it back & forth, sending twinkles my way.  he will leave the icicle lights up all year, but they will stay off until next december.


or perhaps it would be the white of skye cat's throat, with underneath hints of faded brown and grays. 

prayer painting by miz katie

she was one of my birthday presents - love at first glance.  she sits on a shelf, propped below my empty boathouse painting, and today i am hoping to find a white frame to fit her.  next to her is my mother's wasp nest, sitting silently under its clear glass cloche, and dangled from the top of that cloche is a mother of pearl rosary with a star.  an accidental altar.  there is a mirror to her right, dangling a star or two of its own - one is silver metal, hanging by a piece of pale green velvet ribbon i saved from a christmas present; the other is a smaller star, a gift from years ago, handmade of thin tin, hanging by a wire.  a string of stars, all white, drapes across the cow skull that hangs higher on the wall and there is a white candle on the shelf below the mirror;  a reflection of empty trees and white daylight is in the mirror itself.  i have the front door open, my feet are bare, and there is a fire in the heater.

the streets are sunday silent - it is after church mealtime - and byron has raked the leaves from his yard.  my phone says it is 55°.  this morning's damp sidewalk is now dry and squirrels are everywhere, teasing the cats.  the sky could not be more blue, though the forecast says partly cloudy.  january, less than one week in.



  1. A word painting, making a frame around Miz Katie's painting ( which I love)
    All those stars, twinkling.... I am laughing at the idea of wearing shorts. Brrrr.....
    This is wonderful.

  2. Even on a sunny day the sky here struggles to get past white only to be the palest of blue. Our January sky, sans the shorts.

  3. oh, i love the birthday painting. and in your words can see your arrangement clearly.


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