Friday, February 27, 2015

Eight things to notice

I do this with clients all the time. What's one thing you will do this week? What's one thing you will pay attention to right now? There's a kind of magic in ones. One day. One thing. One particular bird eating seed under the grapevine out back.

Eight things to notice
Now to pare it down to one
Only one thing now

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I like when such things match.

More dry-pack daffodils.
These took two days
To break their paper shells
But today
They bloomed full yellow
In accordance
With my mood.
I like when such things match.
Yesterday three stones
In the desert,
Today the daffodils are proof
God is everywhere,
In everything.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

There is no place I am not

I spent some time looking for the meaning of three placed stones in a desert. I did my research on trail markers and cairns, the ancient practice of leaving stones to mark our comings and goings. I believe it is more simple than that. No burning bush, but three stones, one placed on one placed on one in a desolate place. No place I am not.

It is night
I dream myself
In the middle of a desert,
As far as the eye can see.
There is me
And sand
And three stones,
One set upon one set upon one.
Stones placed
In the middle of the desert,
One upon one upon one
And me
There is no place
I am not,
He says,
She says.
One in three,
Sand as far
As the eye can see
Three placed stones.
No place I am not.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When sleep does not come

Visit from the black dog. Learning to scritch her head between the ears.

When sleep does not come
I pray the list
Of everyone,
Of everything,
Of all that rests on my heart.
I hold them more clearly
In front of me,
Look them in the eyes.
I pray the dark,
Watch it lighten.
When sleep does not come
I pray.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Blueberry Mike

The blueberry drop-off is at exactly 2 PM on the third Sunday of the month (unless it is switched to the fourth Sunday, like yesterday). We purchased five pounds ahead of time. Another woman, who arrived after we did, received four plain brown boxes. She must be the neighborhood supplier. We giggled the whole way home.

We made an appointment
To pick up blueberries
In a hotel parking lot
Three suburbs away.
We got there early,
Did not know exactly
What to look for,
What vehicle,
What part
Of the parking lot.
We did have a phone number
For Mike.
Blueberry Mike.
We found him.
He shook my beloved’s hand,
Gave him a plain brown box.
We drove away
Feeling like we had accomplished
A drug deal of sorts,
Clandestine even.
One plain brown box
Of frozen blueberries,
A wink and a nod,
The exchange was done.
We will do it again
Next month.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Rationalization. Amazing.

I know many
For whom
Lent does not really begin
Without the Great Litany
Chanted in procession.
Today we forewent
The probable Great Litany.
The Christmas tree
Is halfway down.
Ornaments await boxing.
My coffee cup is again
A singing bowl.
The cat is once again
I wonder if today
The signature sin
Is sloth.
Today is Sunday
Not a real part of Lent.
Sloth it is.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sometimes I see Jesus

The dream about Jesus sitting behind me in the boat keeps coming back to mind. No, I have not had more dreams like that one. At night, now, when I try to climb into the boat, I cannot now even picture the boat. I remember He said, I have your back. Now there is no boat. I am not particularly happy about this. Today there is no boat, comfortable and wooden and blue. Just a Christmas tree which needs to be disassembled before Sunday.Today Jesus is free in the world, as He has always been. Today is the wilderness of Jesus uncaptured, unleashed, moving on. Jesus has His own journey, even though I know He still, somehow, has my back. How this works, I do not know.

Sometimes I see Jesus,
In front of me, yet behind,
Also at my back.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Deadly sins

Ever notice how some people get more credit than others? Deserved or undeserved? Me too.

Home today
Working through some
Of the seven deadly sins.
I would rather focus
On other things.
I am stuck in the middle
Of envy, avarice and wrath.
They are embodied
By older women who have accrued
More credit than I perceive they should,
Some well-deserved
In my oh-so-discerning eye,
Some not so deserved
In my bedeviled heart.
They are writers.
Everything they write drips gold
Even when it doesn’t.
Everything they write is quoted,
And quoted,
And quoted again.
If I read one more quotation
I may rant somewhere inappropriate.
I am home trying to figure
Which sin applies.
Wrath seems too big.
Pride covers all.
Gluttony, lust and sloth
Will need to wait
For another day.

Pipe organs of Greenland

There is a seeming endless number of things to research. Through this rabbit trail of facts about Greenland, we are vaguely considering a trip to Greenland. Of course the only way to get there is via Iceland.

In high school
I determined to catalog
All the mammals of the world
On index cards.
Perhaps I was a budding
Or maybe librarian.
Instead I went to college
Studied Classical Greek.
I have catalogued things
Ever since.
In a fit of exploration,
Set off by a random fact
About Greenland,
I found someone has catalogued
All the pipe organs of Greenland,
Including musical works
Played on each one.
Unlike my mammals
Back in high school
There is a known finite number
Of pipe organs
In Greenland.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Sometimes envy catches us unawares.

This morning I am envious
Of the priest with ALS
Who died way too young,
Yet led the first half of the service
With mechanical voice
And a turn of her head
Two weeks before she died.
I find myself envious
Of what that woman did
Of who that woman was
Of the inspiration she offered
To many.
This morning
I am amazed
At the envy I feel
Of that priest with ALS.
Not everything has to relate
To me.
It is possible simply
To be amazed
To be grateful
To be thankful.
It is possible simply
To leave it at that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Taking my part in Ashes to Go... or perhaps Ashes in Library.

Soon to take my post
In the library,
Offer ashes to whomever
Walks in.
Clerical collar?
Holy reading?
I look the part
I know the part
I sometimes even
Fake the part
Though I know the ordination
Sunk deep deep
To a place it can never
Be removed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lenten discipline

Lent is different, yet also the same, every year. This year too.

Lent begins tomorrow.
Maybe I will finally figure out
Who I will be
When I grow up.
Forty days?
That should do it.
Minus Sundays,
Of course.
On Sundays I will be content
With not knowing.

Monday, February 16, 2015


I peruse all the writers' workshops, research ways to affiliate with religious communities, wonder where I fit these days. There is no ready answer. I do know it is not time to leap into something. I remember past decisions, to leave, to join. I realize again no action is called for... now. The seagull overhead is appealing, but the crows, the crows are more present. The crows offer companionship.

I watch the crows
In the backyard
Hope they bring me back
To some semblance
Of normal.
A seagull flies way overhead.
The crows go about
Their crow business.
Here we are
They seem to say
Join us
For the time being.
Have you ever thought
Of being a crow?
Perhaps you belong to us.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Different people merit different valentines.

Whenever I see a butterfly,
You come to mind,
My beloved,
You come to mind.
I remember.
I smile.

Friday, February 13, 2015

I've got your back

Sometimes at night.

Sometimes at night,
To get to sleep,
I visualize myself in a rowboat,
Blue and weathered and wood,
Tied to a dock,
Like the one Up North,
Under a dark starry sky,
Snuggled with my pillow and blanket.
Last night
I got myself comfy,
Then realized Jesus was sitting in the prow
Behind me.
I didn't see him
But I knew he was there.
I've got your back,
He said,
I've got your back.
Of course you do,
I thought,
Of course you do.
I had forgotten.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Life is different now. I give things up, things I need to give up, to others. If only. If only. Then that snake appears, sidewinds out of the brush. You can still do that, the s in still, sibilant as snakes hiss.

How many times
Must I give something up
Before it ceases
To come back to me,
Sidewinding like a rattlesnake
To bite me on the ankle.
How many times
Must I give something up
Something which is not mine
But something
I could do
Oh so much better
Oh so much better.
I think
If I were in the thick of things
The world would be different:
Good different.
Nothing like that rattlesnake
Nothing like that snake
At all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The crow

Admiring the crow through glass.

The crow has settled
Into the backyard ash.
With doors and windows closed
In winter cold,
We watch him open and close his beak.
From his posture
We know he pontificates
From his pulpit
In the tree.
We see his open beak.
We can almost hear him
Because we know and admire crows.
They are lovely birds,
Even if their tone
Is raucous,
Even if sometimes they speak
Out of turn.
In the silence
Of the breakfast table
The crow speaks
From the ash.
We imagine
What he is saying.
We smile.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Once more I read a book and realize I've been doing these things for years. I would name the book, but it doesn't seem to matter. Somehow, I suspect we all name these things in different ways. So, read a book...but don't forget to look out the window afterward.

I finished the book.
Once more
I realize things
I have been doing
All along,
I just named them
In a different way.
I could write a book
I think
I could write a book.
These are the things
I write,
Content in the ways
Others have named them,
Content to recommend
The book to others,
Content to write about
Snow and birds
Offer up possibilities,
Ways to view the world
Read this book
I say
Then look out the window.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Therapy with no individual therapist required. Cheaper, maybe. Or not so cheap.

We saw a movie last night
Bought the cheap seats
Watched Reese Witherspoon
Slip and slide
The Pacific Crest Trail
Miles and miles of therapy
I would not sign up for
Miles upon miles
Of therapy
One step at a time
One foot
After the other
In too small hiking boots
In duct tape
In shorts
In snow pants
Miles and miles of therapy
One step at a time.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I wondered what was next

I think it is human to want to make broad sweeping statements, to lead massive systemic change. I am human (there, I've admitted it!). Teeny tiny steps. One thing at a time. Noticing tracks in the snow. Making my own tracks.

I wondered what was next.
I guess this is.
Teeny tiny steps.
Animal tracks
In the snow
Leading to the garage.
They end there.
Did the creature
Crawl under the door
Or skirt to the side
Leaving no prints
To continue the story.
It may have gone either way.
The tracks
Tell only part,
Leave the rest
To the imagination.
I wondered what was next
There is always a next.
I guess this is.
Where will I leave tracks
In the snow;
Where will.
I leave them guessing.
Teeny tiny steps

Friday, February 6, 2015


I often tell clients we are layered folk. We are all layered differently. I have often used geological imagery in therapy... strata. Today I woke up thinking about a parfait metaphor. Maybe I was hungry.

Things come in layers
Laid down layers
Differently ordered.
Some layers have strawberries.
Some are thick
With nuts.
I prefer whipped cream
So often whipped cream
Was forgotten
Not to mention the cherry
On top.
Perhaps whipped cream
The cherry
Are laid down
At the end.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Maybe it's time

A thought for the Episcopal Church. My home church.

Maybe it’s time
To hold hands with our Methodist
Sisters and brothers,
Mr. Welch included.
Maybe it’s time
To consecrate grape juice,
To offer only
The equally attractive alternative
At church functions.
Maybe it’s time to figure out
How to celebrate life
Without alcohol
For an undetermined period of time
And then
Only then
Our heads may be clear enough
Our hearts may be clear enough
To figure out what’s next.

Maybe it’s time.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


It is interesting the things that anchor me. They differ from day to day. Today it is the tree outside the office window seen through two-thirds of my office window.

The snow is one-third up my office window.
I can still see the crooked pine
Through the top two-thirds
So all is well
Here in this cozy space,
Here where I pray for clients
Seen and unseen;
Here where it occurs to me
Once again
All is very well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

From afar

I think most of the birds eating seed under the crab apple are juncos. I don't quite know. The cardinal is unmistakable. I wish my beloved had spread the seed closer to the house. But instead he had the birds in mind... not me.

It is safer
To spread seed
Out under the crab apple,
Next to the pile
Of pulled grape vine.
I see the mass of birds
From afar.
They eat seed in the snow.
The only one with a name tag
Is Mr. Cardinal,
So red against the white.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sun with one foot of snow

Last night I watched school after school close today because of the snow. Today is bright with sun and snow. I am glad to live in a place that closes down because of snow, not hurricanes or tsunamis. Soon I will leave for a client, drive through sun and snow. 

So many places closed
So everyone may play in the snow
Or not.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The real thing

I will admit snow on the weekend is more convenient now than it used to be. Now I do not need to be concerned about parking lots or boilers or leading worship in mittens. Now I can consider the beauty, clear the sidewalk when the snow ends, leave the Christmas tree up one more week because it finally looks like winter outside.

Today is
The first real snow of winter,
Halfway through the season.
Of course we have had
Practice snowfall:
To remember how to drive
In it;
To remember what
It looks and feels like;
To recall each flake
Being different.
Today is the real thing.
Tomorrow will be another version
Of this real thing.
Like every occasion
No thing is ever
The same.
Not even snow.