“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


conversations and grace and the patterns of life

i looked up last night and saw the moon.  the dogwood tree around the corner of the house is blooming and there among its branches hung the moon and a few stars, as comfortably at home as those new blossoms;  i am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together,  my favorite line ever in a song i think, so perfectly perfect and true.  today the stars are fast asleep, daylight hanging cold and bright from those branches like tangled jewels.

i had pizza for breakfast, one of those small ones made for just one person, and instead of using a real plate, i was lazy and used a styrofoam plate, politically incorrect though it may be, not-self-nurturing though it may be (though i would argue that not needing to wash a dish is a different form of self nurturing, as powerful as pizza on a beautiful plate), and the pizza cutter grooved a star in the styrofoam.

there is an accidental tree outside my bathroom window, only there because when it first appeared i mistook it for the plumbago we'd carelessly mowed down the year before and let it grow and within a year it was obviously a tree; two years later it hovers outside the window, still thin, but tall.  when i open the curtains each morning it peeks in at me and this morning the leaf buds hung on the branches like raindrops.


it was a conversation and she said
I am ok. Which is pretty cool since the plumber just left from repairing this flooding leak under cement (I couldn't really not fix it . . . ) taking half of my mortgage payment with him . .  And my stove is broken, so I can't cook, & my front door broke . . .  And I feel really calm right now.  Who'd've thunk it?  Yay for acts of grace.
and i said
I guess at a certain point grace is what we are left with.  I will share my broken window with you.

i am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together . . .


i can hear this windy day tapping against that broken window,
can see it blowing sunshine into the sweet gum tree.
the gumballs are dark circles against the leaves and light and blue sky
and the clouds are movements of white.



you forgot to mention you flew

when you said wings
i misunderstood
and looked for birds.

it was cold and i was counting the days to christmas,
buttoning my coat against the wind -
you forgot to mention the wind -
i was watching the birdless sky and memorizing clouds -
there was one that reminded me of you,
a bicycle spinning high above the horizon,
white against gray -
and i almost looked away,
i almost closed my eyes against all that space,
thinking of cookies to be baked and gifts to be bought,
of the patches of ice frosting too many puddles -
you forgot to mention the recent rains -
and i adjusted my gloves and sighed into the morning's emptiness,
when you stumbled into the air and flew.

i was looking for birds.  i misunderstood.


in response to today's prompt at dverse poetics:
a conversation with someone famous or historical.


let me make you a present of song: the scintilla project, day 9. a day late

really don't mind if you sit this one out . . .

what is the longest thing you know by heart (poem, speech, prayer, commercial jingle)?
why did you learn it?
the scintilla project, day 9.  a day late.


by jethro tull.

spin me back down the years and the days of my youth . . .

it was my last year of high school and it was the summer after that last year.

it was arizona summer nights and driving through the darkness with the song, all 40 some odd minutes of it, on 8 track tapes, and singing it, all of us, always a car full of friends, singing it.  it was the soundtrack at parties remembered through smoky hazes, and the album having to be turned over to side 2 to finish the song .  i was dating someone who fancied himself a singer.

see there!  a son is born -- and we pronounce him fit to fight . . . 

it was also the year of school's out  by alice cooper, which had particular scary/gleeful meaning for those of us who'd graduated from childhood into impending real life adulthood and had decisions to make - college? time out? jobs?  easier choices for us girls - the boys i knew, now men, had little time to play.  it was college or be drafted, or join the military.  it was the last year men would  be drafted, though i'm not sure we realized that at the time.  the boys born a year earlier than me were the last to be called, and those were the boys my girlfriends and i dated, those boys and the ones even older.  most were already in college, but some were on their way to war, and some were home on leave.  it was summertime, and they came and went.

and we?  we sang and we laughed and we sprawled across the warm hoods of cars under the heat of stars and drank beer and laughed and clung fast to the last of our carefree days.  we wore jeans cut off to there and we smooched and we sang.  it was also the summer of stairway to heaven,  and we were reading or re-reading lord of the rings, and some of us fancied ourselves writers.  we sang everything out loud and we danced in the desert or in our parents' deserted living rooms.  we sang to the stones and steely dan and van morrison.  we sang to bowie and the doobie brothers and neil young.  we sang stories.

and perhaps that's why thick as a brick.  it was full of stories, and even knowing what i know now, that ian anderson wrote it as a parody, a joke, a message to critics and rock stars who took themselves too seriously, makes no difference.  anderson was a storyteller, and whether he knew it or meant it or not, in the summer of '72, when the world was a much scarier place than it is today, when you were 18 or 17 or 22, and you could see vietnam on your television every night and from the corners of your young eyes, he gave you stories you could sing.

but i am overthinking.  it was just a song.

and the poet lifts his pen while the soldier sheaths his sword . . .


post title  & centered italics from thick as a brick


saying no: the scintilla project, day 3

sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
write about a time you taught someone a lesson you didn't want to teach.


it has never happened.

there have never been children to be grounded.  cats and dogs walk all over me.  i am the wussiest of all wussies.  even now, even in the thinking of have i ever wanted to?,  and finding yes for an answer, i know i won't.  even now, in the thinking of the times of almost,  i laugh at myself.  those almost times would've made situations harder for others, never for the person for whom the lesson would've been intended.  and so.  i haven't.

am i overdue?  when i began to type these words, i thought yes, but here at this sentence, i think no.  i feel no need to teach anyone anything.  i have grown to accept less . . . wrongs . . . from people, but there is no point in pressing the point.  i have learned to say no, but that was a lesson for me.



getting lost: the scintilla project,day 2

tell a story about something interesting that happened to you,
but tell it in the form of an instruction manual 

how to find the arizona biosphere without even trying.
in 30 steps.

  1. fly to tucson - ignore the worst turbulence ever.  sip a coke, do crossword puzzles with black ink.
  2. rent a car.  lose it in the hotel parking lot because all the cars look the same.
  3. thank the powers that be when you find it, and thank them for the perfect late spring day.
  4. drive northeast, thinking you still know the way to sabino canyon, oasis of your teenage years.
  5. forget the way and unwittingly head into the santa catalinas, the mountains of those same years.
  6. get lost.
  7. get loster.
  8. doublecheck the gas tank and thank the powers that be for full.
  9. thank the powers that be for sunshine and those blue arizona skies full of white arizona clouds.
  10. drive slowly, just you and he and this road and no one else for hours.  savor that solitude.
  11. watch the gas tank. 
  12. look up and realize you are now on the backside of those mountains, where you, who lived there for years, can never remember being.  
  13. thank the powers that be.
  14. stop the car in the middle of the road.  do this often.  
  15. scramble up and down small hills and valleys.  do this often.
  16. thank the powers that be that you brought the medium format camera and plenty of film.
  17. take pictures.
  18. take more pictures.  
  19. drive.
  20. wander and wonder.
  21. thank the powers that be.
  22. follow the road further, now heading northwest with mt. lemmon on your left.  know for a certain fact that you have never been here before.  revel in that knowledge.
  23. talk.  sit in contented silence in the passenger seat.  talk some more.
  24. exhale.  
  25. understand deep in your soul that being lost with this man is so much more than knowing where you are with others.
  26. check the gas tank.
  27. follow the road.
  28. when you see a sign that points the way to the biosphere, laugh with surprise and delight.
  29. follow that sign.
  30. thank the powers that be.


50 movies for the year of 50 things

my second list:  part of kelly's year of 50 things.  it was harder than i'd expected and it is all over the place and in no particular order, excepting #1.  # 6 would not have been here 2 weeks ago, but then i watched it.

what surprised me is how few chick flicks made the final cut.  they are the movies i usually lean on when stressed or tired, and i'm guessing that's because they make me think the least, though to be fair, they make me think the least because i've seen them so many times.  like practical magic  and under the tuscan sun  and little women  (the winona ryder version).  jimmy stewart is on my list 3 times, as is russell crowe.  atticus finch and the dude.  shirley valentine's husband is king theoden in lord of the rings.   women wear the highest of heels and wield the strongest of swords.  there is a lot of looking for and protection of freedom.  several are about language and communication.  lost in translation  would probably be #51.

  1. it's a wonderful life  -  because zuzu's petals
  2. the philadelphia story  -  because jimmy stewart drunk and cary grant
  3. l.a. confidential  -  because russell crowe made me forget he was russell crowe
  4. lord of the rings (the trilogy)
  5. the big sleep
  6. beasts of the southern wild
  7. mystery train
  8. spanglish  -  because "ju gotta"
  9. braveheart  -  "freeeeeeeeeeedom!!!!!!"
  10. pulp fiction
  11. the big lebowski  -  because the dude
  12. hannah and her sisters
  13. out of africa  -  she had a farm  . . .
  14. water  -  because the scriptures say that widows have three options
  15. amelie
  16. chocolat
  17. the godfather
  18. captain corelli's mandolin  -  because love itself is what is left over
  19. lara croft tomb raider/ the cradle of life  -  because she  is the real  james bond
  20. harvey
  21. big night  -  because primo is an artist and i get it
  22. bull durham  -  " . . .  there are 108 beads in a catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball."
  23. the unbearable lightness of being
  24. to kill a mockingbird
  25. ferris bueller's day off
  26. witness
  27. gladiator  -  "imagine where you will be and it will be so."
  28. the devil wears prada  -  because "that's all" and "it's pretty!"
  29. harry potter (series)
  30. the king's speech
  31. the best years of our lives
  32. crouching tiger, hidden dragon
  33. shirley valentine  -  because running away
  34. field of dreams
  35. roman holiday
  36. cinema paradiso
  37. jaws
  38. the darjeeling limited
  39. the year of living dangerously
  40. adaptation
  41. close encounters of the third kind  -  because it's just a different language
  42. die hard  -  because alan rickman
  43. the princess bride
  44. love actually
  45. sense and sensibility
  46. to have and have not  -  "you know how to whistle, don't you?"
  47. cold mountain
  48. a good year
  49. oh brother, where art thou?  -  because a geographical oddity; 2 weeks from everywhere
  50. sideways
reds  should be on this list, all about eve.  meet me in st. louis.  the searchers.  educating rita.  and no doubt i am forgetting the best one of all, whatever it may be.

what are your  favorites?



a poem woke me at 5

and i scrambled the light on
and found the moleskine,
the thin one i accidentally started backwards and upside-down,
and i said the words out loud over and over until i found a pen,
until i wrote them down,
until the paper kind of smiled with their upward slanting imperfection.  

or perhaps it was the predawn songs of birds,
or the plopping open of pear tree blossoms,
a sound so soft it is cousin to poetry.
this new sunday morning blooms wet and late.



sometimes a pain is really a pain

there are blossoms outside, scattered across the ground, hanging from trees and fences and popping up out of the ground.  today is cold, sunny, windy, and skye cat is feeling not so well, staying close to me here on the couch, although it may be the wind; she hates windy weather.  mary lou from around the corner is walking past the door, all bundled up - long black coat, black hat, purple scarf, stick in hand to ward off any wild dogs that may come her way.


when i last posted here i said february was a womb and i was curled inside, not knowing how true those words would turn out to be.  i have been in bed, staring at the ceiling most of the days since, mostly seeing the flowers through the doors and windows, but to everything, turn, turn, turn . . . i am finally up and about just a bit, at last the knowledge of this past year's ongoing pain discovered - a compressed sciatic nerve.  not fun, no indeed, but a small procedure is scheduled later this month, and hopefully healing will begin.  i have learned a lesson or two.  1. i am a terrible patient when in pain.  2. crying sometimes helps.  3.  it isn't always emotions that make you hurt.

that #3 is a hard lesson for me to learn.  i always first quick-like-a-bunny blame myself, my life, my anxiety, my this or my that.  in my defense, i will admit it's usually true - insert smiley face here;  i am not feeling sorry for myself, am, in fact, laughing at myself for that truth.  it is, in fact, partly/mostly that anxiety that keeps me in that spot - i want so badly to be able to just fix everything myself, to just think a different way and the pain will go away.  i hate medical stuff, have such a near-phobia about it all that i don't want to hear the doctor say yes, right here, see that?  such silliness and too much facebook induced fear.

today i walked a couple of blocks around the neighborhood, some medicine in me helping me move.  that's how i know how cold it is out there.  i am nervous about the procedure, because that's the way i am, already imagining all the worst possible scenarios - not good self care, but i am not going to beat myself up about that, which is maybe a tiny bit of good  self care.  i cannot wait to feel better.

i only tell you this so you know where i've been.  i found myself unable to read much or write more than a line or two, spent most of my awake time watching movies or tv on the laptop.  pinteresting.  missing a lot of work and lilycat time.  i've not taken one picture.  if you knew how impressed i am with myself for that cold little walk today, you would laugh with me.  i felt almost human again.  :)


(perfect timing for this year's scintilla project.
a fortnight of storytelling.
i'll be there and you should too. 
it starts march 13.)