Wednesday, March 28

Thin and Slow

Nuts, Crazy, Out of Control, Pulled in Too Many Directions....

That's my life right now.

Most of it is self-inflicted.

I don't like that about me.

I want to change that.

I hate having to push be ever-vigilant about guarding the sacred time I need to not let myself or anyone else chip away at the seconds, minutes and hours I could be creating...the whole reason I picked up my life and dog and moved to Tennessee.

Where is the balance?

I need community and the ways in which it feeds me. I need to engage the world, it inspires me. Community and the world have an insatiable appetite. I am but a small appetizer.

For those who are's what's been going on:

Spring...demands me to be out, taking photos, breathing it in, experiencing the wonder of the change in seasons.

People...coming and going in throngs at the Retreat Center. We are booked solid until June 29th. I am but one part-time staff person. Right now, it's a 40+ hour a week job.

Music...last weekend, the Chorus I sing in recorded a 15 track CD...our first. It took an entire weekend and a monumental amount of energy, focus and intensity. traveling with my Writer's Group this weekend to Asheville, NC to hear the Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet, Mary Oliver read her poetry, lecture and sign books. Seriously...Mary Oliver...I hope I remember to breathe.

Love...a most wondrous, amazing, unexpected love that grows deeper every day.

Writing...this is the first time I've written in a week...7 days...and this really isn't so much writing, as it is regurgitating facts and life events.

Misc. know, like dog poo that's stuck to your shoe with industrial strength glue. Can't seem to shake it off or get rid of the smell.

Hair...yesterday, it was down the middle of my, it's less than an inch all over. All donated to Locks for Love.

"Life's experiences coming thick and fast are the soul's appointed means of growth."

'Thick and Fast'

May I place an order of Thin and Slow please?

Wednesday, March 21

"It" Came Today

...all over me.

With trembling fingers, I held the tasteful, creme-colored, linen #10 business envelope. I read the return address:

Admissions Coordinator
Creative Writing Program
Stanford University
450 Serra Mall, Building 460
Stanford, CA 94305-2087

I wasn't expecting "it" for another 11 days. I felt the weight of "it"...very, maybe two sheets of paper enclosed. I flipped "it" over and ripped the seal with my right index finger and pulled out the letter, tri-fold, as a business letter should be. I opened "it" and began reading, skipping the date and salutation and going straight to the heart of the matter:

Thank you so much for your application for a Stegner Fellowship. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place in the program.

As my brain comprehended the meaning of these two short sentences, a car went by, blaring its horn. I realized I was standing in the middle of a two-lane rural road. Survival instincts kicked in and I scurried to the safety of the gravel road that leads up and around to the Retreat Center.

The rest of the letter was kind and gentle and encouraging and beautifully written, as one would hope a rejection letter from the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University would be and was signed by Eavan Boland, Director, Stanford Creative Writing Program.

I was disappointed, but not discouraged.

As I sat reading the entire letter and allowing "it" to settle over me, I noticed something...the salutation:

Dear Writer

and then I noticed something else..."it" doesn't match the envelope. "It" is on thin white paper, wait a minute..."it's" a photocopy.

A form letter...they sent me a form letter, but they called me a "writer." Yes, a "writer" and even better, a "writer" who's received her first rejection letter!

I'm disappointed, but not discouraged.


The Writer

Monday, March 19

Nature's Curves

Ornamental Grass Frond

Ornamental Grass Fronds
Entwined by the Wind

Just What the Doctor Ordered

A man came on a 3 day retreat this past weekend. He was alone.

This was his first time to retreat. He seemed tentative on the phone when he made his reservation...not sure what to expect, how he might react to the stillness, the quiet, the aloneness. Faced with having to make some tough decisions and needing the time and space to weigh those decisions fully, he overcame his apprehension, left the wife, the kids, the 24-7 on-call job, the dog, the cat, the TV, Internet, telephone, cell phone, pager and the comfort of familiar surroundings and ventured into the unknown...alone.

On the evening of the 2nd day, I checked in to see how things were going. He told me he was ready to go home. A quiet, private man, he said nothing more. He didn't need to, I understood. He had made his decision and was anxious to begin living it. In fact, he left before 7 AM on Sunday morning, before I had risen to bid him farewell.

He left behind an opened box of banana moon pies, a coffee cup of bacon grease and a note on the dry erase board that read, "thanks for everything."

I smiled as I picked up the box of banana moon pies, wondering if they were a guilty pleasure he could only enjoy alone or if he'd brought them along as a bit of comfort, just in case the journey was tougher than expected.

I whispered a prayer for him as I walked around wearing the silence of a Sunday morning, content to have been a witness to his journey.

Saturday, March 17

Wildflowers at Penuel Ridge

Red Trillium

Jacob's Ladder


Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Jabob's Ladder

nestled at the base of a tree.

Through the Roof

Barns...Abandoned and Otherwise

Double Cola Ad - Cheatham County

No Hunting - No Trespassing - Cheatham County

Facing North, Falling Apart - Cheatham County

Facing South, Intact - Cheatham County

Saucer Magnolia in Belle Meade

Yes, I trespassed on private property to take these pictures.
Saucer Magnolia aka Japanese Magnolia aka Tulip Tree

Tuesday, March 13

Hint of Spring

The official "First Day of Spring" is still a few days away, but warmer weather, blooming bulbs and the tips of tree branches exploding with new life tells me it's safe to put away the space heater and venture out in a single layer of clothes!

Enjoy these images of Creation's renewal at Penuel Ridge:

Morning sunshine igniting an emerging daffodil.

Orange makes an appearance with this bright insect nestled in the depths of an unfurling daffodil.

Mr. Cardinal voguing in a tree still clothed in the bare branches of winter.

Friday, March 9

Mystical Moments of Wonder


We travelled, you and I
to a place neither here nor there
somewhere in the ether, aloft
but aware

of each other
your face, inches from mine
our bodies aligned
one breath
one heartbeat
one voice
whispering in the night,
"see, feel, touch, taste"


Look into my eyes, you said,
and hold my gaze
and then you drew me deeply in
so deep inside of you
a place of light and warmth
and rainbow color swirling
all around the edges
You drew me gently down
into your core, into a space
entirely filled with love and joy;
with grace and gratitude
and all around me
you were singing YES!

Just breathe me in, you said
and so I did
inhaling slowly, fully
filling up my heart, my lungs,
my soul with you
my spirit rising buoyant
on this breath of you
my skin, my life expanding
to absorb you, to contain you
I drew you deeply in and held you,
breath of life residing in
the very core of me
and I am singing YES!

Thursday, March 8

Swaying Grace

Soft pine of swaying grace,
you are a lovely silent companion.

Your forever green needles
glisten in the sun, dancing
at the slightest breeze, reaching
to tickle my hand as I pen these words.

In truth, there is little silence
in your world at the base of the cascade.
Eyes closed, ears attune to a melody,
gently bowed by water over rock,
spilling arcing glissandos into an awaiting pool;
warbling, chirping, whistling, staccato notes
of birdsong lilting from nearby trees;
the wind, exhaling over ridge tops;
a constant presence in this place of pause.

Soft pine of swaying grace,
the wind moves you in supple surrender,
the sun and water nourish you
in ways of wonder.

In truth, there is no silence
in your world at the base of the cascade.
Your gentle nudging entreats me,

I bow to your wisdom...
and it is good.

Sunday, March 4

March Wind...Seed Harvest

I'm Lichen It!

Torrents of rain and a sudden, but brief surge in temperature were the perfect combination to whip up a little magic in the woods at Penuel Ridge.

The base of trees and low embankments on the trail are now brilliant with fluorescent green lichen.

A sharp contrast to the dark decay of winter.

Friday, March 2

This is an ALL SKATE

For those of you who don't speak skating rink , an ALL SKATE means everybody gets to participate!

Yes, spring is in the air and yes, I am in love. We've all been there, once or twice or ten times. We all know you can achieve Herculean feats while in the throes of new love, such as fully functioning on 2 hours sleep...but I digress.

This morning, while padding around the retreat center, a few things happened that made me laugh out loud at myself. I am fully attributing these rather odd occurrences to my current state of bliss and it made me wonder if you, my dear friends, have had similar experiences while under the spell of la' amour and would be so kind as to share:


(kindly fill in the blank)

I'm setting the bar not at the highest or the lowest, but at the silliest possible level by sharing my very own experiences from this morning:

1. You know you're in love when you've been walking around the house for an hour carrying an onion.

2. You know you're in love when you go to transfer your laundry to the dryer and realize the cup of laundry detergent you intended to put IN the washing machine is sitting ON TOP of the washing machine.

3. You know you're in love when you wake up singing...not in your head, but out loud.