Tuesday, February 15, 2022

a ladder to nowhere

as a soft snow was falling
there we were
running along the frozen mud path
looking out for low-lying branches poking out overhead 
weaving our way around rocks, roots
keeping alert to our footing 
flowing conversation 
sharing inspirations 
what we read
what we heard
what we noticed
honestly, I think our drifting gliding running discussions are 
as good for my health 
as the physical running itself

just as we crossed the creek and 
headed back up the slope

Full Stop.

there was a ladder
placed against a large boulder 
at the side of our path

where did this come from? 
why was it here? 
who created this? 
why? why? why?

pure whimsy? 

a ladder to nowhere
look at the clever rungs,
cut like triangles,
pointing this way, then that,
back and forth
look at the newly-falling snow nestling in its crevices
look at the gorgeous rock behind, holding 

how did we miss this
when we ran by the first time?

let's climb up 

up, up, up, 
we both climbed up, 
stood on the boulder and 
looked down on the creek and the woods 
paused and smiled

there was no place to go
except the top of the rock

a moment above

perhaps no better reason
to build a ladder

the descent was a bit 
oh no 
why did we scamper up like that
but it ended 
with big grins

climbing a homemade ladder
in the woods 
on a winter day


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

where is my heart

On the first Thursday of each month, I write as part of a community of writers exploring spirituality - and you are invited to read what everyone else is writing, too. (Thank you, Denise Krebs, for connecting me with this writing circle.) Linda Mitchell is our February host and she poses the thought-provoking question -

Where is your heart in your journey these days?  


In her memoir Poet Warrior, Joy Harjo includes the poem "Silêncio Geuerreiro" by Márcia Wayna Kambeba, with these two (English translation) lines:

You must grow quiet
To hear with the heart

I read these two lines for the first time (and many times since, over and over) just this week, and I am struck by the synchronicity of reading/finding these precious words with the prompt by Linda today. They are worth repeating -

You must grow quiet
To hear with the heart

Aren't they beautiful, insightful, wise? 

I think - I hear - how important it is to be in community with others, to be quiet with myself, to listen deeply, to put my needs, my wants, myself aside, and listen, 

to hear with my heart.

Where is my heart in my journey these days? To think of my heart is to think of love in its many meanings and paths. The two are inseparable - heart and love. With this in mind, a poem came to heart:

two years now

two years now
and longer 

my heart
overflowing and full

my goodness, we talked for over an hour 
phone calls with family and friends afar love
trail-running nutritious-cooking healthier love
merry tumbling Skidamarink grandchildren love
rubbing-lotion-on-my-back tender marriage love
dig-in-dirt listen-to-bird smell-the-air mother nature love
pen paint poetry journal writing thought-making love

two years now
and longer 

my heart
overflowing and full

breaking aching sad
spiraling pandemic pain fear mistrust unrest death 
family neighbors city nation world
never-ending atrocities, numbingly nonexistent nadir
mourning grieving hoping praying

two years now
and longer 

my heart
overflowing and full

holding at once
blessed bounteous joy
abiding agonizing hurt
taking care
seeking light

two years now
and longer 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

this is our home


The grandkids had spent the night and we were lingering in the kitchen, after a yummy breakfast of Poppa's biscuits and eggs. There were crumbs all over the place, two little faces smeared with blueberries and butter, so many dirty dishes. I thought to myself, this is so divine...will our new kitchen have this cozy, inviting space? Please, let it be! Oh my, when will there actually be a new kitchen? When will we know the full scope of the structural issues with this house?

I think it was October that I wrote a slice of life about our home remodeling, how plans for a new kitchen floor had revealed major structural issues with our house. Well, it's February now. We've had months of thinking and planning, and no real work started. The ceiling has been cut open in two places, to discern exactly what is going on up there - will we need a column for support? Do we need additional beams? The final design of the kitchen is in some ways the least of the concerns - we need to fortify the house structure itself. We have had a "merry-go-round" of the expertise, with our contractor sending varied folks by to check things out. The structural engineer has drawn blueprints; the builder looked at these with skepticism and excellent questions; the kitchen designer has been at an impasse until the need for column(s) is resolved; the contractor has reassured us that the project needs thoughtful, thorough planning, please be patient; more questions have been asked of the engineer; new concerns posed by the builder; around and around and around we go.

Why does everyone come by one by one to talk with us? I lamented. It feels as if "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing." This is our home, we need to know what has gone wrong and what needs to be fixed. 

It has been such a frustrating process. 

And then - my prayers were answered.

Just as we were finishing that fabulous breakfast with the kids, the structural engineer called to ask if he could come by again, that very morning, as in, about an hour from now? Our general contractor was coming, too. We weren't about to say "No," no matter the inconvenience. YES! YES! YES! 

So ensued a rapid, unexpected, inconvenient scene change - clear the dishes, wipe down the kids and the counter, ready the baby for her morning nap, let the preschooler watch some television in the back room, get the blueprints, the step ladders, the measuring tape and other tools. Tony and the first guy to arrive took down the plywood panels that are covering the ceiling holes....

Finally, we all put our heads together.

I'm exhausted yet excited - truly. This is as hopeful as we have felt in months. EVERYONE together, everyone looking at the same things at the same time, discussing what to do, and creating a common understanding.  

We take a step in the right direction - we are figuring out this mess of a project TOGETHER. 

That's Tony on the left, totally hands-on


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!