Wednesday, November 30

Ahhhh e.e.

Tonight, i stumbled heart first into this e. e. cummings poem. Is it folly to think someone could be this noble?

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch
her heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another's face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be-
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto her, and take her hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

Another Missing Piece of History

Last night, I joined a friend and viewed the documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. I won't sugarcoat it, this film was hard to watch. As a white woman, born and raised in Texas, I live with ancestoral guilt deep in the roots of my family tree for the way black people were and are treated in this country.

Today, I am reminded that I grew up in a segregated town and our books and education were censored by the School Board, the PTA, our parents, etc... I am so angry that at my age, I had never heard of Emmett Louis Till and the role his murder played in sparking the civil rights movement. Just one more thing we weren't taught in school. As I watched the film, I saw too quickly the relevance to the murder of a young black boy in Money, Mississippi 50 years ago was so similar to the murder of a young gay man in Laramie, Wyoming not too long ago.

I suppose if I had stayed in that small town, married right after high school, had a pack of kids like girls were supposed to, the life of Emmett Louis Till wouldn't have meant a thing to me, but I didn't stay and his life and the way he died is important to me. What gave the adults in my life the right to filter history?

What else do I not know? How do I begin to teach myself the things censored out of my life?

I intend to find out.

Tuesday, November 29

Say Cheese

My buddy Merle sent this picture taken recently at his niece's wedding. What a lovely man and what a contagious smile. Don't let the suit and tie fool you, what lies beneath is one seriously silly man. I miss our days searching for treasures at the diviest (dive*e*est)resale shops in Houston.

Thanks for the smile on a chilly day!

Monday, November 28

Deep Truths

I encountered these words all stacked up together:

Deep truths are often expressed in silence.

Today, I deleted the folder which once housed a year's worth of emails between my beloved and me. It happened so silently and without any ceremony...a single keystroke and they were gone.

Deep truths are often expressed in silence.

Sunday, November 27

From Ear to Ear

Gotta love the Mocha smile!

Saturday, November 26

Before the First Snow

I'm replaying conversations in my head on a non-stop loop. It's the mental equivalent of watching the planes fly into the twin towers over and over again so my brain can believe what my eyes are seeing. This is not healthy for me, so I've devised a brilliant aversion therapy technique. Whenever the loop starts, I go outside.

So, I'm standing outside in below freezing temperatures with the loop running in my head and I realize, damn it's cold...I've gotta stop thinking about this stuff or I'm going to freeze to death. This is good...this is better than snapping a rubber band on my wrist. It's better for my house too, not to be absorbing these waves of heartache that ooze out of me and onto the floor.

Winter has just begun. With any luck, I'll be cured before the first snow.

Friday, November 25

Post Turkey Reflection

Rising early this morning to temperatures in the high teens, the house was warm and toasty from laughter, good food and family bonds shared yesterday. I'm a firm believer that houses absorb the energy of people and creatures who inhabit them, even if for a brief time. Today, I have deep gratitude in my heart for KC and her family. They traveled from East and West Tennessee to the middle of the state to have their Thanksgiving celebration at Penuel Ridge.

The holidays have become such a stressful time for most of us. Family dynamics and the anticipation of spending time with people who share your dna, but don't feel or act like family, send many running to the medicine cabinet for a mood-enhancing cocktail. Yesterday, I may have come up with a solution...spend the holidays with someone else's family. Think about have no history (good or bad), no expectations, no dynamics, no buttons to push or be pushed.

Yesterday, I witnessed warmth between parents, siblings, grandparents and teenagers. Sitting around a common table, sampling favorite dishes, I was struck by similarities...aging parents who challenge each other and their adult children who struggle with the not-so-subtle role reversal between parent and child, teenagers absorbed in the latest pop culture headlines, attempts to create dialogue of substance and probing questions to better understand those we are related to.

It was a stunning day at Penuel Ridge. The wind laid and the temperature was in the upper 50's...the sky was clear and the sun brilliant. After a filling lunch, we donned our hiking boots, pulled on our jackets and struck out on the land, joined by Mocha who played the role of tour guide. We ventured through meadows, sang in the Chapel, climbed the trails and witnessed the glory of nature with its few remnants of color dotting the forest. The deafening crunch of brittle leaves under foot filled the air with one cymbal crash after another. As the shadows lengthened, the north wind picked up and we were driven indoors, into the warmth of the Retreat House and intimate conversations.

This morning, the land was quiet and still once again, save for the hawks circling and crying high overhead. Although a day late, I contemplate and reflect on what I am thankful for: warm pajamas, friends, time, pie, clarity, laughter through tears, Mocha, the land, emerging horizons, alchemy and so much more.

Thank you KC and family for sharing in what was truly a day of Thanksgiving for me.

Wednesday, November 23

Stumbling Onto Wonderful

I normally don't indulge myself in surfing mindlessly through blogs, but I came across one today that made me laugh out loud. In my current state of mind, that's saying something. Not only is it funny, but also educated me on what Gwen Stefani's been singing about. Enjoy:

Tuesday, November 22

Shallow Grave

I've fallen to my knees
digging with hands
too small for ground so hard
...where shall I bury it?

I've fallen to my knees
pleading with wind
too vast to gather in my arms will I capture it in my gunnysack?

I've fallen to my knees
listening for a melody
too distant to soothe aching senses
...when will its familiar cadence draw near?

I've fallen to my knees
fallen face first into a shallow grave
too small to pull in over me
...what creature will stumble upon the debris?

Will it be spring?

Hawk Shadows

Today, I walked and walked and walked and walked. Sometimes alone, sometimes with Mocha, sometimes with a fellow seeker on retreat.

It's cold. The wind has a bite to it as it blows fiercely down the meadow. I lean my body headfirst into the bitterness and put one foot in front of the other. Hawk shadows cross my path. I step over them so as not to disturb their hunt, their struggle to harness the wind.

Even as trees become bare, flowers shrivel as temperatures drop, wildlife and birds tuck themselves away...there is beauty here. In it's starkness, the essential exposes its resilient glory. I want to press it against my spine, let it flow inside my body and sustain me.

Sunday, November 20

Cliche of the Day

Cliches that have been hurled my way over the past 7 days:

"Everything happens for a reason."

"This too shall pass."

"You'll come out stronger on the other side."

and my favorite:

"Hang in there."

I'm not in the most receptive state of mind right now, so if you are attempting to comfort me with words that have been stitched on a pillow, fused onto a t-shirt or painted on a coffee mug, please do me a favor and keep it to yourself. I'd rather you say nothing at all or admit you don't know what to say. Better yet...pray for me...pray for my heart to be mended, my anger to be squelched, for sadness to be deflected and for my knees to stop buckling when I walk. Pray that I remember how to breathe.


Thursday, November 17

Words Fail Me

Other people's words when my own fail me:

"Everything terrible is something that needs our love."

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegaard

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. "
Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

"Isn't it love that keeps us breathing...isn't it love we're sent here for
Wasn't that love that we were feeling (it was something baby)
Deep in our souls...deeper than we know...keeping me holding out for

You, there was never any question
You'll be forever on my mind
You and I, we were meant to be together
True hearts in a world where love is dying was always you."

You by Bonnie Raitt


My neighbor Jo told me to expect this when I moved here, so when I went out this morning I was at first dazzled by the twinkling of hard frost in the early morning light. Then I noticed the water in the bird bath was frozen solid. As Mocha and I made our way down the drive toward the lake, there it was...hoarfrost...big as life!

hoarfrost: deposit of ice crystals on objects exposed to the free air, such as grass blades, tree branches, or leaves. It is formed by direct condensation of water vapor to ice at temperatures below freezing ...

What the encyclopedia Britannica definition doesn't say is that these deposits are vertical. They stick straight up, as if frost fairies staked them into the ground overnight. I'm trippin'.

Tuesday, November 15

Angels of Mercy

I don't know their names, but I owe two Southwest Airlines flight attendants (oops, I almost said stewardess) a debt of gratitude.

As I was crying and sobbing in my seat on the packed flight from Houston to Nashville, they very gently helped me up, took me to the back of the plane, propped me in a corner away from the boxes of snacks and the door to the lavatory, handed me a box of tissue, a glass of water and let me stay there the entire flight, even when we hit turbulence.

Have you ever tried to blow your nose at 36,000 feet when you've been crying non-stop? I thought I was going to have a stroke.

Now I'm sure it made their jobs easier to have me tucked away, not disturbing the other passengers, but I'd like to think they recognized a freshly broken heart and served a good dose of Southern comfort along with a bag of peanuts.

Monday, November 14

The Lost Season

Yesterday was filled with awe.
Even clinging to the hope of one more day,
they knew their destiny was to be a soft, damp blanket
cushioning the blow of footfalls and cleansing bitter tears.
Still, the air was filled with the glory of an autumnal hymn
as they fell to the ground.

Today, all has been washed away.
Outstretched arms of ancient growth draw down the sky
closer and closer until all has gone gray.
The sky cries out and tips of branches answer,
catching tears in mid air.
Rivulets cascade through cracked and caloused bark,
suffocating the fire...the sting of a lost season.

Tomorrow, all will be silent...
save the wailing of the wind through my heart.

The Inward Sea

There is in every person an inward sea, and in that sea there is an island and on that island there is an altar and standing guard before that altar is the "angel with the flaming sword." Nothing can get by that angel to be placed upon that altar unless it has the mark of your inner authority. Nothing passes "the angel with the flaming sword" to be placed upon your alter unless it be a part of "the fluid area of your consent." This is your crucial link with the Eternal.

Howard Thurman
Meditations of the Heart

Thursday, November 10

Dog Heaven

Thanks KC!!!!!

Here's the link to the website I was pining for:

NYC Dog Faces

Now I can peruse the mushy faces of NYC dogs again. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9


I stumbled upon a blog several months ago that captured my attention. I've somehow lost the link to it and am having withdrawals. It's a photo diary of dogs a woman encounters on her daily routine in NYC. If anyone knows the name of the blog or the link, I'd appreciate you letting me know.


The Zen of Shaving

Last night I dreamt about shaving my legs. It was quite zen...repetitive strokes, breathing in gentle steam as it rose from the shower floor, running my fingertips along smooth skin. I awoke from the dream mid-shave. Tonight, will the dream continue or will it elude me, leaving a p.s. on the shower door about tasks half completed?

Monday, November 7

The Archies Syndrome

Oh, Honey (uh uh uh uh uh uh) Ahh Sugar Sugar (uh uh uh uh uh uh ) you are my candy girl...and you got me wanting you (repeat 2 or 3 times, dancing optional).

One of my goals lately has been to give up sugar. It's been going pretty well...until yesterday. Miniature chocolate bars (left over Halloween candy would be my guess) were strewn all over the table at an all day meeting I attended. Then there were cookies served with lunch. Of course, fresh fruit was offered, but hmmm...peanut butter cookie or banana....chocolate chip cookie or an apple. No brainer there.

I don't know what it is about me and sugar...I'm an addict. I have to stay completely away from it...not satisfied with a little bit...have to have it all and won't stop until it's all gone.

This bothers me.

Sunday, November 6

I Wonder

For the past few years, a word has swirled around me, biting at my ankles. It peppered conversation, appeared in random quotes, during tarot readings and in meditation. I couldn't get away from it, would cover my ears to keep from hearing it and was genuinely angry that all these indicators were flashing, like a buzzing, garish neon light. The word is patience.

I realized sitting here watching the sun come up that I haven't heard, spoken or seen the word in print since I moved to the Ridge. I wonder if it's because I can now walk in patience or if I moved to an environment where I don't need to exercise patience? Could patience be lurking around the corner waiting to jump out at me? I would like to believe I've learned this difficult life lesson, but I wonder.

Friday, November 4

Picture This

Since I no longer have the benefit of a camera, I will describe to you the splendor surrounding me right now.

It's finally warmed up a bit...about 75 degrees today, so Mocha and I jumped into the SUV and headed into town (Nashville) for supplies. I take what's called by the locals as "River Road", which runs parallel to the Cumberland River. Up until now, I haven't been able to see the river from the road because the stands of lush trees and underbrush grow right up to the road. With the onset of fall, not only are the leaves taking on magnificent hues of copper, brass, gold, magenta and red, they are fluttering off the trees and onto the road like confetti. As the movement of my car sends the leaves rising, boiling and swirling behind me, I can see glimpses of the river and homes tucked into the side of ridges, hills and down in the valleys that had previously been obscured from sight. I have more neighbors than I thought!

Fall foliage is different in Tennessee than in New England. The Vermont falls I've experienced have been cymbal crashes of yellow, red, purple and, biting and crisp like the weather. The Tennessee fall is more subtle, as if an impressionist painter snuck in during the night and rubbed the images on the canvas with his fingers to soften the create a perpetual sense of a gentle breeze. Even if my camera were working, I don't think it could capture what I've seen thus far. The Tennessee fall seems to be made up of a heavy dose of anticipation, sprinkled with a little bit of showbusiness and wrapped up in a blanket of
cinnamon toast (my favorite cold weather snack!).

I love the twists and turns; the rise and descent of the drive down River Road. With all the windows rolled down, the CD player cranked up and dog ears flapping in the breeze, I sang at the top of my lungs to my favorite Train CD as the autumn day washed over me...blessed be.

Thursday, November 3

One Bear Too Many

So I sat slack-jawed for about 10 minutes after viewing a commerical for Charmin Fresh Mates on TV last night. I'm not a fan of their new ad campaign. I don't get the bears, why they would sidle up to a tree to do their business and why they would even need to use Charmin products.

Last night, I was appalled at the use of the word "behind" as a metaphor and even more appalled when they used toothpaste on the back of someone's hand to demonstrate how much cleaner the skin was after using a Fresh Mate as compared to regular toilet tissue.

Whatever happended to loveable Mr. Whipple? Now that was a guy who could sell some toilet paper.