Thursday, December 7, 2017

lists of names - ways we remember

Many summers ago, gathered with friends in an apartment on a Sunday morning,
I followed a rabbit trail of questions and ended up in St Matthew's genealogy of Jesus. 
It was the first time that I had seen anyone lean forward in interest when I started reading a list of names
... was the father of ... was the father of ...with the occasional whose mother was ...
The boys took their hoods off, and began to ask questions about the "begats", and whose grandfather David was, and how that story connected with another one that they had heard.

I discovered the author Debrah Ellis through a book
on McNally Robinson's 'once banned books' table
Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak  
It begins with names.  pages of names.
Palestinian and Israeli children who have been killed in the crossfire.

Ottawa's peace tower dominates the river bank
inside the memorial chamber, the names
of Canadian soldiers who have died in our wars
open books facing in all directions
names written with intricate calligraphy

each morning at 11:00 someone goes into the tower 
opens the glass
turns a page in each book
closes the glass

NYC's ground zero
marking the footprints of towers fallen
names of the people fallen etched deeply into the parapet
no mark on the horizon
waterfalls constantly rushing downward

a new tower standing defiantly by 
over constant crowds of people
tracing the letters
the names etched deeply into the parapet

Sunday, December 3, 2017

amtrack sunset

as the sun sets she calls
all color to herself
leaving the forests black
against a blazing sky

fading till all that is left
are faint glimmering
lights in the crescent moon's wake

Friday, November 17, 2017

places of power

I find myself googling museums and art galleries
frequented places and "must see" sights
13 things NOT to do in New York
20 minutes of things you MUST see

I get to tag along with Randy on a trip to Ottawa
I'll explore those streets and spaces while he
does the work accomplished in meetings with a diverse and
invested group of people

and then we will take a train to New York

kaleidoscope of known landscape and places
events and scenes
documented in a thousand songs and screens

we will miss the lighting of the Rockefeller tree by one day
we will see one show - one of a thousand possibilities
we will see a choir - Randy's sister in a choir- in Carnegie Hall

we will walk
and smell and taste and listen

people used to prairie spaces
trying to drink in this intersection of life
with a teaspoon of time

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Janine Karen

I have a sister
who leaves music in her wake
melodies fly from her fingertips
sing themselves through her heart and mind

she finds them for me
as we sit, laughing
or talking on our pillows at night
on those rare weekends together

plays them on my piano
or hers
or any piano standing idle

I can sit beside her with my guitar and sing along
and she grins and keeps singing
Randy can pick up the violin
and she grins even more
and keeps singing

but whether we join her or not
the music just keeps bubbling up
and running over and watering my soul

I shall not want

Friday, October 6, 2017


I have a memory of waking up in the early morning hours
day still shrouded in darkness
heart beating wildly
in response to a frightening image 
from a childhood dream

light shining through my bedroom doorway
from the kitchen
where my mom stood behind an ironing board

preparing for the day 
in that quiet space 
after Dad had gone to work
before the children woke

steam rising
board creaking as the iron moved 
rhythmically back and forth

instantly calmed 
I drifted back to sleep

I explored abandoned houses on the land 
where my mom was born
huge expanse of sky and grass

horizons shaped for wind 
to gather speed 
gather dust or snow

horizons shaped to deceive
hiding river valleys with sand castles
disguising antelope frozen in place
creating a mirage of endless bison herds 
tipis puncturing the skyline 

trees new settlers on the grassland

"That tree wasn't there when I was little" 
my aunt remarked when she saw the pictures. 
"There were no trees."  

she looked at the pictures of a little house
told me about the stairs up to the attic where she and her sister slept
told me where the back door would have been, 
   the back porch where my grandfather would sit in the weeks 
   after the horses had bolted
   breaking his leg 
remembered her mom standing in the kitchen

Thursday, August 31, 2017

on the ground

my gardens are thirsty
sunflower stems are yellowing
tips of tomato plants are red, sucking up every bit of moisture and sunshine possible
kale curls untroubled by the heat
flowers in pots stiffen by the end of the day if they don't get another drink

we feast in this season of dry summer
basil pesto and tomatoes on pizza
cucumbers sliced and feta'd
apples picked by my grandchildrens' hands
last sweet raspberries

green beans still flowering ... undaunted by consistent slug attacks
(green beans win the persistence award of 2017)
rhubarb thriving despite a spring divide
petunias DO grow on the north end of my deck ... I will repeat next year

morning glories still climbing, still starting new seeds from the ground,
quickly flowering ... knowing that their season now is short
how do they know?

Saturday, August 26, 2017


Total eclipse through Randy's telescope.  

Love this man and his awe at the universe that God created and holds in His hand.

capturing the moments

deepening shadow - almost total 

diamond ring flash

light of the total eclipse - lasted just over 2 minutes

total eclipse shadow again

We couldn't believe it was over.  Time seemed suspended.
There was much yelling and awestruck exclaiming.
Someone just down the hill called out "the world *didn't* come to an end!" and everyone laughed.  

looking through the telescope at the sunspots  

and it begins

the light was starting to thin and we wondered if it was getting cooler

the temperature dropped close to 10 degrees, the birds were starting to sing evening songs, and it felt like dusk

staggering white light shone as the sun disappeared!

last glimmers of the diamond ring

almost full corona

First glimpse of the sun on the mountain that morning.
Yep.  We were listening to James Taylor play "Here comes the sun"!