Monday, March 31, 2014

Mackerel sky

Today I drive again.  My first venture was to the doctor to get blood drawn.  Hardly something to look forward to, but still... I traveled alone, listened to my choice of music.  On the way home I saw the mackerel sky.

Today I determine
When I leave,
When I return home.
The car travels the route
I determine.
Overhead the clouds
Mackerel sky
Mirror fish scales
Out of sight
In lakes and ponds,
Oceans and seas.
Today I swim
Determine the venue
How I will arrive
How I will leave
Road or stream
I see
Mackerel sky
Mackerel sky
The clouds proclaim
Endless possibility.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dreams melt

This weekend my dreams combined people from past parishes with my current parish, even as we were in Denver exploring possibilities for next year, and I celebrated year 59.  We are home now. The cat seems grateful.  I am grateful for another year of living, and looking forward to the coming year, even as I dream of  people and time and experiences melted together.  Maybe spring is finally here.  

Dreams melt
Pieces of history together
Like so many
Wax color crayons
Left in the sun.
People who have never met
Have rich engaging conversations
At night.
At night they even appear
Fast friends.
Dreams melt
Places and times together
Childhood trips to the beach
Take a single minute
End in mountain snow.
At night.
At night vacations
Meld the train trip to California
At age seven
With the time we rented a car
In our fifties.
Drove the hill country around L.A.
Me in the back seat
The GPS steering us in the wrong direction
For ice cream.
Dreams melt
Potentially disparate events
This weekend
We added Denver to the mix.
I wonder what night conversations
Will be included
By this crayon discovered
In the light of day.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rain in the night

This week has convinced me, once again, that everyone needs a witness, a listener to the song each of us is singing, whether we sing it well already, or whether it is simply a practice session, for now.

Rain in the night
Wet sidewalks this morning.
The cardinal sings
His spring song.
The robins hop hopeful
For worms.
We added new pussy willows
To the front table.
The weather map shows
Slightly higher temperatures.
There were turnings this week.
We are spending the weekend
In Denver,
Hopeful for spring
As the robins are,
Hopeful  for
More signs of new life.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No forsythia

Pussy willows are hopeful... but still... they're not forsythia.  

So far
It is not a good year
For forsythia.
Last year at this time
Everything was gray and wet
And oh so yellow
Even shining gold.
So far 
This year
No forsythia.
We have refreshed the pussy willows
On the front table,
Made do
With soft gray catkins
Blue sky
Brown lawn.
So far though
No forsythia.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


More snow.  Granted... it's not much, but still.... snow?  Really?  Again?

I heard a vendetta
Against snow
Last night,
The simple wrongness
Of it all.
She shoveled snow off her lawn
So it would melt on the driveway.
So often others say
So often others do
What I wish I had the chutzpah
To do. 
Today I consider
The vendetta
The poetic vendetta
As homage to spring.
My shovel awaits.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Life themes

I have a long list of things to wait for.  I also have a long list of things to celebrate now.  We fly out this weekend to look at one of the possible school choices.  The week is a quieter week for me, work-wise.  I plan to enjoy it.  The weather seems to have settled.  This helps my brain function better.  I am grateful.

When I look at
Life themes
Waiting is one the major ones.
Even as I say
Now is just as important
Now is more important even
I am convinced
Only a little.
Even now I wait,
Expectant to drive
Next Monday.
Even now I wait
For all the colleges in the world
To clamor
For my daughter’s presence.
Even now I wait
For a more full spring
For a fuller greening
Than this one hinted
Before my eyes
Even now.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lenten Saturdays

We have often commented on the ubiquitous Lenten Friday fish fry, restaurants filled with people eating fish.  It was not until yesterday that we discovered the Lenten Saturday throwback at Outback Steakhouse, or the subsequent lack of a wait at the local fish restaurant.  New discoveries await.

Where we eat out
On Saturday night
In Lent
Was a challenge
Until we finally figured
The fish places
Would be empty.
Friday night is seasonally
Not safe
To frequent
Even meat locales.
Friday features
The All You Can Eat
Fish fry
The Lenten fish run
Restaurants full of people
Honoring the season
With fried fish
And tartar sauce.
On Saturday everyone
Eats red meat.
On Saturday night
In Lent
Red Lobster
Is the safest bet.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Roof guy

Decisions made over Saturday early morning coffee with the roof guy tromping overhead.

The roof guy showed
A half hour early
On the only morning this week
We could sleep.
There’s nothing like a ladder
Next to the bedroom window,
Foot thumps
On a Saturday morning.

Over coffee we weigh
A new roof
New windows
Sending our last born
To college next year
Doing it
All at once.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The best revenge

With the death of Fred Phelps comes the wealth (or paucity) of thoughts on what he will find in heaven.  May he be embraced and wonderfully surprised at the embrace, as we all will be... embraced and surprised.  Good living is often hard, for all of us, to come by.

The best revenge
Is life well lived.
Good living is often hard
To come by.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First day of spring

I waited and waited for the cranes, but missed them this year.  Still I heard reports, and someone even said she thought of me when she saw and heard the cranes.  On this first day of spring, even with snow on the ground, that is enough sign for me.

I never did hear the cranes
But rather
Heard tell
They flew through
And indeed
Someone thought of me
When they did.
That will
Have to make do.
They flew through
Me with my windows shut.
Someone said
She always thinks of me and cranes
That is enough for me
To know spring
Is not a figment
This year.
Even with more snow on the ground
The cranes flew through
I never did hear them
But instead heard tell.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I write

This is finally a change I have awaited.  As is often the case with such things, I didn't know I was waiting for this particular change until it arrived.  But here it is.  Right in the middle of dizzying weather changes and learning to live with good brain/bad brain days.  Again I write.  And again I consider playing guitar again.

I write
More reflections on waiting
More reflections on watching
More reflections on paying attention
To the things I have missed
For months
Maybe even years.
I write again.
The days beg me
To write.
So I do.
The spring rain arrives
In the chill.
The seasons turn.
I turn.
I write because
The days simply beg me
To write.
So I do.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Facing forward

I am back to riding shotgun for the month of March.  I expect to drive again in April.  But for now I remember some of the best conversations happen with two people facing forward, eyes on the world, eyes on the road ahead.  It provides a different kind of catching up.  No matter who is driving.  No matter who is riding shotgun.

I find
Some of the best conversations
Are had
Both participants
Facing forward.
One driving
One riding shotgun
Both looking out
On the world.
This seems true
No matter the age
No matter the relationship.
I most always find
New things to hear,
New things to say,
Facing forward.
It matters not
Who drives
Who rides shotgun
There are always
New discoveries.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Evacuation Day

Just as Chicago has its celebration of Casimir Pulaski on March 3, Boston celebrates Evacuation Day on March 17.  This is the real reason the schools are closed and the bars are open and everyone wears green.

Today is conveniently the day
The British left Boston
To its own devices.
Everyone there claims a holiday
On this
Evacuation Day
The bars are filled
With people dressed in green
Shamrocks on their lapels
On this convenient day
When the British
Went home.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chronological spring

It feels different today.  OK, the anti-depressant helps a ton.  I could be the poster child for this medication.  But still.  It feels different today.  The snow dust feels like simple snow dust.  The cold feels temporary.  The light indeed slants different.  The animals put on the behavior of spring. Chronological spring arrives in less than a week.  I think it may actually come.

Perhaps it’s the date
Chronological spring
Just around the corner
There was a dust of snow last night
It is cold today
But sure
The light slants different
Chronological spring
Looms large
The doors open
To snow melted
Grass uncovered
The squirrels in back
Play leap and chase
No snow dust or cold
Deter the sure progression
Chronological spring
Will have its way
Chronological spring
Will surely
Have its way.

Friday, March 14, 2014


This begs the question:  What is hypomania for a born and bred Minnesotan?  Tomorrow will be round three in adventures in an anti-depressant.  Round two has me feeling pretty good.  I suspect round three will have me feeling even better.

There is no blood test
For this medication,
No blood pressure cuff
To indicate
The exact proper dose.
He says the indication
Of too much anti-depressant
Is possibly
You are a long way from there
He says
A long way.
A little hypomania
Sounds like a good thing
To both of us.
I am from Minnesota:
The land of pretty good
Good enough.
There is no blood test
For this medication,
No brain cuff to determine
My mood
And thus
An exact proper dose.
I consider hypomania
Then cutting back
Just a smidge.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Last hurrah, last gasp

It's time.  Today feels like the last snow, or perhaps, just perhaps, the next to last snow.  I wait for the cranes.  A couple of robins have already appeared.  The time change shows things in a new, one hour later, light.

This I think
Is winter’s last hurrah.
It promises to melt
Tomorrow and the next day.
Anything more
Will count as a last gasp
As cranes fly through,
Robins stamp their feet
On snowmelt ground,
Demand worms
To surface,
Cock their heads
For the rising
Of the worms.
The breathing of the earth
Once again.
The inhale
The exhale
The scent of rotting leaves
Left behind
By the last hurrah
The last gasp
Before everything begins again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My window is open

Facebook brings news of sand hills winging north in Indiana and Michigan.  My window is open. No cranes yet here is my part of Illinois.  Still.  My window is open.

I wait for the sand hill cranes
With the window open.
I need external signs
Of spring,
So I wait
Window open.
The snow melts.
There is more snow to come tonight.
But the cranes
The cranes
Have been heard
In Indiana and Michigan.
My window is open.
I await the cranes
High up.
My window
Is open.

Monday, March 10, 2014

We all wait for green

I wait on the world to change, along with everyone and everyTHING else.   This winter has been my first conscious venture in depression.  With help, therapeutic and chemical, I watch the ice melt off the burning bush and anticipate green.

Through the snow:
A patch of brown grass
Next to the ash tree.
The ice has melted
Off the bare burning bush.
There is mud
On the driveway.
I too
Am brown and bare
And muddy.
We all
Wait for green.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Birthday announcement

Sound asleep, I heard the voice on my phone proclaiming a text from my son.  Fuzzily I tried to answer out loud.  It's a text, said the sleepy voice next to me.  It's a text.

The phone is set
To announce messages
In a tinny female voice.
She woke me this morning
From dream-filled sleep
Proclaimed a text
From my son.
He thanked me
For his birth and life
At the end of his 26th year
It’s been a good life
He wrote.
I remember it was warm
The day before he was born
One of the first warm days
Of spring
No snow on the ground
It was warm
I tell you
His dad and I walked
Around the campus
At the University of Chicago.
We hoped to bring on
Those first pains
Of labor.
He was born the next day
Exactly on his due date,
27 years ago.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Lent means spring and Lent comes late this year.  Real spring seems even later.  The time change comes this weekend.  Saving daylight with snow still on the ground seems somehow, well, wrong. But there it is.  I look for reminders.  The light has indeed begun to change   I found pussy willows at the store a couple weeks ago.  I coax them along, trim their bottoms, change their water, hope for a hint of green.

Today a whiff of warm,
Even with snow still on the ground.
I have rearranged the pussy willow branches
On the front table,
Trimmed the bottoms,
Scrubbed the glass,
Changed the water.
God willing the branches will last
Until the snow melts,
Enough catkins holding tight
To the stems,
Maybe even a leaf or two
To carry us over
To crocus
Beside the front door.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts (the song) runs through my head today.  I am not at church, being on another driving hiatus.  I will go to church tonight for the Ash Wednesday liturgy to mark the beginning of Lent. Already I feel the changes, the turning and returning, the bowing and bending unlike anything I remember from before.  I think my Lenten journey has been marked out for me.  All that matters is placing one foot in front of the other.  A simple dance.  A simple gift.

I am home bowing and bending
I watch the way life
Has turned
And turned again.
Tonight I will be reminded
I am dust,
To dust I will return.
This is the gift
For today.
A simple gift.
It is one gift
Of oh so many.

Monday, March 3, 2014


I have long suspected my nerves are differently ordered.  Here's proof.

This morning the dentist told me
I am part of the 30 per cent.
The nerve
Under my right lower wisdom tooth
Runs in a different channel
Than 70 per cent
Of the world.
I am home now
Numb jawed.
I sip coffee
From the left side
Of my face,
Hope it makes it
Down my throat.