“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


how the morning moves

it starts slowly,
with achy knees and a yowling cat, and, if lucky, with sunshine.
it needs a hug, dragging last night's dreams into the daylight.
it moves at the sunday speed of life.

this tree.  last weekend in the rain, this weekend in the sun, hips curving a welcome to the tulip tree bursting with early buds.  a texas january, each weekend new.  from freezing to warm and then back again.  swaying this way and that.

this day starts with unseen crows, a sound against the sky.  i open the door and there is a singing bird i can't name, its song drifting past me, its last notes dropping into the house.  feng shui, east texas style.


what do you really want?, she'd asked me.  i had to think.  a house in the woods, i eventually said, or no, a house in the country, near the woods.  she didn't laugh, but when we finished talking, i walked through the early evening, the last of the christmas lights almost gone, and i thought maybe not.  my favorite lights were still up, white lights teeter tottering along the sidewalks and the path to a front porch.  where in the country near the woods would i find such lights?  would it matter?  it would, i think, but maybe not.  would wild flowers be a replacement, could i wait for spring?

i passed the lights, a drizzle of rain dotting the sidewalk, streetlights casting shadows of trees before me, moving with me, with each step, and i fell into not thinking.


last night i dreamed of death and a bridal cake, plain with white frosting.  the crows that woke me flew into my dream and out, black wings against my face.  i remember nothing else but the sunshine against the window when i opened my eyes.


photo textures by kim klassen.  i used a ton.  


he told stories

i was reminded of my grandmother, of the story told to me, of the time they came to repossess her cow, and she met them at the gate with a shotgun and said no.  said she would catch up on the bill, but there were children to be fed, so no.  and they walked away, because the secret about the time of no rules is that there were rules, but there was also compassion and common sense.  (it was like the law of maycomb, alabama, in the book to kill a mockingbird, looking the other way when bob ewell hunted out of season, because they knew he drank away what money he got, because they knew his kids would starve if they enforced the laws.)  now, i'm not comparing my grandmother to bob ewell, not in any way whatsoever, but the family had fallen on hard times; my grandfather was working, and she was growing food and tending the chickens and livestock, but there were 16 kids, more or less, and no way was she letting that cow go without a fight, and eventually, just as she said, she paid it off and it was hers.


he also told a story about a deer with a bell around its neck,
but i will save that for another time.
it's a good one.



the lost light of stars

the lights in my neighbor's window hang like planets across the sky.  one has gone out, flickered into nothingness, star instead of planet, its light shattered into pieces and darkness, scattered everywhere and nowhere.  i like to think it is hidden across her house, between the floorboards, fingerprinted on the doorknobs and windowpanes, that it will show up when she needs it most. tiny night lights in the darkest of times, guides marking her map, starlight waiting to be wished upon.

new year's day, rainy, late afternoon.  a fat mockingbird perched in the empty winter dogwood; on the other side of the house, a neighbor's cat sat silent on the sill of an open window. the cat who lives here crouched low in the hallway, watching, about to pounce.  they don't have calendars; life just goes on. 

after the pounce, a nap by the fire.


today the rain is at last gone.  sunday.  the colors are soft, faded from the days of wet and wind. fat bunches of paperwhites have appeared, stalks only, blooms a promise yet to come, and there is still one last leaf atop a small wild tree growing from the side of the creek.  the wind is hard today, and colder, and the leaf only now shows brown around its edges, brown fading into yellow and then into the green it once was/still is.  i think every morning that today will be its last, but it has a strong heart, and stays.  today, though, surely. surely it cannot fight the wind another day.  were i a philosopher, i would find a lesson in that leaf not letting go, but i'm not, so i just sit on the couch and watch.  meditation with leaf in the wind. 



and just like that, gone. and just like that, here.

i blew out the old year and made a wish or two for the new.

do i want to talk about the old year?  no and yes.  do i feel i must?  i mustn't do anything but pay my bills and taxes. will i?  yes.  maybe.  i think so.  just a bit.  hmmmm . . .