Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 69

Wrapped in winter grey and shivering in the dark
I close my eyes and fall into a summer sunset
at the end of a seaside day filled
with the warmth of a heart and
the beauty of a soul.

I wash winter from my bones and
breath deeply of the salted air,
fresh as a cotton ball,
and fill my heart with the music of the gulls
before tumbling deeper in my dreams
colored by marmalade skies and the peace
that only the ocean can bring.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 68 or Amazing Grace and the Glutton

This is Amazing Grace....I got him as a kitten from a friend who was challenged in determining gender. When he asked me to take in one of the kittens born to a feral mother under his house, I agreed, but told him under no circumstances would I take a male. He promised and brought me what he claimed was a female named Grace. A few weeks later, when Grace began to pursue my female cat, I finally thought to verify that she was a she...and she was not. But by that time I had fallen head over heels with this small puff of gray, so she became a he and his name became Amazing Grace...or Grey Dog, or Get the %&$* Off of There...he answers to all unless he doesn't want know how it goes with cats.
But this cat is smart...problem-solving smart. He taught himself how to fetch fairly quickly...a trick I proudly showed to friends when they would visit. His favorite toys are super balls and nerf darts. Just hearing the pop of the nerf gun brings him running. Grace would prefer to have about ten darts out at one time, so that he is prepared whenever he spies an unwitting human that can be trapped into throwing the dart over and over again. He will hunt down the bag of darts no matter where I hide them, opening cabinet doors and prying them out from under sofa cushions. Grace has evolved, and adds even more to his tricks, some not so thrilling...such as when he drops a saliva coated dart on my face at three in the morning because he wants to play and I am inconveniently sleeping.
Then there are jerky treats. He used to get up on top of the refrigerator and pry the bag open and drop them down to the dog and a whole bag would disappear in a day. And while he would take a few bites, he preferred to hide them in strange places. Like the day I reached into my grandfather clock and encountered six dessicated jerky pieces hidden there for a rainy day...he can distinguish the sounds different bags make when I open them and knows when to come and when to ignore me. Grace can even balance like a circus acrobat so he can drink from the toilet at an angle that allows him to make a quick getaway if I catch him doing it.
But his favorite pasttime is stalking prey. Anything that moves will do, but his primary victim is my little female cat who now lives on top of my TV set where she can't be reached. So what's a guy to do when he wants to have a little fun. Well, there is always the sliding glass door, better known as Cat TV. And today is a perfect day, because it's doggone cold here in the Pacific NW, with snow still on the ground and perching room only at the feeders... so the squirrels are having to compete with the birds for the shelled peanuts. Enter The Squirrel...

This is the Glutton...if there was a peanut eating contest, he would win. He's been eating out of my backyard for a couple of years now. He has also eaten through three feeders, rounding out the holes so he can get his fat head in to steal peanuts. So I finally broke down and bought him his own peanuts. And each morning I throw out a cupful to him. He grabs them one by one, alternating between burying them and eating them. The Glutton's not much afraid of me anymore, and getting bolder every day. He's a little less happy when Grace sits by the window watching him, while smacking his lips and twitching his tale. The Glutton is unaware that Grace is an indoor cat and can't reach him...and sometimes Grace forgets too....
Today I slept in a was, after all, much warmer under the covers than out and by the time I got to the kitchen, the Glutton had decided that he would notify me of his displeasure by impatiently scratching on the glass of the sliding glass door. There he was, fur flattened against the glass, little arms clawing to let me know he hungry, when Grace rounded the door. Grace must have thought he'd won the lottery. There was his nemisis, closer than he had ever seen him...there for the taking. And before I could move to stop him, the butt twitched, the tail flew back and forth and he was off like a thoroughbred when the race gun fires. Grace must have been doing his fastest pace ever, when he connected with that glass door with a bang. Grace was completely dazed. The Glutton, on the other hand, moved about six inches back from the window, stopped, and if squirrels can laugh, he had a big belly roar of a laugh at that moment.
Grace slunk off to the corner and began cleaning himself as nonchalantly as one can after coming close to knocking himself senseless. The Glutton, on the other hand, scratched again and asked for his peanuts with a squirrel smirk on his face. He was rewarded with two cupfuls today. Was he grateful? Not really...he simply went out and found three more of his buddies and let them know some ditzy human was being extra generous with the peanuts today. They are all out there now, cheeks full and little arms digging holes to hide the rest...

Grace and the Glutton - acrylic 8"X 8"

Winter Writings: Day 67

Words flash neon above the door;
Redemption and salvation
gather in the crisscross lines
of her weathered face
inking garish tattoos
revelations of a tortured life.
"Free shelter from the cold."
She eyes the door warily,
dreaming of the comfort of a hot bath
and layers of warm blanckets
and someone who cares.
She holds tightly to her cart
where mult-color trashbags
organize her life in chapters.
And she knows she cannot let it go.
She slowly turns away,
not willing to risk losing all
for the promise of a warm bed.
She curls up in a ball
just outside the station
one arm intertwined with her cart
and sleeps a dreamless sleep
Her heart harbors memories
of ordinary days when she
gathered moonbeams on the mountain
and danced in the streets with the sun
The morning brings another day
of listening to her many voices,
each dressed in layers
of a face presented
daily to passing motorists;
Her cardboard sign begging for attention,
"Need Help! All help is good".

Friday, February 25, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 66

Small blue sunshine sky
peeking through to warm the earth
and chase away the storm;
leaving a trail of sapphires in the clouds
and a thousand diamonds glistening
on urban icebergs
wheeling their way down icy roads
Just wishing there were snow days for grown-ups...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 65

A small tickle of a song begins with the tease of a light breeze finger-picking a hesitant tune on windchimes. Soon, the clackity-clack of the windmill joins in, keeping rhythm with the approaching storm. A sudden gust of wind trumpets a fanfare and whistles an opening bar through the eaves. Lightening heralds the opening notes of the storm's first movement, celebrating the drama of the developing tempest. As thunder sounds with clashing cymbals and the deep rumble of the kettledrums, the rain begins to sing a loud chorus on the roof. The downspout gurgles in bass while the woodwinds play sweet soprano in the tree branches. The weathervane swings from side to side conducting each member of the orchestra to weave harmony from chaos. The rich melody takes away your breath with the haunting bars of a winter storm. With a last crescendoing of sound, suddenly silence reigns...and the music fades to gentle rain as the storm recedes into the distance.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 64

How comforting the patter of rain at night. The gentle rhythm sings of lullabies and dreams, while washing away the grit of winter. We awaken to a clean slate and a world filled with possiblities and the many-hued reflections of life well lived.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 63

Windblown feather
Abandoned and lost to the sand
Tattered and torn, wet and bedragled.
So lonely for the blue sky freedom
on the wings of a sea bound gull.
Yet even in your fall from graceful flight
You maintain the beauty born of wind and clouds
and the thrill of soaring over distant lands and seas,
Where you skimmed the waves with sun-kissed wings
and challenged gravity while seeking heaven.
Even now, you sing of life beyond
as you blow across the sand
Seeking, always, to rejoin the sky.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 62

It's been a year of loss for me. My life has been turned upside down and inside out and left me struggling to find firm ground to stand on. The life I worked so hard to build is gone and not likely to be restored to me. Many of my dreams are now lost to me, too. And I've lost best friends, both man and dog, that have gone on to their final rest.

Through it all, I've learned to focus on my faith and count my blessings more. I've learned to appreciate the small things in life that can fill your heart with gratitude for being alive - friends, both new and old, the beauty of nature and the healing power of art. And the small treasures I have gathered as I travel....small tokens that I can touch and look at to remember days that have filled my heart with gratitude for being alive.

Last year I traveled to Melbourne, Australia. A trip of a lifetime to a country I fell instantly in love with. A trip that brought me new, lifelong friends and lasting memories that changed my life in so many ways. So as I was leaving Melbourne, I bought a teacup set in the airport to commemorate my trip. A bit pricey for me, but a thing of beauty, decorated with lavender and bees, of fine bone china, complete with a saucer, lid, cup and strainer. An avid tea drinker, I justified the price by imagining sipping tea in a pool of sunlight while reading the paper at my kitchen table, dreaming of Australia.

In reality, when I returned, I put the cup in a safe spot and looked at it often, but rarely used it for tea , wanting to keep the memories safe from harm. The cup sat on the top shelf of my cabinet, a place not even the cat has found his way into, looking so beautiful and so full of a perfect vacation in a far away place. Until today.

Today, I reached into the cabinet to remove a butter dish. Somehow the dish caught the edge of the cup. I saw it falling. I let go of the butter dish and grabbed to catch the cup, but together they fell to the floor, the heavier butter dish shattering the china cup into many small pieces. And I burst into tears because it was lost and just one more loss to add to the load and cried for the unfairness of one more loss to live through.

But after I started breathing again, I realized a cup is just a cup. An inanimate object. Beautiful, but empty. And it languished on that sterile shelf, instead of being well-used, for fear I would lose it, too. I realized how silly I was to put so much value in a "thing". Because the memories I so cherish live in only in my mind and heart and can never be broken or lost. They are there within me and meant to be examined and cherished often, not kept locked away for fear of losing them.

But still, even broken, I could not bear to throw the cup away. So I carefully glued the pieces together. There's a few holes here and will no longer hold water. So what better purpose for it now than to house a small primrose to lighten up the winter. After all, the primrose should thrive, surrounded by beauty and love and warm memories of down under.

Winter Writings: Day 61

Spring flies back to me on many colored wings. The muted earth colors of a flying wedge of Canada geese; the bright red and yellow of a blackbird's shoulder; the rust-orange breast under brown robin's wings; and the tropical green of a hummingbird singing his territorial song from the top of a still-naked tree on the trail. These are the flowers of the air; the leaves of the still bare trees. The busy gathering of nesting material and shrill mating calls leave no doubt that winter is finally coming to an end. Even now, the crocus peek out of the ground and the frogs sing a happy chorus. The cycle of life begins again.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 60

Grey clouds, pregnant with rain, sail along the river leaving grey shadows playing on the white-capped waves. In the sky, a flock of starlings wheel and spin in choreographed dance before seeking shelter on the bridge and huddling close for comfort and warmth. A wedge of Canada geese dive from the sky and land with noise and fanfare in backwater eddies, seeking shelter from the coming storm. A gentle rain begins to fall and suddenly the dark grey day blooms with umbrella flowers and oily rainbows in the streets. I turn my face to the sky and raindrops plant small kisses on my cheek that wash away the clutter from my mind. My soul sings with the energy of the rainbow in the eastern sky as the sun is born again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 59

Fog hugs the ocean waves
and weaves a gray green tapestry
through the rain forest canopy.
The mist washes away the grime
of the city and cracks open
the hard shell of urban living.
I stand still in the dark salt mists,
close my eyes and feel myself fall through time.
I am entranced by the rhythm of ancient drums
and feel my old bones warm to dance
under the full fish moon
and feel the magic of old, sacred things
fill my soul with longing
for the wild abandon of primitive places
and the heartsong of an ancient sea.

Winter Writings: Day 58

The beach stands guard
where ocean meets the shore
a perpetual battle
between capricious water and
the eroded detritus of ancient rock.
Between waves,
the water sneaks away the sand,
grain by grain.
Between the tides,
the sand quietly creeps back to shore.

As I walk in quiet meditation,
sand squishes between my toes
constantly shifting and changing face
blowing about in the breeze
tickling my face with tiny pinpoint pricks,
Gulls and shells and crabs are spectators
as the sand polishes stone and wood
and builds castles grain by grain.
A hundred colors blend to ochre shimmer,
glowing with sunset light.

All life can be a beach...
Although we have moments of quiet desperation,
when all appears for nothing,
we quietly continue our journey;
back and forth, win and lose and win again;
day by day and grain by grain.
And when we reach our destination,
we rest a moment and
begin the journey again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 57

Threadbare coat and scarf tied beneath her chin, she moves slowly down the street, one foot at a time. She clings to her walker, dented and bent, decorated with a single flower and the stickers of grandchildren seeking to brighten an old life. She moves with a graceful determination, traveling the sidewalks of another time, blue eyes peering unfocused and distant from beneath her sagging brow, as if her vision is now directed inward, revisiting better times. Her face is a road map of experience, a pencil sketch in love and loss and life renewed. And as she passes me, a ghost of a smile plays about her mouth and for a moment, I share her distant times, when love was eternal and they ran in the surf under a marmalade sky and promised they would always hold each other's hands, best friends forever.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 56

dreams keep me warm this stormy night
of cicadas singing and fireflies lighting dark shadows,
and long beach walks with love drawn in the sand.
we walk under a silver moon
hands and hearts together
and I remember when our love could thaw the winter snows
and dress spring in blossom kisses.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 55

One perfect moment
on a crisp spring day
with tree fingered shadows
clawing the dirt driveway and
overhead, the blinding green
of new born leaves
and the unrelenting celebration
of birdsong.
You run towards me
with your arms outstretched
a silly, sloppy smile
stretches across your face,
that is dusted with contellations
of a thousand freckled stars.
Denim clad legs churn up
clouds of chocolate dust
and your feet sing
with the sheer joy of flying.
One perfect moment
captured in a random photograph
slightly yellowed at the edges
more valuable than gold.
I still look at you every day
and relive that moment
when you were three
and not like now
already grown
and too dignified
to abandon yourself to
a bright spring day.

Winter Writings: Day 54

Before my eyes open, I feel the tentative fingers of warmth caress me, stealing the dark cold from my thoughts and seeping into my weary bones. My eyes open to sunbeams creeping across the room, making crystal rainbows that shimmer and dance on the walls for the cat to chase. Lemon yellow hope swallows the worries and doubts left behind by the cold, frozen fog. Ah, Sun...even the birds sing your praises as you tickle their feathers. Their hearts rise in soaring flight to welcome you back from the cold darkness of winter rains

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 53

He looks up, holding his mother's hand tightly
wondering why he woke up today
and announced he wanted to ride the ferris wheel.
It seemed like the world at the time.
But now, the world seemed small
next to the glittering, turning
wheel of fortune.
He sat down and buckled in,
careful to lock in tightly,
and looked back.
And even as his mother waved and smiled,
he wondered if he would see her again...
but how else would he reach the stars,
if he did not ride the great wheel into the sky?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 52

A new song
glitters through the branches
on this cold, crystal morning
Rising and falling
in a melancholy chord,
notes echo in the air.
If you listen closely,
you can hear the crystals
tinkle their glass note melody
in response.

I did not see this singer
of winter cold arias...
only a flit of brown or
dull white feathers showed
as it moved its song
from branch to branch
asking each tree
to hurry green bright spring's
speedy return and
winter's speed demise.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 51

I see her push the window open... if afraid
to let the world in
"What will they say?"
Her dressed only in
an old robe and slippers.
But the promise of spring
sung sweetly by the wind
from the back of a seaworn salmon
plying the whitecap waves of the river
and answered by the chorus of songbirds
celebrating the return of the sun,
slips in to stroke her time worn face
and she remembers...
She throws the window wide
and as the air swirls gently into her bare room,
old memories come alive in her heart,
of holding spring in her arms
and marveling at his
tiny hands and feet
and bluebonnet eyes.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 50

In the quiet of dark midnight
yellow petal moons
whisper of things not seen, but heard.
The east wind moves through the forest
curling around bare limbs,
murmuring encouragement to leaves yet to be.
The river moves quietly through grey mist,
singing softly of its travels
as it moves to join the sea.
The waves break upon the beach,
wailing their siren song, "come with me"
and explore the seven seas.
Nature's own musical plays
to a star-filled sky
and yet we sleep unknowning...

Monday, February 07, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 49

The dark seeds of winter,
cold and seemingly barren,
cradle the leaves of summer
in their souls.
Soon, small green soldiers
will march forth and stand at attention,
while robins sing revelrie
in an old oak tree.
Can you hear the branches cry,
"Adorn me now
in boughs of green and gold.
Let me bask in the yellow heat
of summer blue skies!!
Let me rise from my roots and become!!"

Ah, if it were only today,
and these grey mists and wet winter drops
would be vanquished and I
could hike the forest floor once more.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 48

Remember phone booths? What would Clark Kent or Maxwell Smart be without one? Where do our superheroes go to complete their transformations or drop into their secret headquarters? I was walking down the street when I came across this vintage beauty and had to stop to take a's been so long since I've seen or used one...I felt like I had just turned the corner and traveled back in time. I half expected to see a dark sedan pull up to the curb, complete with a shady character dressed in black, who gets out with a cigarette drooping from the corner of his mouth and drops a dime in the slot to call his moll.

Remember seeing them on every corner, their lights beckoning to you on a dark night when your car just died and you're in need of rescue? Before cell phones, phone booths were an essential part of life. Salvation inside a glass box. Where's the drama of the chase, when the kidnappers have no booth to call you at as you bring the ransom monies on a wild goose chase? Remember the frustration of the missing yellow pages...even if the book was there, the pages you needed were always gone. Or the words conjured to your tongue by the hungry slot that just ate your last dime but failed to give you a dial tone.

Now it's just another fixture from yesteryear on the fast track to oblivion...travelling the same road as rotary phones and DOS computer systems...sometimes time just amazes me with the speed of change. I'm feeling my age today!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 47

There is a change in the air tonight, as if an old, worn door has closed for good, content with holding the cold memories of what might have been. In its stead, a new portal opens to a kalideiscope of possibilities, full of sweet promise and life. "Come forth and live your dreams!" beckons a voice from beyond the door. "Choose to be alive!"

For when we grow old, it is far better to cherish memories of a life lived with no regrets, than to think of what might of been. Better still to spend our twilight years, holding hands and smiling at our shared stories, as we rock in our chairs by the light of the yellow moon.

Winter Writings: Day 46

A line of gulls perches at the roof peak
Cast iron gargoyles frowning at the rain
Cloaking the street in dark, mysterious gloom.
Black crow umbrellas streak through the night
Seeking shelter from the storm;
Wet feathers leaving small wakes in sidewalk puddles.
Anonymous faces peer from dark raincoats,
avoiding eye contact,
too hurried to stop to chat
on this lonely grey night.
Only the streetlamp speaks of sanctuary
and the warm heart of home.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 45

Winter fat juncos tip tap here and there
leaving hieroglyphics in the snow
Telling the ancient stories
Of how they once ruled the world as giants
complacent in forever.

But the earth shrugged
and scales became feathers,
so light and small
that they tremble in the shadows,
no longer armour to protect them from fate.

And what will we do to this earth, our home,
that men, too, will become as mice?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Winter writings: Day 44

I love the beginning minutes of a class, when teacher and students warily size each other up and down. Cautiously exchanging names, reluctant in conversation, we begin to share our stories of how we came to this moment in time. We speak as if we are serving up small bits of our soul in a crystal dish, as brittle as ice, as fragile as heirloom china.

As the day moves forward, we begin to relax and more pieces of life break loose, peeling the brick and mortar of our tortoise shells away, as we let silly laughter and shared experience warm our hearts. We giggle at bad jokes, smile at secret triumphs and shake our heads in shared dismay, with exclamations of "can you imagine" and "you don't say." And we begin to draw closer as our lives intertwine in this shared experience.

And when it's time to go, we are forever sisters; connected at the hip of our souls. We exchange names and promises to get together again. And we each leave knowing that having shared this day, we will no longer walk alone in this world.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 43

The sun plants a kiss on my upturned face as I open myself to the welcome heat on an otherwise blustery day. I turn into the wind and feel it curl around my heart and breathe away the winter cobwebs in my soul . I stretch my bones and inhale deeply of the air of a hundred countries and a thousand years. I smile as the frangrance of old memories in the breeze, brings back the roar of thunder waves and ocean shores and walking beside you in the sand. Listen! The shells still whisper summer dreams as time falls away and you and I are together once more, laughing in the sun.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Winter Writings: Day 42

Lavender dresses the fields in royal purple;
fit kingdom for Queen Bumblebee
and her fairy minions
who crown each flower
with rainbow dewdrops
that fall as tears
and form a river
to carry you safely
into fragrant slumber,
where you will lay your burdens to rest
and dream a happy dream.