“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


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.