Thursday, April 30, 2015


I had to ask a friend for the name of "that flower." I never knew it before. My mother, the gardener, called it a weed. It is only blue for awhile in the spring, but now I know it has a name. Now I know I can plant it and it will spread where it wills. It will light up the shade.

Every spring I encounter
Blue carpets
On stray lawns,
Blue I have to remember again
Each spring.
I have never lived in a house
With such blue.
When I grew up
The next door neighbor
Had a shady patch which blued
Each spring.
I didn’t encounter it again
Until a few years ago now
On a walk around some block
Now that blue appears
When we are late to church
And park a block and a half away.
I dreamed that blue last night,
A patch of flowers grew
In my living room.
When I looked out the back door
The blue covered the lawn,
A blue carpet
On my grass.
It was a Visitation
It was an Annunciation
It was Holy

I hear about the families

Families. We all have them.

I hear about the families:
The spouse
The children
The parents
The grandparents
The distant difficult relative
Who only appears
At Thanksgiving
Along with the turkey.
Hour after hour,
I hear about the families.
It is amazing
We all have them
Or people like them
They are woven with strands
Of similar DNA
If we look closely
We can see it
The blink of an eye
The tilt of the head
The turn of a phrase.
Some appear nightly
Some only at Thanksgiving
Along with the turkey.
I hear about the families
The client who did not
Want to meet with me:
I reminded him of a particular aunt
He preferred not to see.
He changed his mind.
I am grateful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Thinking like a blackbird.

On days like today
Somewhat warm
Somewhat sunny
Every redwing in his particular tree
Claiming his territory
(My beloved does
A fine redwing blackbird
I wish you could see it)
On days like today
I mark my territory
Stake my claim
Like every other blackbird
After my beloved goes to work
To mark his territory
Make his claim.
Tonight we will return
To the nest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Egg McMuffin

Rarely have I eaten something right. I even bought two so my beloved might share the experience. I figure one Egg McMuffin every five years or so might be allowed.

It has been years
Since an Egg McMuffin
Passed my lips,
Entered the system
God made
A system which will now
Need to figure
What to do with it
The Egg McMuffin
In all of its particularity
The Egg McMuffin
Which demanded a companion
Egg McMuffin
Nestled in its yellow wrapping
In the white fast food bag
A companion Egg McMuffin
For my beloved.

Monday, April 27, 2015


We all go as far as we can go. Sometimes we are propelled forward...despite ourselves.

A person near and dear to me
Got stuck at step two.
He was powerless
(He knew)
Somewhere there was hope
(He knew)
He never got to surrender.
He continued that two-step
Until he died.
I believe he gets it now.
I believe he was launched
The rest of the way.
He gets it.

Plans change

One more configuration for today. Why am I surprised?

Plans change.
They always do.
Sometimes they change
To something bigger,
Something smaller.
Of course size
Is relative.
Plans are sufficient
Unto the day,
Until they require change.
Then they’re not.
Sometimes new plans
Are called for;
Sometimes the plan
Is to capture
That extra moment
To ponder the cat
Sprawled asleep
In the sun.
Plans change.
They always do.
What was in
The original mind’s eye
Comes out the other side:

Sunday, April 26, 2015


My beloved thinks I have a great book idea here: How To Get the Most Out of Whining. He says it would be a bestseller.

When I whine it seems
A new client shows up.
Ha ha, God. Ha Ha.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rhubarb says

Once again the rhubarb has emerged in the garden bed... first looking more recognizable. Spring is still doing its thing...a patch of warm, then frost, then warmer. Rhubarb says: That's just the way of spring. That's its way.

Rhubarb says
It’s not too cold for me
Once I begin spring growth
I follow through
As sure as rain and sun
As sure as the grass
Grows with me
As sure as the clematis
On the front porch pillar.

Rhubarb says
It’s a promise
You know
It’s a promise
And promises will eventually
Be kept.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gold string

I remember a Christmas, long ago now, me, a single mom with a three year old boy: blonde and beautiful with wonder. His favorite gift that year came off of a present...a piece of gold string. He ran through the house, the string behind him: My "tite" My "tite"  Later the string became part of an intricate series of traps. Gold string. Who knew?

Gold string:
I remember the small boy
Running…it’s my kite!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Over soup

I'm reminded of a line from a song by Larry Norman: This earth is not my home. As I wait and watch for a new heaven and a new earth, I find certain comfortable places to hang out, realizing, of course, this too will pass.

Over soup
She reminds me
I have made my own niche
Or perhaps
It was waiting for me
A Catharine-sized hole
Maybe a nest
Maybe a spot
To inhabit.
Wherever I find myself
There I am,
And certainly
Most certainly
Someone will cross in front
Or behind.
I will say
There you are
There you are
I knew you were coming
Foxes have holes
Birds have nests
Sometimes I do too.
There is simply nowhere
To lay my head.
Sometimes everyone else
Seems to be asleep.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

And then some

Though I am not a listmaker out loud or on paper, I do confess to making lists in my head. I am still learning different ways. It's amazing what wings its way in an unstructured hour, when I do not name the limits.

She said
I usually have made a list
Of things to talk about.
I’ve been so busy today
I did not make a list.

That’s ok
That’s ok
Maybe we can wing it
I said
Just maybe
There may be a different way.

It’s amazing.
We filled the hour
And then some.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Up early

Things (and people) show growth as they are made to show growth. Sometimes it's curly growth. Up early today, witnessing the curliness of things.

Up early,
I learn the curly willow
Is up early
As well,
Lit by morning sun
Shadowed curly
On the living room carpet.
Up early
I learn
Pussy willows green
In a different order
Catkins first
Then comes green.
Up early
I write this
In its particular order,
Somewhat curly
In its own right.

Monday, April 20, 2015


This will be a very full week: more clients than usual, a day of continuing education, spring allergies, and a spinning head. Today I observe the cat and the curly willow on the front table.

I learn new pacing.
Tomorrow will be a combination
Of allergies,
A crowd of Christian mental health folk,
A minister or two
And my head,
Prone to spin
These days.
Today I focus
On the curly willow,
On the cat,
Curled in a ball,
Sound asleep,
One of his many
Morning naps.

Slowly I learn
New pacing.
Tomorrow I will be present
As I am able
I will curl as necessary
I will green like the willow
When it happens.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Different order

I wondered for days and days whether this was perhaps not a "forsythia year." Other years have brought forsythia gold before the green buds. This year they arrived together.

The trees and bushes greened
Before the forsythia
Popped gold.
Spring arrived
In different order.
Perhaps it is always
In different order,
But I don’t notice.
On the front table
The pussy willow
The curly willow
Bud green
In the clear glass vase,
White root filaments
Beg to be planted
Out back
Next to the creek.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tiny houses

I continue to be fascinated with the tiny house movement, the paring down of belongings to take up the least amount of space. Sometimes, though, I do wonder if, in all the effort to go small, to make a small footprint, we fool ourselves. Not that the answer is big houses or the accumulation of more possessions, but simply that, we all live in tiny houses already, no matter how big our living room. Maybe the idea really is, by living tiny, we expand into life beyond our walls.

No matter how big 
Our living room, we all live
In tiny houses.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Sometimes particular dreams set up ripples, like stones thrown into a still pond. 

Years ago now
I dreamed I asked a friend
For the shirt off his back.
He wanted to give it to me
Try as he might
He couldn’t.
He pulled out shirt tail
After shirt tail
After shirt tail
Like endless magician’s scarves.
Months later
Driving home from blessing a house
I realized:
I get my own shirt!
Happy dance.
I get my own shirt?
I get my own shirt?!?
Now what?

Years ago I learned
I get my own shirt.

Now I sit with people
Talking about shirts.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Red purse

Sign of spring.

On a particularly bright spring day
We drove past a woman
She waited to cross the street
Paper bag in each hand.
Somehow she managed
To also swing
Her red purse.
There are many signs
Of spring
If we look.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Off the grid

Several Midwestern cities are gridded. How else would we know which direction we're going? Or even where we've come from? I did live in Boston for a couple years. There they speak of streets being old cow paths. The main streets are unlabeled. If you belong there... you know what they are. I grew up on the grid. I am learning to make my own grid, reorienting myself by the sun.

I grew up
On the grid.
Streets were oriented
North and South,
East and West.
North South streets were named
In alphabetical order.
When the alphabet ended,
It began again.
East and west
Were numbered.
For numbered streets
There is no end.
Now I live on a one block lane
With curves.
I am forever getting mixed up.
I reorient myself daily
By the sun.
In truth
I have been off the grid
For years.
The alphabet has way more
Than twenty six letters.
I have completely lost faith
In numbers.
I am gridless.
I reorient daily
By the sun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


My beloved and I... we barely make it to work out on Tuesday and Thursday at 9 AM. Still, we mostly make it. Now we are trying to add in a daily walk. Our trainer (the one we pay so we will feel guilty if we don't make it) would like us to keep track of our daily walks. This is a stretch.

When I awaken
I try to capture
The very first thought,
So the day
Has a clear beginning
Written down.
It will move on from there.
We have begun semi-daily walks.
Are you keeping track?
She asks,
The trainer who monitors us
Tuesday and Thursday mornings,
Are you keeping track?
How will you know
What you’ve done?
I am not a listmaker.
In the morning
I try to capture
That one thought
So it can move on
From there.

Monday, April 13, 2015


I am not looking forward to the next election, and the round after round after round of privileged folk being unaware of so much. I find it, well, interesting that countries with a poor track record in recognizing that women are 100 per cent human will elect a woman to lead their country.

So many people
Spell it wrong.
So many
Can’t claim it,
Much less
Spell it.
I wonder
If it’s so difficult to spell
In other languages
In other countries
On the moon
With no atmosphere

Sunday, April 12, 2015


New meaning for the term "Low Sunday."

We arrived an hour late.
We thought
We were early.
The church was still dressed
For Lent.
The six or seven people present
Eventually told us
They had changed the time
Of worship
The week before.
We got there
For announcements
About the lawn.
After a year and a half
Without a pastor,
They have formed
A search committee.
Is everything
Or perhaps

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I remember, as a child, hearing about all the starving children in other parts of the world. It was a ploy to get me to eat my breakfast, my lunch, my dinner. It was a ploy to get me to appreciate what I had: the spinach, the runny eggs, the canned button mushrooms I picked out of every spaghetti sauce my mother made. I am done with ploys, but still admit I have a few of my own. My children are grown. Then there's still me, thinking it is possible to box up my own needs, send them, like breakfast, to the starving children in other parts of the world. No. It's a ploy.

I box what I need
For those in need
On the other side of the world.
It does not help
Either one of us.

Friday, April 10, 2015


More pussy willow observations.

The catkins
On the very top
Of the pussy willow branches
Have sprouted
Fur upon fur
Pale yellow green fur
On the soft gray.
It begs for some new spring
Flying thing
To find it
For nourishment
For pollination
Maybe perhaps for both.
I realize
I do not know the life cycle
Of pussy willows,
One of the many many things
I do not know.
It remains an amazing thing
Of Spring.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Questions and answers

Sometimes I get trapped into thinking there is one right answer. 
Like the child listening to the children's homily preached by her pastor, being asked the question: What's brown and furry and has a long tail, and buries nuts for the winter? 
I know the answer is Jesus, says the child, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.
Do I have all I want? Do I have all I need?
Sometimes the answer comes the next day.
It's a squirrel.

We ask the right question
And then
Don’t wait
To hear
The answer.
Perhaps it is even
The right answer,
But we have moved on
To other interesting questions
Or figured
There wasn't an answer
Worth considering
To the first.
Sometimes someone else
Asks the question
And if we don’t have an answer
We make it up,
Get stuck in an endless loop
Of words
We wait for the next question
Perhaps we will have an answer,
A real answer,
To that one.

Yesterday I was asked if I had
All I wanted,
All I needed.
A good question.
I got stuck on the difference
Between wants and needs,
Got lost in the fog,
Spun the rest of the day.

This morning I woke up to rain,
Spring, greening, rain
Realized what I have
Is enough.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Weariness abides

Barometer has been wonky all day. Spring weather change coming on. I did not write this morning. Perhaps tomorrow will offer clear brain. If not, maybe Friday.

Weariness abides.
So much is gone of today.
Tomorrow I write.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


One Christmas years ago I ordered an interesting arrangement of red-barked boughs for my mother. She referred to them as "the sticks I sent her." As I recall, they had red berries on them as well. My mother only saw the sticks. I think of my mother every time I place sticks in a vase, and wait for what might come: sticks with potential. I figure now she sees potential everywhere.

Every spring
I harvest sticks
With potential:
Pussy willow
Curly willow,
With potential green,
Possible leaves.
I keep the sticks in vases
Filled with water,
Trim the bottoms
So the water
Will rise.

As the world greens outside,
My sticks green
I need reminders
Everywhere I look.
All it takes
Is a bud
A shoot
A leaf, maybe two.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Now. Here. This.

I love to listen to Krista Tippett's On Being. Saturday's show was a repeat of an interview with Greg Boyle, a Jesuit who works with gangs in Los Angeles. He speaks of preparing for each encounter with this breath prayer: Now. Here. This. to remind him to remain present for this one moment in time, this one encounter. I like it. Now. Here. This. It allows me to hand out business cards, plant a seed, and maybe, just maybe, work with that person... eventually.

I have,
Learned to carry business cards
In every pocket,
Leave them outside
My office door.
I hear you’re good
She says.
I wonder who told her,
But that is not
For casual conversation.
I am,
People may take my card,
Gratefully even,
Fold it over in their wallet
And perhaps
Only perhaps
Call me in a year or two
When they’re ready.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Easter afternoon nap. The next liturgy.

Even with no liturgies planned
No liturgies executed
I am lulled into watching
Egg hunts
In the spring sun.
I close my eyes in the warm rays
Drift into the nap
I have not earned
This Holy Week.
The liturgy of Easter Sunday afternoon
Calls for a nap
Like no other,
A nap
Of large proportion,
In keeping
With the culmination
Of Holy Week.
A Holy Nap.
A Nap of Alleluias
Without end.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday 2015

So like Him.

On this beautiful blue day
They say
Jesus is down
Evacuating Hell.
What’s the Son of Man to do?
Twiddle his thumbs?
Play Gin Rummy,
Or even
Go Fish
With the Heavenly Host?
What’s a guy to do
With this free Saturday
Like no other Saturday
This free blue beautiful day?
So like Him
To throw open
The gates of Hell,
Invite absolutely everyone
To the Resurrection Party

Friday, April 3, 2015

This is what I do now

This becomes less difficult as time goes on. As I remind my clients, I remind myself:  such change takes time and practice.

I remind myself
This is what I do now:
Pray around the edges
(Not in front)
This is what I do now:
Sit in the middle of things
(Without directing)
This is what I do now:
Stand on the edges
(Without resentment)
Encourage from the spaces
In between.
This is what I do now:
Speak occasionally
If necessary.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday 2015

Like all those familiar plays, we know how this one goes. I think we each play a different part every year. This year I am that unnamed young man in Mark who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden. No. I have no idea what this means.

We know how this story ends
Or perhaps
Begins again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The measure of things

It is Wednesday in Holy Week. I do like spring but these days all my measures are off-kilter. When my brain comes up with sphygmometer and I look it up (ain't Google wonderful), I find it's the technical word for a blood pressure cuff. Oh yeah, that's been off too. Still, my brain is working. Way to go, brain.

Finally spring weather.
This will take
A reorientation
Not a bad one but still
Change comes harder these days
My brain moves
With the barometer
With the thermometer
Even it seems
With the odometer.
Out of the depths
My brain comes up with
I had to look up
The meaning.
I must have learned it somewhere.
Way to go, brain,
Way to go.
All is not lost in this change
To spring.