Friday, March 27, 2015

Last Friday's Meditation Was a Story

I was five or six. I don't remember exactly how old, and Fatso, my blind cat, was my baby. Grandma had sewn a lavender dress for my big plastic baby doll. I didn't have the heart to tell her I didn't like the big plastic baby doll. I loved the dress which had little puffed sleeves and piping at a high waist and on a sweet white collar. It was gathered gently at the waist and a tiny pearl button closed at the back of the neck.

I remember that I played in the back yard on a sunny day. I put that dress on Fatso, my big baby kitty, threading his front legs through those sweet puffed sleeves, pulling the dress over his head. He never fought, just laid there in the grass, purring and staring into my eyes. I never buttoned the tiny pearl button, worrying about choking him. I pulled his thick mane out over the collar and smoothed it down, telling him he was my baby, my sweet furry baby, and he purred as I smoothed his fur under his lavender dress. And I laughed at his furry bloomers.

Then, I picked up my big furry baby, his back legs dangling below my knees and his front legs sticking out. I tried to be gentle as I laid him down in my doll buggy, the old style ones called prams or carriages. Then I covered him in a tiny doll blanket, pilled and gray from use, and tucked in his bottom feet. I puffed his sleeves and put his arms on top of the blanket where he let them lie.

"Pretty baby," I said and he purred a reply.

And then I took off across the bumpy lawn at a clip pushing my baby in his buggy on a sunny day.

Thank you for listening, jb

Still Meditating

It was lovely.
I'm convinced
that a dream of a house
is my soul,
sometimes too crowded,
once filled with shit,
often on a cliff.
Last night, I dreamed
of my house, my soul,
of having so many rooms
I hadn't counted them.
There was room for all of us.
There were views of mountains
and a river
and trees in bloom.
There were rooms
with large cozy beds
and fireplaces for cool nights.
My house was clean and painted white
and had a refridgerator
that was deep
and full of food.
Food for my soul,
a safe place
to look out over the world.
In my soul,
Nick and Mike were safe,
though we lost track of time
and space
and they were late for something.
We lived on a hill,
not too steep.
I've dreamed of my house
on a cliff, offering only vertigo,
of living under a rotted roof,
of junk hanging from rafters,
of crowds coming and going
as they pleased.
Those are the worst dreams,
when people wander through my soul
as if it belonged to them.
This dream, this home,
was mine
and any people there
were loved
and were welcome.
I have begged for tranquil dreams
for a change.
This dream, I know,
was a gift. 

Thank you for listening, jb

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Embarrassing Versus Amusing

Okay, I have to admit that I've been in a strange mood lately. I'm fifty-five years old and I'm thinking of getting a tattoo on my head.

Here's the story - it's never going to look good again. My hair doesn't grow right. It just doesn't. I spent a lot of money trying to get results. Nothing. I might as well look a little funky then, right?

But a tattoo could look funky or it could look downright strange. I like how this woman looks. She looks cheerful and I agree with her. Wigs and hats are no good. Why bother with them?

Maybe the moon is in a different house. I've never really followed astrology, but if it's true, I'm out of phase, even with myself. Before I go running off to get that tattoo designed on my head, I'm going to wait a while and see what I think when I'm back in phase with myself. I am just not normal today.

'Today?' you might say. 'You're not normal today?' Well, okay. I'm really pretty far off from normal today.

And I've got chia seeds in my teeth right now. I've been putting them on my salads. They have the consistency of kiwi or strawberry seeds and they don't actually taste like anything. I like the texture. The books all say I'm supposed to eat more seeds and greens, so I sprinkle them on and they seem to help keep me from getting hungry too soon after I eat a healthy meal.

But they get stuck in my teeth along with spinach and that is so embarrassing.

Here's the thing. I think I may be passing into a new phase of my life. I used to be able to see that people, especially men, were embarrassed to be seen talking with me. I haven't been cool, if I ever was, for a long time, but it made me mad that people couldn't even be seen talking to me. I mean, really. Talking?

Those people are gone. I walked away. Sometimes I literally walked away from them. There's one guy who has a daughter at my son's school. He's good looking. You know, that GQ look that means you can never trust the guy? That guy can't be seen talking to me unless I'm with my cute perky friend who also has a kid at my son's school although he always beams in on her and tries to ignore me at the same time. I grind my teeth in his direction whenever he approaches the two of us. It might look like a smile, but it doesn't reach my eyes. You know the kind of smile I mean. This guy was once so rude to me in front of a bunch of other parents that I walked away. He didn't care, but I felt better. He was just not worth a moment of my time, not one microsecond.

And for the most part, it works. I feel fine. I forget that I'm aging badly and I just go around talking to people without a thought to my looks. What the hell, right? I can't undo most of it, so I should just ignore it and carry on. Anyone who's embarrassed being seen with me can just go to hell.

But I've noticed I'm shifting into a new phase. I'm becoming that amusing little old lady. I am. I was out in my kayak the other afternoon and heading back to the boat launch. A couple of guys walked toward the lake shore as if I needed to be rescued.

"Do you have a rope you can throw us?" one of them said. He walked to the edge of the water, but not a drop touched his shoes.

"No," I said. "I don't need to throw you a rope. I need to learn to get out of my own kayak and since this is my first time in it, this is the day I learn."

 Maybe that was a little harsh, so I let them stare down at me as I rolled out of my kayak. I just hate when people stand there and stare at me as if I am the show while I'm struggling with something new. So, I babbled on a bit. 

"I wouldn't want to grind the bottom of my boat on gravel. It'll take me a while to figure out how to do it, but I'll manage." At that point, I had leaned over, put my left hand into eight inches of frigid water and I rolled out of my boat, basically doing a face-plant. But, I was out and before too long, the show was over and I stood up and carried my lovely new kayak up to my car where I pretended I wasn't dripping where I could deflate it in relative peace. That was the only time I had wished I had been wearing a wet suit that day.

Those guys hadn't been embarrassed talking to me. They approached me. They were condescending, but I had become amusing. I saw it the other day at the sporting goods store when I bought my paddle too. I had become an amusement.

Well okay, it may be a little better than being embarrassing, so I'll take it. If I got a tattoo on my head, I'd better be prepared for people to pull out a camera while I'm doing something I should be rescued from.

Or maybe they'd think I was crazy and leave me alone.

Thank you for listening, jb

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Words that Fall Out of Meditation


Not in confusing connections.
In the man who doesn't nag,
who wants my help,
who appreciates a good meal
and any lame attempts at cleaning,
who shares laughter, shows,
and quiet Saturday mornings.

Not in criticism,
but in the sleeping form
under the blankets,
in the gait, a swagger
which he'll never see,
in the way he looks
like me, like him, like me,
not in the way
he emulates my sin
but in effortless authority,
in jokes,
terraforming and repellant,
in holding the cat to his cheek.

Not in guilt
but in giving up
the need to compete,
in allowing me
to exist in conversation,
in weakness exposed,
in a bad dream
seven years ago
that hinted of remorse,
in dogwood and peony
and dianthus and yew.

Not in control
or in fury,
but in the orange ear ring
clipped to one ear,
in the way
he quietly taught the lathe,
in cake, ugly and green,
shaped like a dragon.

Not in being smarter
but in languages,
in shared books,
in knowledge that something
is wrong way out here,
though it irritates
when pain is exposed,
in garlic pickles in 1981,
in bread rising,
in France and Germany
and Switzerland and Spain shared.

Not in criticizing
but in watching a sleeping form
and whispering soft words
to be heard only in sleep,
in Irish soda bread,
in long walks and watching clouds,
in beautiful salad
or soup that warms,
in good words, spoken or written,
in finding tiny wondrous things
or in the way
I give.

Thank you for listening, jb

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Having Irish Tastebuds

Mike and I are both more than half Irish. That means that Nick is more Irish than anything else. Oh, Mike is part Scottish and part English. I'm part mutt in addition to Irish and German, but the Irish is predominant. Sometimes I wonder how much food preferences are passed through genetics. I love Irish food, bangers, black and white pudding, Guinness, stews, all of it. Right now, corned beef is bubbling in the slow cooker.

It's the season for making Irish soda bread. Few things last through a hundred and sixty-five years of mixing cultures and traditions. Food and child-rearing are the only ones I can think of. I was raised on a German foundation, it seems, food and discipline, meat, sour kraut, potatoes, and dense sweet cake. When I went to Germany, I felt very much at home. Though my German hosts were better cooks than my mother, it was my Grandma's house, the smells and flavors that came to mind when I ate in Germany. I could have cried when the woman put the plate of food in front of me and it looked, smelled, and tasted like being at Grandma's house. I had no German words to express it and she didn't need English to understand.

Mike's residual culture is Irish, so when his Grandma showed me how to make the Irish soda bread twenty-five years ago, I paid attention. Her recipe is easy but different than any Irish soda bread I've ever eaten, even when we went to Ireland. After all of these years, it's the combination of raisins and caraway seeds in the bread that reminds me of the season, birthdays, spring, and St. Patrick's Day.

Last week, Nick told me he wanted to bring Irish soda bread to his Language Arts class. He's been bringing Irish soda bread to class for St. Patrick's day since he was in preschool. Back then, it involved twelve kids, one loaf and a little bit of butter. When he went into sixth grade, he announced that he wanted it for every class. What? I put my foot down and agreed on one class of his choice. Only his favorite teacher made the cut. This year, he wanted to bring it to two classes. That's 64 kids. I told him if that was what he wanted, he could make bread a week ahead and I would make it the second time.

For thirty-two kids, he took four small loaves leaving us with one and a half loaves, triple the recipe. I've found that after you multiply a recipe by four, it begins to shift out of proportions. I don't know why. At that point, it's better to weigh the ingredients.

When we were in Ireland, we ate soda bread almost every morning. Sometimes it was light and had raisins and caraway seeds the way we know it. Sometimes it was dense, almost like a meatloaf. Raisins were optional, but caraway seeds were always there in it.

This week, Mike asked for two loaves for work and two loaves for his Boy Scout troop. I tripled the recipe again and it still only left one loaf for us at home. So, tonight, we had corned beef and potatoes for dinner. Mike can't eat cabbage and I don't think Nick or I missed it. And we're going to eat Irish soda bread for an appetizer, with dinner, and as dessert. I might even have a beer after we get home from the Scout meeting. I should get a Guinness.

It's good to be Irish, isn't it?

Thank you for listening, jb

Putting On My Kayak for the First Time

So yesterday, I was trying to take you with me for a ride in my new kayak when I was waylaid by a dog who jumped into the back of my car. That was fun.

Finally, I did manage to blow up my brand new kayak without blowing it to bits. There were two small compartments that wouldn't hold air at all, but I was pretty sure they weren't critical and I probably wasn't doing it right, so I hauled the boat down to the water, avoiding the fishermen at the boat launch. I didn't imagine hooks and inflatable kayaks would go together very well and I didn't feel like going on display the first time I tried to wrangle into my boat. I've looked pretty dorky squeezing into the other kayaks and it seemed that I always had an audience.

I put my kayak into the water for the first time and it didn't shrivel or sink, so I tried to balance on one foot to put the other foot in. Okay, I really didn't want to scratch my beautiful green paddle the first time I used it, so I balanced it like a tightrope walker and tried to lift that left foot off the gravel.

It was as if my brain wouldn't let me lift my foot!

Okay, so I know I should have put on my wetsuit. It's March and this is glacial melt that I'm standing in. I wore my wetsuit booties and neoprene socks. I wore a fleece jacket under my life jacket. I had my neoprene paddling gloves at the ready in the webbing of my boat. I just wasn't in the mood to wrestle in a portapotty to get my old wetsuit up over my lumpy butt. Please don't try to picture that. Please.

Ah crap. Too late.

So, I'm standing there, imagining myself falling down into into that ice cold water.

There is a combination of air and water temperature at which it is safe to paddle a small boat. Beneath that safe point, people should be wearing a wet suit. I don't remember that number. Once, I jumped into Diablo Lake. It was ninety degrees out that day, but the water temperature was only 48 degrees. While the others waded in, I leaped off the end of the dock. I struggled to keep from gasping under water until I floated to the surface. The air temperature yesterday was closer to 50 degrees. The water temperature? I would guess about 45 or less, too cold for swimming, even accidentally. The charts for Rattlesnake Lake don't even include March, April, or the beginning of May. Now, I want to bring a thermometer for next time. I rationalized that I'd paddle close to shore, but thinking about it now, that gasp reflex should have pushed my lumpy butt straight into my wetsuit. It's that kind of thinking that can get a person into trouble, one small mistake after another small mistake, and they cascade and suddenly, you're struggling to survive.

Remember, I'm still standing there, in eight inches of water, trying to lift one foot into my boat. Finally, I balanced well enough, skipped over my common sense and got the courage to fall into the water in front of a half a dozen people who were smartly on the shore. I lifted my left boot.

A quart of water flooded from my boots and quick-dry pants into my boat as I shifted my weight to the boat. Then, I sat down in my puddle. Wet suit next time. Definitely a wet suit. I tried to shift the seat into position, tucked my left foot in front of me, and tried to get my right foot off the gravel and into the boat as more water came in  over the side that was pushed down by my leg. I leaned to the left and rather than an elegant move, my leg flopped onto the top of the kayak. I wobbled, but didn't spill. Good news. My new kayak is stable.

The next part was probably mildly amusing as I wrestled to hold onto my right leg, trying to get it to fold up, Indian-style, and tuck into the front of the boat. I'm fifty-five years old, people. I don't bend that way very well any more. I got a little cramp and had to let my leg rest on the top of the kayak and lean back while it went away. Second try, third try, and finally I tucked in.

My seat back was skewed and my life jacket pushed up around my ears. I wiggled some more, but then paddled away from the crowd at the beach so I could adjust in semi-private. Behind one of the old growth stumps, I tightened the seat straps so I could paddle more upright. I was stuck with the left side digging into my rib a little because I wasn't sitting squarely on the pad. It wasn't too bad, though, so I figured I'd iron out the details the next time I paddled.

My life jacket never did get pulled down properly and I found that, like an infant, I could mouth the bit that was up around my face. It wasn't all that uncomfortable and my arms were free to paddle.

I have a waddle kayak. It's lovely and it moves, but with every stroke, it waddles to and fro in the water. There isn't much tracking, so it's not going to be a distance boat, not that I expected that tiny rudder on the bottom to make it track.

But it will be great for these small lakes and there are a bunch of small lakes for me to explore - Rattlesnake, Beaver, Pine, Ames, Alice, all within twenty a minutes drive and Sammamish, Washington, and Union for when I get stronger and more courageous. I'm sure if I look at a map, I'll be able to come up with a dozen or so more places to paddle my little orange kayak. Plus, it will be great for float trips on the Snoqualmie when we have a group that goes, but I guarantee that I'll lose it to Nick on those trips.

I leaned back and looked up at Rattlesnake Ledge. I could stay out here all day. The sky was clear. I spun around in a quick motion. Clouds scuttled along Cedar Ridge to the South. Light clouds touched the horizon to the West. Boulders and old growth tree stumps lined the North edge of the water and I began to make my way around groups of geese to the right and paddle past the main beach.

The wind picked up, but as I hugged the shore, I didn't feel it as much. I felt stable in my kayak, even cozy, as if I were sitting in a brand new sleeping bag with extra loft. I could have slept in this thing. I leaned back and stopped paddling for a bit. I closed my eyes. This was heaven, absolute heaven.

I realized as I let the wind turn the kayak broadside so it could push me more effectively, that my main dilemma was that if I drifted to the far end of the lake, my damaged left shoulder might have trouble getting me back. Just about that time, when I was only half way down the length of the lake, a twinge told me I was right and I should head back to the launch.

Bummer. Out of time once again.

Thank you for listening, jb

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Beast in My Car

Oh man, I am so tired.

You know that I had to endure a whole week with my new kayak before I could get out and play with it, don't you? Did you also know that I finally got my turn this afternoon after walking Teddy four miles with his crazy-haired hyper friend? The funny thing about Teddy's crazy-haired hyper friend is that she's so much like her owner, it makes me laugh.

But this is not about how people pick dogs like themselves. It's not, but I love that about people.

Nope. This is about me driving out to the lake and blowing up my new kayak.

My car-charger air pump didn't come in yet, so Mike found a piece-of-crap air pump and I brought that, knowing it would be a pain in the neck and take forever, but it would work.

So, I've been driving around for a week with my pretty green paddle, my inflatable kayak, my life jacket, wet suit, bathing suit, neoprene socks and gloves, booties, cat straps, so I wouldn't lose my glasses, and my mostly-dry bag.

All I added today was a canteen, snap peas, almonds, hummus, and I was good to go.

It did take forever to blow up my kayak with the stupid-crap air pump. The tube kept falling off and I had no idea how much pressure I was adding. But while I was working, a bunch of people arrived with about four kids and six dogs between them. I heard something snapping and popping in the distance down by the lakeside and the kids, I could tell, were having a great time. So were most of the dogs.

But one dog, the biggest dog, a huge black wet furry beast, ran over around the backside of my car and hopped into the open hatch. When I went over to the back of the car to look at him, he looked sideways at me like there was no way I was going to drag his butt out of my car.

Actually, I felt kind of honored that he chose my car. It was the only car with the hatch open for three miles, but I am still dog-dork enough to be honored by that. His people walked over and laughed at the look on his face. The dog looked at her as if there was no way she was going to drag his butt out of the back of my car too. I told her he was fine there because I wasn't done blowing up my new kayak with the piece-of-worthless air pump. She and I, and her toddler, stood and talked for a while as the great, hairy beast began to relax in the back of my car.

"Get out you beast," she said to him.

"Oh, he can stay for a bit if he wants," I said. "It looks like he's going to stay for a bit."

"Oh, I am so sorry. He's soaking wet."

"Well, he could probably smell the soaking wet dog that usually jumps in there. The whole car is covered in soaking-wet-dog smell."

"Well, okay, as long as he's not going to ruin anything."

I snorted. I walked over and noticed that my kayak instructions were mostly under his soaking wet and gritty-with-sand-and-fur belly. I gently tugged at it and, thankfully, it came out in one piece. It was good because I still hadn't finished reading the instructions. The great hairy beasty looked sideways at me as if there was no way I could order him from the premises, but I nodded at him, not quite reaching out to pet him, and told him to stay. Stay, a word that random dog monsters might know.

"I have four chickens," said the toddler.

"That's really nice," I said.

"They're fluffy and their names are Finger, Larry, Muffin, and Beard."

"Those are good names." I began to fear that Lord-Over-Muffin-Beard and Wet-Black-Fur Monster were going to keep me from paddling all afternoon. I'd already stowed my phone in the car, the driest place I could think of, and I didn't want to dig it back out to see how much time I had left.

Finally, Queen-of-Lord-Over-Muffin-Beard convinced the Fur-Beast that it was safe to leave the smelly, furry hatch of the crazy lady with the piece-of-plastic air pump and the shiny new orange partly-blown-up kayak. She did not get her arm chewed off.

I didn't even get to tell you about getting into my kayak and how it felt to noodle around the lake on a cold sunny day. Well, another time, I suppose.

Thank you for listening, jb

Not Very Good at Meditating


Woke up worried
my boy, the gutter, the roof,
my boy.
Rain out the broken gutter
woke me
too early.
my boy, alone, TV
video games
marathon video games
not enough time with friends
busy friends
my boy sitting, not going.
The roof repair
sitting, waiting for an estimate,
holes seem to widen
as we wait,
rot gets more rotten
while waiting.
The leaning tree is gone.
I can give up worrying
about that.
Finally, a relief washing over me.
But could they paint the house,
fix the roof,
put up the gutter,
fix the drawer and pocket doors?
Could they put new planking
on my deck?
Could they turn off the TV
gently so the boy
in a coma
doesn't notice,
so the boy will slowly awaken,
wander outside
and take a long deep breath
of life in the trees,
in the air,
in the rain?


Fog, protective, to hide from the world. A balm of damp, fresh, weaving into trees, showing layers. Hidden in the open, safe, blanketed in white, 1200 threadcount. Part of the clouds, as if I am flying. Close my eyes and I am a bird in the clouds, taking a drink.

Canteen and food. Food so I don't get lost in my weak blood. I need my kayak at dawn. Grandpa went to the lake before dawn to fish and see the morning come, for the solitude. Like me. He had his own boat, like me, something he could manage on his own. He went to the lake at dawn for solitude, for silence, to gather thoughts that might otherwise stray. If only he wrote, I could have gathered them to me and not lost them myself. I could have had them when I was older than he ever was.

At the lake now, at least in my mind, floating quietly, hearing my paddle drip, the chitter of an eagle above, an osprey dropping to the water. I've imagined this scene so many times, especially since Todd gave me the dream for my birthday. Floating, flying, paddling through the reflection of the sky, finding something new every time, no need to search out new places. I find newness right here if I pay attention.

Class, pay attention.

MIB. Not that kind of attention. Open, find a universe lies there. Up close. A droplet, a scene under the surface, under the leaf studded with tiny brown dots of hope, spores. Just look and breathe in air near the water, so different than air five feet off the ground.

On the water, floating, flying, paddling. Losing track of time.
Floating, flying, paddling.
Floating, flying, paddling.

Thank you for listening, jb

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Is this Meditating?


The breeze is too cool
on my neck and face.
The sky is dark
but not threatening rain
or even droplets.
My boy, wrapped in blankets,
reads with the cat,
harnessed for safety,
at his side.
It's 'outside' so the cat
lifts each paw and bows
for the harness.
Here outside, a rooster crows,
there's a pause in road noise,
a dog barks.
My boy stops reading
and daydreams out loud,
a night on the deck
with his friends.
The cat complains
when he is lifted
to untangle the chair.
My boy bangs his foot
to hear himself
echoed in the barbecue grate.
The cat settles by his knees.
Quiet now, but for happy chatter,
the plans, a cat saddle
for the dog.
Joy bubbles out in him
and infects us all.


Cat. Pet me. I block the dog in.
Dog. Pet me more. If you block me, I can put my wet nose on your butt.
Cat. I am not amused. I must bathe now.
Dog. You should bathe in my spit.
Cat. I will hurt you.
Dog. Can you open this door?
<The door is ajar.>
Cat. You are such a dork. I could have done that with it latched.
Watch me jump to the top of the bookshelf. Watch me.
Dog, still standing at the door. Showoff.

Thank you for listening, jb

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spinning Around

There is not enough time and too much to do.

I wrote an article last night, after volunteering at the school, after lunch and a not-so-productive meeting with a friend about our work, after a quick run with the dogs, after making a fast, leftover dinner, and after carting my boy to a crowded meeting at the high school for incoming freshman. He was recruited for the football team, scheduled for his classes, grouped with friends, instructed about studying, and introduced to a myriad of possible ways to spend his copious spare time after school. He had also tried to sign up for seven classes instead of six for the coming year. I was spun around, spun around, spun around and spun around again.

And then, I had to come home and begin to write a difficult article that never did come out quite right. I need to work on it again today, after sleep. Sometimes I wish my mind could focus on one thing to the end before I needed to run off to the next big thing.

Thank you for listening, jb

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Another Meditation

Suddenly, there was a tiny spider
creeping across my floor.
I know she existed there
before I noticed her,
but to my attention,
she popped there
from somewhere else.
"You know you can't stay,"
I said.
She stopped moving
as if to listen.
"You know you must
go outside."
She put out one toe
as if to escape.
I saw a bottle in the room
and a magazine.
I could capture her with these.
When I turned back to her
with my implements in my hands,
she was moving faster
toward a gap in the molding.
"Don't be afraid. Watch your toes,"
I told her.
How would it feel to see
this huge creature approach,
put tall glass walls around you?
"Would you like to live
in my gardenia?"
She lifted her feet,
all eight, one by one,
as I slid the magazine in.
"What about poppies?
Would you rather poppies?
The gardenia may be crowded."
She slid the length of the glass,
"Sh. It's going to be okay,"
I sang as if to a frightened child.
A damp breeze touched my face
as I opened the front door,
slipping on my furry slippers,
so like her black feet.
"The little stone temple?
How about there?
Don't think anyone
lives there yet."
And I put the bottle upside-down
against a river rock
next to the tiny temple
so she could walk back up
the steep neck of the bottle.
A new home, damp and cooler,
but certainly more bugs than inside.
She can live in a little house,
a temple, a monastery, a convent.
She can live a contemplative life,
catching bugs in her own home,
leaving behind a tiny threaded ball
of hope when she dies.
Much better than a heel
and a paper towel
and being dumped, flattened,
into the garbage.

Thank you for listening, jb

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Here are some loose scribblings that have been springing up from meditations.


Night sky, the blue of faded denim,
and the yellow haloed moon silhouettes
my black grandmother cedars
like a watercolor I once saw.
Lights in the kitchen shine on the walk.
I am home.


Going back to sleep.
The dog is not moving from his bed.
My bedding is still warm and holds my shape.
Darkness is a cocoon rather than a nightmare.
My pillows cradle me.
I have an hour before I need to get up.


Sadie, Teddy's friend, skinny as a fawn, wears sleek brown fur
with wiry goat fur growing in patches.
She was built for laughter, a mohawk of gray guard hairs, a beard,
great patches of fluff on her haunches.
"Needs a grooming," her people said.
"Don't!" I want to shout. She prances and hops the trail,
joy down to her toenails.
She is God's platypus, giraffe,
great horned owl looking over his left shoulder.
She is joy and laughter.
My Teddy, so sleek and beautiful,
should be so smart as to marry an ugly girl like Sadie.


My back aches.
I'm a mess.
My shoulder aches, yet I feel the joy
of new shoots in the dirt,
buds holding back blooms, for now,
a boy who's nervous and excited for school.
They started archery yesterday in PE.
His teacher called him an expert
and asked him to demonstrate.
Three bulls-eyes later,
my boy came home telling me his story,
joy spilling out all over the carpet between us.
My boy has never had his heart broken.
The aches.
He will understand aches and pains and heartache
soon enough.


A three-quarter moon lit a walk with my husband. A lovely night.
February frogs peeped their friendly song, an owl hooted quietly.
Another answered.
My husband and I walked and murmured our week
passed and our week to come
and then we walked without chatter,
a tiny miracle that I could be so comfortable with anyone.
Despite a halo of clouds, there was enough light from the moon
for a slight shadow on the path.
It is that way for us sometimes,
enough light to see our outlines on the dim path ahead.
The dog, in his innocence, glowed white and I wondered
about moths and night white flowers.
I wondered about birds sleeping.
I wondered about elk lying in their great grass beds.
And I wondered if the mother bear would wake soon from her wild slumber
to find her cubs nestled beside her.
I wondered if they slept well enough in this warm winter,
if the cold deepens their slumber,
if they woke still sleepy.
I wondered of my son becoming a man
and the way seasons seem so short
and how close the shrouded moon felt
as it followed us on our path. 

Thank you for listening, jb