Wednesday, February 27

Snowy Morning

Its' been snowing off and on since 5 pm yesterday. At this moment, I'm looking out the window at what this Texas girl would call a blizzard! The flakes are huge and being whipped about by gusts of wind that disallow their gentle ascent to the ground. This must be what it's like to live in a snow globe.

The snow shows off the bones of this place, the eye is drawn to the depths of the hollows and heights of the ridges. Even the steps leading from the meadow to the house resemble the human spine. I recently read that the exact minerals found in the Earth are found in the human body and in the same percentages. Our kinship is evident in these photos.

A Bear in the Chair

Kenzie aka Miss Moonbeam
taking an upside-down siesta

Monday, February 25

Remnants of a Season

Roadside Waterfall
Skyuka Mountain
Ancient Vine at Biltmore Mansion

Gnarled Roots at Dry Creek

Wild Mushrooms

These photos were all taken in the Fall of 2007, following a severe drought throughout the summer. I was struck by the similarities in color palette, shape and form. Twisted, gnarled, cracked, but all surviving despite the arid season that preceded.

Thursday, February 21

Heart-Shaped World

Turn this heart-shaped world
upside down,
find the feminine form,
the beautifully rounded bottom
poured from the pitcher of Creation

Turn this heart-shaped world
right side up,
water, land masses, populace
flow into harmony and balance

Turn this heart-shaped world
on either side,
nothing will be lost,
simply held in trust...
the gift
poured from the pitcher of Creation

Monday, February 18

A Treasure in the Hen House

Last week, I had a Virgo moment and reorganized my office. This involved moving a file cabinet upstairs that had been in storage for who knows how long. I pulled every folder, piece of paper and stack of junk out of my office. It took an entire day to assimilate, discard, recycle and shred and yes, it was glorious!

Now, it was time to put the surviving papers away in an orderly fashion. First, I wanted to thoroughly clean the "new" file cabinet. The top drawer was no problem, just needed a little wiping down with some 409. Now I was picking up the second drawer I was starting to encounter bits of debris...time to get the vacuum cleaner. Third drawer, spider webs, scraps of old paper, twigs, straw and what's this, a feather? Hmmm...wonder what awaits me in the bottom drawer.

A hen's nest! Yes, lovely pure white feathers and a nest. This was going to require reinforcements. I pulled out the drawer and wedged in the back of the file cabinet was a packet of very old genealogy documents. My sense of adventure trumped my need to be organized and sat down to gingerly open each envelope. Most were inquiries for census, birth, death and education records, but I hit the jackpot when I unfolded a letter penned 120 years ago, now yellow with age and crumbling at the folds:

Woodville, Tenn

April 28, 1888


This is the anniversary of our marriage thirty years ago. Then you were young and I loved you as my bride. Since, and through the years which with many blessings have brought also some hard trials and afflictions, you have proven to be a [ ] to all the emergencies of life. You have developed strength and beauty of wifely and motherly character commanding my admiration and love in the highest degree. In your sphere you have no superior among all the women I have known on earth. I thank you that you are my wife "the best in the world". I wish I could be as good a husband as you are a wife. I do love you with an undivided heart - love you more and more; but I cannot love you more than is even possbile as you deserve. And you are the best mother on earth. The only thing in you that hurts me is that you are sacrficing yourself for me and the children. Do spare yourself, my darling.

Dear Louise - may she soon be better! How I love her! By Monday morning's mail send me a few words on postal card, care of Pub. House and a letter later in the week. Monday at 11:40 a.m. I expect to take the train at Curve for Nashville. I am well as usual. Love to all of you and most of all for you.


So taken was I by this find, all interest in the origin of the hen's nest was lost. I still don't know how it found it's way into the basement of Penuel Ridge. Those of you who care to speculate, feel free to leave a comment.

Metaphorically Speaking

Consider the dial of a compass,
with its cardinal points
free-floating to the call
of magnetic north.

A handy tool
to steer you home
when the dust settles
after a belly slide into third base.

But what if the only movement
is the running of the bases
over and over again
in your mind?

What then is the tool
to discern the direction
of true north?

Wednesday, February 13

The Color of the Day - White

Eyes open
snow falling
shoes crunching
in silent woods

Mouth smiling
dog bounding
lake swallowing
feathery flakes

Eaves wear
icicle lashes
sun cresting
the craggy ridge

Meadow strewn
with diamonds dazzling
air glistening
spirit is fed

Tuesday, February 12

Tearing Down

Tearing down to rebuild,
that's how life feels.

In the end,
I will savor
the new state
of liberation.

For now,
my psyche groans
as I struggle
to loosen the bindings.

Monday, February 11

Headline Worthy

*Why, Why, Why...

are the donuts on the opposite end of the grocery store from the tampons?

In my perfect world, there's a case of piping hot Shipley's plain glazed donuts between the condoms/lube/douche products and the tampons/panty liners/pads. No matter what your activity of the moment, you can self-medicate with a donut.

Does Mr. Retailer really want me stomping across the store in a PMS fog wielding a large box of tampons?

*My apologies to the "greeter" at WalMart to whom I posed this question at 4:30 am. Sadly, for all 5 people in the store at the time, the donut case was empty.

Sunday, February 10


“I had three good kids” is what my momma always says
I wonder what part of that is still true?

I guess we were good
as long as we were under her roof

Like most children
we grew
Like some children
we went out into the world

and learned
what we heard around the dinner table,
what we heard in the church pew
wasn’t true

my brother learned
that just because he could
drive a car fast
didn’t mean he couldn’t get hurt

my sister learned
that just because the boys
in our town didn’t court her
didn’t mean she wasn’t beautiful

me, I learned
that just because the preacher
taught one way to salvation
didn’t mean there weren’t other ways

my brother’s been married twice
and his only son is about to go
to prison for selling drugs
he (my brother) and his second wife
are disrespectful to my mom

I don’t talk to them anymore

my sister practices a religion of exclusion
she’s a good mom
and her only son is about to get married
we were close once

we don’t talk much anymore

me, I’m finding my way back
to myself after a 16 year marriage
to a deeply wounded man,
I'm finding my way back
to a self I didn’t know existed

I don’t talk to many people

but I talk to the prayer inside me
and I talk to my dog
and I talk to the birds
and to the trees
and to the creatures
that show themselves to me

…and the way to salvation

Saturday, February 9

Meringue Pie Sky

meringue pie sky
foamy white peaks
scooped off the top
as they were cooling

who could fling it higher
so it'd stick
in the deep blue
hanging over our heads

we try not to giggle at momma
standing there
with one hand on her hip
looking at those naked pies

Barn at Bell's Bend Park

Release the Hound!

This is the mournful face of a golden retriever in the back of a Ford Explorer at the entrance to a dog-friendly park. Said park has hundreds of acres on which Mr. Gloomy Gus could have frolicked to his heart's delight.

Is that not the most pitiful face you have ever seen? I could plant corn in a furrow that deep.

Where are his people? Surely they didn't go walking in the park without the furry one.

In my dying moments, this face will flash before my eyes.

Sunday, February 3

Sans the Super Bowl

It's Super Bowl Sunday, and I have no intention of watching the game. We've had a break in the weather and it's pleasant enough to go outside in two layers of clothing and/or one layer of very brown fur, if you're a Mocha dog.

I sat on a bench next to the lake and listened to birdsong and the sound of water rushing over the spillway with my eyes closed. Eyes open, I know each bird by name. Eyes closed, their identity is lost. The lake cast an upside-down reflection of the sky and surrounding trees, it's surface washed clean by wind and storms from previous days.

Partway through the afternoon, we jumped in the car and off we went on an old-fashioned Sunday drive in the country. Initially, I was looking for a road that ran parallel to the east shore of the Cumberland River. I often spy amazing homes perched atop those eastern bluffs and wanted to get a closer look. The Universe had a different idea as to my destination because every road I turned down was a dead end.

Catching the hint, I changed direction and used my instincts to locate a new dog-friendly park (Bell's Bend Park) and poof, it materialized after only a few turns. It covers hundreds of acres that were originally slotted to become a landfill for Nashville. When Mayor Purcell took office, he immediately redirected its usage for the Parks and Recreation Department...what a guy! I have a feeling it's going to be my new favorite destination. Its flat, low-lying delta sloping to the Cumberland is a little reminder of home!

On the drive back, I noticed an interesting detour off the not-so-beaten path that led to an old ferry crossing. We took the bait and were not disappointed by the miles of barns, livestock, silos and generations-old family farms. Driving slowly, a long metal fence caught the attention with its plethora of "Private Property, No Trespassing" signs flapping in the breeze. Past those signs, I spied movement maybe 100 yards away...two creatures, very large and very white grazing on short turf grass. At first I thought they were some sort of exotic livestock, since I'd just passed a farm with llamas, pigmy goats and donkeys.

All at once, I realized what I was seeing...a pair of whooping cranes! A rare and nearly exstinct bird that one would never expect to see in Tennessee is one I saw often growing up in South Texas. Our Texas Gulf Coast is the over-wintering home of hundreds of whooping cranes. Luckily, I had my camera and hoped for the best picture possible. My apologies for the poor quality, but they were very far away and I had no intention of entering their habitat to get closer.

Unbeknownst to me, an article had been written in early January about the appearance of these rare cranes. Here's a link to the story and a better picture:

Prayer Flags

Voices hushed
by the roaring cascade,
tattered prayer flags
mumble from the branches
of a black walnut tree.