“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


i'm not here. i'm over there.

not sure why.

i think i just needed a change.  that simple.

it is the end of may, late afternoon sun still in the sky.  a bit past 7, night on its way.  i want to say i'm not the same woman i was back in 2008, back when i began, and i'm not, but i am.  i am just more easily exhausted these years down the road.

tonight the moon is hanging half full, golden in a black late spring sky.  clouds flitter about.

i'm here, and i think i'm gonna stay:  http://www.smithkaichjones.com/

muchas gracias & smooches!



lesson 1. again.

a tree fell last week. the across the street one that stood next to the tulip tree. a neighbor tells me it was a sugar maple, but he could be wrong.  he tells me lots of things and i take most of them with a grain of salt, but he's often surprisingly right, so who knows? not i, but i will take him at his word this time. it was the 2nd part of a tree, it being one of those double-trunked trees, at one time spreading like a V from the ground up.  the first part fell a long while back.

the tulip tree had bloomed and was covered in pink flowers, the ground beneath it a pink shadow of fallen blossoms, and so i looked that way more than usual. it is just past the hackberry that stands in our yard, part of my everyday view.  my breakfast partner.  and for weeks it - the sugar maple - had been signalling a goodbye. something would catch the corner of my eye, a small movement, a sigh, something, something - how do i know what it was, mere mortal that i am? - and i would look up to find the tree still. silent. weathering the remains of winter.  and i would return to my cheerios or my book, feeling odd, uneasy.  silly.  a little crazy, especially after 3 or 4 weeks of somethings. i mentioned it to no one.

i swear this to be true.

it was always something near the ground, at the ground, that hint of movement, that wave of adios. at the scar where once its other half was attached. i always looked again, and sometimes it happened again, quickly, catching my eye again in a second, but always, always, it stood still when i turned. sometimes days would go by and i would forget, and then. again. a something of a movement. a squirrel's tail, i would tell myself, circling the trunk. a leaf, i would think, blowing in the cold wind.

in truth? a long goodbye. a slow beginning to the end.  last week i came home to find it sprawled across my neighbor's open yard, half the tulip tree gone also.  and i knew at last it had been falling for weeks.

today the tulip tree stands smaller, but stands.
the sky is clouded white.



insert curse words all over the page

it is one of those zippers that will not stay zipped,
every time i move, it comes undone;
i have said "god! this zipper!" a thousand times today
and it is not yet noon. 

the circles under my eyes are the circles you get after 50,
never mind that you get enough sleep
 they are allergies and inherited and after 50
they stay longer into the day
and it is not yet noon.

these socks fall like that zipper, 
i have crinkled another nail,
it is too hot and then too cold,
and it is not yet noon.


for kelly,
who has declared today
The Most Annoying of Days in the History of All Days.


february in bits and pieces

seems to me the truth isn't that hard to find.  it's hanging from the trees, blooming blossoming, soon dropping to the ground.  it's biting into a granny smith apple.  it's three hawks fast swooping sideways past my door a few mornings ago, flashing me their bellies.  it's the quiet of all the other birds, silent until the hawks are gone, then bursting into the sky as a flock of cardinals.

stop looking for the truth and just look.


february has been a small month of small sentences and thoughts.
i manage to write a line or two each day.

from the first day: it has just turned february, the month when the days can't decide what to do.  an in betweener for us - a fire lit this morning, not needed by the weekend.  a week later: the sky goes lavender on its way to dark. a week into february with open doors and a small fire in the heater.  a week after that, i squoosh a few days into this: monday:  the wind is singing a chilly song of february, slinging small stones and twigs and bits of leaves against the doors and windows.  the glass creaks in protest and surrender, the cat twitches in her sleep, dreams disturbed almost to waking. the morning birds are silent. thursday: we are warm.  flipflops, heaters off, windows open.  the night sky clear.  jingle bell cat a white presence in the darkness.  i can't sleep and can't read.


my morning pages say more.  i read my sloppy handwriting and see that i mentioned the sound of a woodpecker drilling into the top of the bat house, high in the hackberry tree.  it echoed hollow and almost desperate across the yard.  i see i wrote about the changing weather, the air colder than it looked, then suddenly warm.  i wrote about empty canvases, told myself to write about now, not then or when, but found that hard to do and mentioned my still empty childhood dreams. the pages are full of emptiness.


february. northeast texas.  anything can happen.

it's still winter, and i will be reminded of that, but right now we are rain and pink and the doors are still open, though barely barely.  there are robins in puddles.  last friday was sunshine and pink and warmth, the spring before spring, but the sun fell into night, once, twice, and by sunday we awoke to rain. paperwhites are blooming in huge fat bunches and if i stand in the middle of the street, there are tulip trees as far as i can see.  i like to stand inside their branches when i take photographs - it feels like fairy tales.

the rain moves past, only for a while, and suddenly the birds are loud songs in the trees.
songs of now.



one month down the road, across the sky

i close my eyes for 30 seconds, the better to see in the dark when they are opened.
i count the 30 seconds slowly.

we are past the full moon by a few days.  i remember the light across my bedroom floor and across the back porch. once upon a time, and not that long ago, i couldn't sleep through a full moon, but lately i just close my eyes and the moonlight lets me go.

this weekend has been warm.  i light the fire only when darkness has well and truly risen, when the ice in my drink begins to send a chill to my bones.  when the cat finds me on the couch and falls asleep tight against my thigh. night takes longer to arrive, and my body feels that and is grateful.


tomorrow is february and tonight tries to be windy.
january putting on his goodbye clothes, ready to slip away.

the months hang in the sky like hidden planets;
they know we know.
but they need their sleep and they need their dreams,
and they wish us goodnight, one at a time.



from where the stories come

yesterday's trees leaning against the true cold sky.

there were robins and rain and enchiladas in the late afternoon.  wind against our faces, coats flying behind us, following us.  i remember the warm blueness of a stranger's eyes.  this morning was frost painted across the winter grass, the trees leaning against sunshine and a sky that matched those eyes, but cold.  robins again, swooping past the door, dropping into the creek.  a streak of cardinal here and there.

i've done nothing i'd planned.  laundry waits in silence.  the cat, asleep in front of the fire, wakes fast when a bird bounces into the glass of the door - it was just a matter of time; they are drunk on the day and winter berries - and now stands guard, awaiting another.

the house stays cool, so i have moved the furniture, the couch now angled and closer to the heat and fire. the curtains that separate the kitchen and dining/art area loosened, untied, enclosing.  the floor, damaged still and again from last year's floods, needs new paint and repairs, but i am lazy with the weather and books to read.


"Everything we say is a story.
But nothing we say is just a story."
                                                       ~ Anne Fortier / Juliet

i write, and then i don't.  the words come out a sentence at a time, and i pick up a pen and write them down, or type them into my phone, always with intentions to use them, with faith that more will come.  with faith that when once used they will remind me of moments of days i have long forgotten. 

katie and i were talking yesterday, tossing out ideas and opinions, driving through the cold, laughing at our silliness, knowing that the courage to be silly, to say right out loud the stuff that seems crazy or wrong or broken, is how you get to where you want to be. so i type these words in all their vagueness, in the way they feel against my heart and hand, underpainting.  i will come back one day and read about the wind and our coats and i will remember the stairs we climbed, how i tried in vain to keep the collar of my coat against my left ear.  i will recall the cold of the stair rails, how my feet seemed clumsy on the concrete.  i will feel once again the easing of the wind as we reached the upper floor, and its returning fierceness as we headed back down.  

it is a nothing story, just a bit of a day, but i will see the colors, she in coral pink, me in black, my coat the wings of a wounded crow, not able, not yet, to jump to the sky.  i will see my boots, the brown toes scuffed away to the bare leather.  i will feel the smallness of the rain as we raced to her car.

The colors of the underpainting can be optically mingled with the subsequent overpainting,
without the danger of the colors physically blending and becoming muddy.
If underpainting is done properly, it facilitates overpainting.
If it seems that one has to fight to obscure the underpainting,
it is a sign that it was not done properly.
                                                                    ~ Wikipedia


the television moves from whatever movie was on to six days, seven nights.  i leave it on, sound off, for no other reason than the colors of the hospital at the end.  i open the door and let the cat outside, but the birds are all gone and the cold drives her back inside, back to her spot in front of the fire.  she is almost asleep.  

i buy more candles to light against the darkness.



done. the end of the year of too much.

months ago i found myself searching for the smaller things, the sweeter.  the less.  the softer.  the even more imperfect.  i passed by the overdone, the loud, the too bright.  by thanksgiving, katie had strung the calmest of lights across the back porch, across two of my back windows, just small pieces of color, and i would come home to find home already easy for the evening, the light a welcoming silence. i'd light one candle in the bedroom, two more in the front rooms, and when winter at last grew cool enough, i lit the heater and the cat would settle in front of the flames.  even lamplight seemed too much, too noisy.


new year's day.

a gray sky, the reflection of a flock of birds circling across the windshield of the jeep.  i turn to the sky to find it, but too late.  the house across the street has been sold, and the new owner has cut down all the camellia trees, their blossoms now gone, my view now open to the yard of the house beyond. a dog streaks across that yard and disappears.

we stand in the middle of new beginnings.  always.  every day, every morning, every moment.  i once believed those new beginnings were blank slates, but i am older and maybe wiser, and now understand the slate is old and has been erased a million times, that the dust of all my days is still there.  i erase anyway.