Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nothing like rain

Independence Day is almost upon us, and the corn is mostly not *knee-high by the Fourth of July.*  We drove out west to pick up our daughter from camp in Oregon yesterday (Illinois)(not the western state!), so we got to eyeball the progress of the corn.   It is still too dry for fireworks in a lot of places.  Still... it is amazing what a little rain can do for the spirit when no rain has been forthcoming.  The lawn is already a little greener.  

There is nothing like rain,
When rain has almost
Been forgotten;
Nothing like rain,
When it is almost
Childhood memory,
Puddles and splashes,
Face turned to the sky
Mouth open
To catch the drops;
Eyes peeled for greener grass;
Feet and ankles stretched
To walk there,
Feel the fresh between
The toes.
There is
Nothing like rain.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reminder of green

I am reminded again that life is always out the other side.  Sometimes it*s the slight green from a few drops of rain.  Sometimes it*s a friend who closes the blinds so I can see, weep my own few tears, find the hint of green on the other side.

Yesterday brought
Those few drops of rain,
Enough to bring the bare reminder
Of green
To the lawn.
The weather is out of whack
For late June.
The hints of life
Require a search
Through Colorado wildfires,
Early hurricanes
In the Gulf.
Yesterday I sat with a friend.
He closed the blinds
So I could see
Through my few tears,
To the ever-present reminder
Of green.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Six more months, at least

There is a possibility I will never drive again.  Third time around, there is a possibility.  It*s not a fluke of some sort.  I figure I*m getting practice in letting go.  Not easy, to be sure, but still... practice.  For at least six more months.

Six more months
At least
To figure how I will get
From here
To there
And back again.
Six more months
To learn the cracks
In the sidewalk,
The shortcut through the bank parking lot
To the drugstore.
Six more months
To learn the company
Of the people
Who live in assisted housing
Next to the train station.
Six more months
To live life smaller,
Realize once again
The things I missed
When I lived larger.
Six more months
At least
To learn the ins and outs,
The loops and whorls of my brain
As individual as a fingerprint.
At least six months.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Filling the fissures with gold

I suspect I will learn to make friends with this odd seizure disorder, to pace things differently, even to learn to fill the cracks with gold.  Third time around it is no longer a fluke, even an every nine month fluke.  I know it will take time to come to terms with this, shake hands, fill the fissures in my brain with gold.

I am more ready now
To honor the fissures
In my brain.
I am not quite ready
To name them beautiful,
Fill them with gold.
Two weeks ago
I stood next to the strawberries
In the supermarket,
I knew I could not drive home.
Third time around I knew
Something more
Something sooner
I paid attention.
This next six months
As I walk
I will learn
To fill the fissures with gold.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I am glad for this week

These are interesting times.  I took this week to begin to work my way back into things, post-third-seizure.  Today was half a workout, and time at church.  Slowly, in bits and pieces, I am figuring things out.  Interesting times, indeed.  I am glad for this week.  I am glad for the gift of time.

I am glad for this week,
To begin to figure the whys and wherefores,
The new ins and outs,
In safe spaces.
I am glad for this time
To listen.
To pay attention
To my brain
As it comes and goes;
To notice what enters in
From outside my head,
Even to notice
What remains
What stays alive
On the outskirts.
I am glad for this week,
For today,
Even for this moment.
I am glad
Even as I cannot predict
What will happen

Monday, June 25, 2012


I took this week off to get my bearings back.  It has begun well.  Somehow noticing more green after just a little bit of rain helps me know things are returning a bit to what they were.  This is hopeful.  I am grateful to notice.  Part of the noticing is the realization of a new homonym: palette, pallet, and palate.  Never thought of that one before :D

Today is brighter,
Yet somehow softer.
The tiny bit of rain yesterday
Added green to the palette
Of the browning lawn.
Today the spectrum
Of emotion expands
As well.
I see hope in the possibility
Of relationship
Contrast sprinkled
Into life,
More green in the palette,
More signs of possibility.
Brighter, yes,
Yet somehow

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to the cat

We have much to learn from the animals around us.  A mid-day siesta is not a bad idea.  Not a bad idea at all.

It is back to learning
From the cat.
He is ready
For the midday nap.
Eyes half-mast,
They invite the same
From me.
He tilts his head
For a scratch
Behind the right ear,
Now he tilts the other way,
My hand needs never to move.
Back to learn what I can
From the cat,
Sit in one place
Half-mast eyes
Anchor myself
Wait for the next thing,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lucky is coming your way

I figured I was due for a good fortune.

I don*t really believe
In fortune cookies
Except when I*m looking
For good news
Or perhaps
An explanation:
Lucky is coming your way
Lucky is coming your way.
It came with the wonton soup,
The potstickers,
The white sticky rice,
Lucky is coming your way.
I wonder what Lucky
Looks like.


OK.  This morning I read Dr. Kelly Flanagan*s blog on Life is a Mistake
Now that I know how this seizure thing goes (third time around), I realize I don*t have to put my life on hold (or even semi-hold) for the time I am not driving.  This time I knew standing next to the vegetables in the grocery store that I needed to call home for a ride.  An hour later the seizure came.  This is progress, though maybe not the ultimate progress I would like.  Still, life continues right along as normal.  Just as I sit with clients and friends sit with me, life helps us consider our old normal and new normal.  Sometimes we even need to ask for a ride.

Sometimes I think
Life needs to go on hold.
Really it continues right along
As normal.
It is only my normal
That is different.
Life continues right along
As it always does:
In season,
Out of season.
I am back into
No-driving season.
It means
Once again,
I will have to depend
On others
In a different stage
Of normal.
Life continues right along.
It always does.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I am working my way back into normalcy, whatever that is.  I have a gradual plan for the next week, by the end of which I aim to be re-calibrated.  Of course I*ll have to see how that goes.  My sweetie is helping me by pushing me a bit and holding me back a bit.  I, for once, am listening to him.  Meanwhile, regular life continues.  Once again I am on a hiatus from driving.  I*ve been here before.

I am not alone
In seeking equilibrium.
Today I practiced
On the new balance beam,
Monitored where I began to notice
The tipping point.
It is different this week
From last week
Or even
The week before that.
May even be
An illusion,
A balancing act I pretend to practice
On the floor.
Really I am always
At least sixty feet
Off the ground.
My toes grip the edge.
On the new balance beam
Equilibrium awaits

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Mayans

The Mayans never meant their calendar to predict the end of the world.  If all goes well, I will be able to drive in December.  For at least three months, maybe.  

The Mayans never meant
The world would end
In December.
It was just as far
As the calendar went.
Still we look for signs
Of the final
Written in stone.
The end of days
Written in stone.

We are not Mayan.
Yet even still
We hold the card
In our wallet
As possibility.
Come December
Most likely
We will find the new calendar
In the mail.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I am curious about these seizures every nine months.  They seem to coincide with the solstices.  First one: winter; second one: fall; third one: summer.  I think I will take a vacation next spring.  Yep.  March seems a good time to lay low.

Today marks
The longest day.
I do not feel
Like dancing,
Except perhaps
Dancing in place,
A slow singular circle
Of a dance.
There is more than one way
To enjoy the light.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In nine months

Now I*m using sports metaphors.  Things may be worse than I thought :)  At least this time I knew the seizure was coming.  An hour*s notice.  A definite comfort.  

You better believe
She says
We will be watching you
In nine months,
To see what happens.

I envision that month
Wrapped in cotton padding
Until the danger
Is past,
A month in catcher*s garb,
As I wait for the pitch,
Behind the mound;
Pray for the batter
To hit it
Clear out of the park,
Completely out of sight.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The morning seeps in

It is clearly a day to hang low.  So I am.   I am waving at the trees from the sidelines, like the Queen of England, only without the matching hat, or crown, for that matter.

The morning seeps in,
It seeps in.
The robin hops and hopes for worms
On the lawn.
Out the window
The trees are green and silver,
Silver and green.
The leaves wave at me
Through the glass.
I wave back
Like the Queen of England.
From the sidelines
The trees invite me
To dance with them
On the lawn.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Third time around

I have now had three seizures.  Nine months apart.  What kind of a disorder manifests every nine months, punctuated with no driving for six months each time?  At least this time I got to have it at home sitting in my favorite chair.  No public spectacle or Emergency Room.  This time I knew enough to call.

This time I knew it was coming
Next to the blueberries
In the grocery store,
After the aisle
Of gourmet cheese.
I knew
I should call for a ride home.
Next to the blueberries,
A turn around the pile of navel oranges,
After the gourmet cheese,
This time
I knew enough
To call.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Another Saturday morning dream, or part of a dream.  In the dream I was going to get married. This was the cake that was served first, before the wedding.  It seemed the round one layer cake came with a template of uneven pieces.  The dream (and cake) carry echoes of Communion.

The round cake came already cut into pieces:
An uneven jigsaw puzzle:
A perfectly crumbed,
Sweet enough,
Confection puzzle.
When the plates were passed around
Everyone got exactly
His share,
Her share.
We knew it.
There was a piece left over
For the person who wasn*t there.
The cake pan
Baked it that way.
The baker said:
It*s a family recipe.
It goes way way way back.
When I woke up
I thought to make the cake myself.
The pan is nowhere
To be found.
The pan must be passed down
With the recipe
Baked and served
With just enough irregular pieces,
One left over
For the possible 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hands open

I have two new meetings today, new situations, new possibilities.  I have (mostly) stopped waiting for the ideal situation to land in my lap or someone to rescue me from all this.  No, these are not job interviews.  And all this is a wonderful adventure (and this is not Pollyanna speaking).  So I drink my coffee and prepare for meeting number one.  I do not have a leadership role here.  I am a volunteer, and will know hardly anyone.  Hands open to see what comes.

I will hold my hands in my lap,
Open to the ceiling,
And the sky above it,
The sun and moon and stars
Beyond that.
I will hold my hands open
Palms up.
I will see what lands there,
What sifts through
My fingers
To the floor,
The earth beneath,
Fertilizing the ground
Under my feet.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pitching pennies

I began the daily writing of reflections and sent them to a few people on a list I had compiled.  There were some who felt I wrote too often.  Being the good Minnesota girl I am, and not wishing to be an imposition, I switched to the blog.  I still do not know exactly how this works, but I seem to have several readers in Russia and Brazil, even in Belarus.  Really?  Sometimes a word from someone else, somewhere else, is pitched into the same circle, and there is conversation.  When this happens, I feel like I*ve won the jackpot.

So often it feels my words
Are pennies,
maybe nickels,
OK, sometimes quarters.
I throw them in the wishing well,
Or maybe
Watch them roll round and round
On the vortex coin collector
At the mall,
Until they finally drop
Out of sight.
Sometimes I speak
And a penny
Comes back,
Sometimes a quarter,
Then it ends.
I long to pitch pennies
With friends, acquaintances,
Those I do not know,
Even enemies.
I yearn to pitch words like coins
With others,
Stand on the edge of the circle,
Pitch pennies,
See which ones get close to the center,
Which ones land together,
When all of us

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Older eyes

It seems I will never get an exact diagnosis, and I figure I really don*t need one.  When my eyes are blurry, I don*t drive.  When they are clear, I do.  The blurriness comes and goes with bright light, the barometer, hydration, sleepiness, and stress, to name a few things.  I pay better attention these days, cut myself some slack, and know better and better what is important.  Older eyes, that*s it.  Doctors don*t have everything figured out.

The specialists never did figure out
Why my eyes go blurry
From time to time.
The retina guy
Said it must be the optic nerve.
The optic nerve guy
Said it was the retina.
The neurologist says
It is migrainous activity.
I have decided
The correct diagnosis is
Older eyes.
Now I focus on different things.
Bright light makes me squint.
I cannot read and lead worship
At the same time.
Certain things
Are more clear
Than they have ever been.
Older eyes
Help me claim back
What has been mine
From the beginning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ivory-billed woodpecker

Here it is almost 5 PM.
I have yet to write
The morning reflection.
I take comfort in the fact
It is morning somewhere
Even if not here.
Somewhere on the other side of the world,
It is 5 AM.
I wonder,
When everything falls in line,
The way I always imagined it would,
If I will have to awaken
At 4 A.M.
To do this
Or whether writing will go the way
Of the dodo,
Or the passenger pigeon
Or perhaps hide
Like the ivory-billed woodpecker
In the Cache River refuge
In Arkansas.
I wonder if it will still pop up
From time to time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

White tuxedo

There are experiences, stories in my life, which seem to come in groups, as if there is something cataloging and categorizing them.  I used to think some were possible books, like the two white tuxedo stories, or the three rose-breasted grosbeak sightings, or even the multitudinous hawks.  Now I think they are stories to remain part of the warp and weft of my life, God-stories which may illustrate something for me or perhaps someone else, if it seems right, and if I can share it loosely enough.  They are not books.

Years ago
I was going to write a book
About white tuxedoes,
Red cummerbunds,
But I only had two stories
That fit.
Two chapters don*t make
A book.
Years later
I was going to write a book
About the times I experienced
A rose-breasted grosbeak.
Only three stories there.
Three chapters
Don*t make a book.
Now the stories
Are woven
Into the fabric of my life.
They resonate like the ongoing thrill
Of the singing bowl,
Its rim circled again
And again.
I write particular pamphlets
To advertise
What I have to offer
As a counselor.
I have a singing bowl full
Of offering:
White tuxedoes,
Red cummerbunds;
Rose-breasted grosbeaks; and oh yes,
There are still hawks
I have a warehouse
Of hawks
To offer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life begins

Once more the temptation of eugenics hits the media.  The more we find out, the more temptations we wrestle with, it seems.  Of course every new bit of information, of testing possibility, offers the thought that maybe now we will fully understand.  The Tree of Knowledge continues to bear fruit.  The fruit always comes with temptation to consume it in ways which don*t comprehend lasting consequences.

Life begins
Way before conception,
Before the twinkle,
Before the imagination
Of any two people,
Way before any two people,
Even the original two.
Life begins
And begins
And begins again.
There is no end
To its beginning.
Life does not depend
Upon tests or knowledge,
No permutations
Our minds and hearts may allow.
Life begins when God separates
The light
From the dark.
Oh and even
Before that.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I often remember Saturday morning dreams.  This morning, as I went in and out of sleep (it is a luxury to be able to sleep in a bit) I had this dream.  I*m sure it has something to do with my work at DuPage Community Clinic and my own waiting to give birth to a new profession (and of course figuring out how and through what door to show my insurance card).  Right now I am thinking about do-overs, a concept which came more naturally when I was a kid.  Ah, Saturday mornings.  Priceless.

Last night I dreamed I was in labor.
As I waited to deliver,
I lay on a gurney in the hospital lobby.
People came and went.
When my husband finally got there
We agreed I was in the lobby
 I had forgotten to show
My insurance card
I had come in the wrong door.

We agreed we would name the baby
His mother*s maiden name,
The first name
Of my great-grandfather.
He wrote Minnesota bird books.

We decided to go out,
Come in again by the right door
As if we were arriving
For the first time.
We decided we would
Show our insurance card
At the door.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pick a category

At lunch with a friend, we considered marketing.  I have not been a good self-promoter.  My excuse is introversion and Minnesota and all.  My sister is much better at this... but she is an extrovert (still from Minnesota) but an extrovert.  Me?  I would like to cram everything into one piece, mail it out, be done with it, and wait.  No.  No.  No.  One category at a time.  Then another.  Then another.  Pick a category.

Pick a category,
Any category.
Make a sign, a poster,
An email blast,
A Facebook page,
Even a tri-fold brochure.
Post a card
In the local supermarket,
Or on a telephone pole,
If you can find one
Pick a category.
Advertise that you are available:
To fix a roof,
Clean a house,
Bless a bicycle or turtle or boat,
Stand behind an altar,
Sit in a chair and listen
With special ears.
Pick a category,
One category.
Offer your simple availability
To God and everyone.

Do it again.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


When my now-25 year old son was little he had a series of small board books which told Bible stories in six pages.  There was one which was about the disciples fishing, and Jesus telling them to throw the net out the other side of the boat.   I remember page one:  Jesus* friends went fishing.  Page two said: No fish.  Sitting in the doctor*s office, I remembered the board book.  I know: quirky.  But there it is.

My urologist*s office
Is decorated in tropical fish.
There is even a fish tank (not tropical)
In the waiting room.
I wonder if all that water
Helps the patients
On demand.
There was even an ocean pier
In the examining room.
More water.
I am now in the
Every six month appointment period.
I got my first FISH test
Three days ago.
It was sent to California,
With results to return home
Next week.
The reason I went to the doctor
In the first place
Is gone.
When I asked Why the FISH?
He told me it was standard protocol
But he found it
Of little use.
I*m a bit of a maverick,
He said.
I replied.
So he crossed it out
On the test order.


So, Vee, you asked about the chair.  Yesterday I lost my wallet in the layers next to the chair I have had for twenty-three years.  I found it when I got home after lunch.  It was sitting on top of everything.  Sometimes this old blue chair feels like the center of the universe.  Everything spirals out from here.

This chair has carried me
For years.
In sickness and in health,
When I could not move
Or merely rested.
Here I watched the hummingbird
Drink the columbine
Next to the window.
Here I have written reflection
Upon reflection
Upon reflection.
Here I have seen the years
Here I have added or subtracted
Blankets and pillows
When they were needed.
This is my thinking chair,
My creative chair.
This is my learning to get older chair,
My chair in which I realize
I am not that old,
I have years to go.
Here I did
All the reading and writing
For that final graduate degree.
If I mine the stacks of books
Next to my chair
I find pieces of the strata
Of my life.

The recliner part
But I know
That is mainly
A metaphor
(for something).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Peonies, behind the garage

Maybe this is the week to monitor the out of sight peonies behind the garage.  I often forget.  

When the peonies
Next to the church door
Then grow blowsy,
I know it will be at least two weeks
Before I can expect
My out of sight,
Out of mind,
Behind the garage
To show pink
At last.
Sometimes I forget
To count the days.
Sometimes I forget
To look.
I miss them entirely,
Even the blowsy stage.
Whoever planted them
Must have needed reason
To travel back there
Out of sight
Out of mind
Behind the garage.

Cancelled plans

Now that I can drive and go places and plan and do things without having always to consult someone else, I am brought up short once again.  Oh, yeah.  I*m not in complete charge of my schedule.  I knew this.  Any plans which involve other people are not just my plans.  They are our plans.  Everything is subject to change.  And new possibility.

My plans get cancelled.
Possibility now rains.
New thoughts reign supreme.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


At 6:09 PM Eastern Time, it will take six or seven hours for Venus to travel the distance of the sun.  We are looking for possible trees.

Venus will pass by the sun
This evening.
We can note its passing
By the sun shining
Through the traditional pinhole
On the sidewalk.
Do not look directly at the sun.
I repeat:
Do not look directly at the sun.
My husband says
The last time there was an eclipse
He went to the top of a parking garage
To get a clear pinhole view.
On the way there
He passed under a tree.
On the sidewalk
The light reflected through the leaves.
It showed crescent suns,
Seeming thousands
Of crescent suns.
Venus will pass by the sun
Early this evening.
I aim to find the perfect tree
Through which
To see it.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I did not have that much scheduled for the week, but it seems that whatever I thought would happen, well, it won*t.  One more exercise in learning flexibility.  After all, I would be bored if everything went as planned, right?  Right?  I hear the snicker.

I hear the snicker.
It underlies the plans I made
For the week.
Certain clients:
(Two of four appear).
Certain supervision:
(She may cost me nothing
But is currently contagious for five days
With an unknown quarantine-able disease).
Certain tests:
One which can only be read in California
By West Coast light.
It will take seven to ten days.
Maybe the results will arrive
When my supervisor reappears
Or perhaps my clients.
I hear the snicker.
It underlies the plans I made
For the week.
It is only Monday.

I should write in longhand

I write every morning.  It clears the path for the day.  It is part of preparing to see what I need to see.  I do not know what button I clicked in Microsoft Word this morning (I usually write on the computer), but now I am stuck with paragraph symbols and line breaks, and they won*t go away no matter what I do.  Writing with subtitles?  Ugh.  I am now sitting and breathing, and getting ready soon to meet with clients.  Deep cleansing breath.  Deep cleansing breath.

I should write in longhand.
Something has inhabited
The word processing program.
Formats are everywhere.
It*s writing with reminders
Here*s a paragraph
Here*s a line break
All I want is the words.
The words.
I do not want subtitles,
or translation
before I*ve begun to write.
I should write in longhand.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Opting in

OK.  I am naturally an introvert.  I have to make active choices to attend things like church picnics.  I enjoy them once I get there with my bowl of fruit.  And I actually love informal worship services, of course... once I get there.

I have a natural leaning
To couch potato.
When something changes
I am infinitely creative
At solutions
To opt out.
Today is the church picnic
At a different location,
A different time.
I signed up to bring fruit
Two weeks ago.
If I sign up for something,
If I don*t take my name
Off the list,
I am likely to show up
With my bowl of fruit
So I don*t let anyone down.
Once there
I will find no couches.
I*m sure someone signed up
To bring
Potato chips.
Now I wait for the rest of the family
To crawl out of bed.
The picnic basket and I
Are awake.
The bowl of strawberries waits
Beside the front door.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So we sat in different chairs

One of the knowns in the world of systems is that one change in the system calls for things to reorganize around that change.  It is true in marriages, in families, in businesses, in churches.  Yesterday I sat in that different chair, and so did he.  We were level with one another.  It was enough to change the dynamic for me, and, it seemed, for him.  Now the trick is to hold this loosely, not set it in stone, feel This is the Answer.  It*s not.  This is a beginning, a glorious beginning.

So we sat in different chairs.
So we found
It was different there.
A simple change
But simply
One change made two and three.
Different chairs
Different levels
Of call and response,
Response and call.
So we sat in different chairs.
So we found a difference

Friday, June 1, 2012


Today seems to remind me that I am never fully grown, even as I have the fantasy that some morning I will wake up... and it will have happened overnight.

Adolescent birds are everywhere today.
The fledgling robin learns about worms
On the front lawn.
My daughter passed a mother goose
With two gawky almost full grown
Teenage geese.
They were learning
To eat grass.
The mother hissed as my daughter rode past
On her bike.
Today the piercing shop was not open
At 10,
Like it said it would be.
My daughter,
Her friend
And I
Stared at the pictures
Of possible piercing opportunities.
We will return to the store at 3
After I have made yet one more change
To my fifty-seven year old
I am still on the learning curve
Of worms and grass,
Even piercings.
Alternately I hiss and let go.
I am a parent
I am parented.
I am gangly and solid
All at once.
I still like to imagine
Some day
I will be all grown up.

Some things should be done before going to bed

OK.  I know I*m not the only one this applies to.  I am still not a morning person, despite the children.  Some things, maybe most things, should be done the night before, or at least wait until the afternoon.  Today I am grateful for a husband who brought in the newspaper before he went in to work.

Some things should be done
Before going to bed.
Dinner dishes,
Paying the water bill,
Reading the fine print.
It helps to wake up
With clean plates,
A clean slate,
The cat in the lap;
A cup of coffee
Set to brew
The night before;
The morning newspaper retrieved
And thrown
In the living room,
So walking out to retrieve it
From the end of the driveway
In floral flannel pajamas
Does not create scandal
In the neighborhood
Or among the scandal-prone children.
It helps to wake up
And not have to do
Almost anything