Monday, August 31, 2009

Frances Nolan

My favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
The other day my mom shared this with me:

Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay, let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be "something" every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost. -Frances Nolan, age 15

For myself I add:
Let me face death with a smile and a song.

Thank you, Gary, for letting us sing to you.
"And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar." -PPM

Ice Chips

I don't understand what comes over me.


Love swaddled in tender peace.

Ice chips carefully spooned.

Home again.

Sadness pools.

No tears come.

I wait for a hand to rest on my cheek.

Tell me it's okay to cry.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Wish I Had a Gary

"I wish I had a Gary," my friends and family would say when I told them of another generous thing Gary had done for us. As the boss and foster father of my former boyfriend, Gary was everything! He would give us computers, take us on trips and shower us with his love and bountiful spirit.

Gary Douris is dying. He has bone cancer.

But here is the thing. I have not always appreciated him.
So, you can imagine as he dies I am flooded with feelings of guilt.
My mind says, "I should have baked those cookies I promised...I should have visited more...I shouldn't have complained...."

The other evening I went to visit Gary. I said good-bye and told him I loved him. Carefully, my hand rested on his bare shoulder. Being touched is painful - Gary doesn't even wear clothes because they hurt. My warm hand rested on his cool shoulder. I assumed that would be all the contact we would share. I was wrong.
Gary raised his weak, skinny, trembling arms up to hug me! HE wanted to hug ME! My head rested on his bare chest. His arms quivered and jerked as he hugged me, but never have I felt so loved! Even the other two men in the room said, "Awwwwwww...."
Just when I thought I couldn't feel loved more, Gary hugged me again. BE STILL MY HEART!
I am forgiven.

As long as I have known Gary, I don't believe he has ever asked me a direct personal question.
Never. Ever.
How could he truly know me? He does!
He knew I would love his crayon drawing from first grade. I DO! (His carefully printed name on the back is what you see.)
He knew I would love his favorite childhood book The Willamette Way.
He knew I would love to see the photos of the hummingbird he rescued.

I have a Gary!
I have a Gary...for now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wisdom of the Dying

May it not take dying to remind me to say I love you.
May I love love...always.

Please watch.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Sunshine

"The other night dear
as I lay sleeping,
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke dear
I was mistaken,
so I hung my head down and cried."

2.5 x 3.5
colored pencil

Hello Central

Hello Central. Give me Heaven.

"... we will remember more and more often that we have already arrived and are perfectly safe and complete."

2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tiny Bubbles

Even if I am sad and gloomy, I can't help but laugh and smile when cute, tiny bubbles unexpectedly come shooting out of the top of the dish soap bottle.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Circle the Wagons

Something tells me it might soon be time to circle the wagons.

Soon...very soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Kindest Words

The kindest words:

Your sadness is the weight of your caring...

...that makes you kind...

...and good.

Be still my heart.

2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


A friend is dying.

His knees hurt.


2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Does a wave only think of itself as a wave? Or does the wave know it is also water?

I've been reading Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh. A particular passage inspired the thought and the image.

2.5 x 3.5 inches
colored pencil over marker

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I am Weird

The other day my daughter was on a hunger rampage. (The kind where you continually reopen the fridge and cupboards in the hope that food will magically appear.) On her fourth opening of the freezer I heard her shout, "There is nothing to eat in this house... and all there is in the freezer is a dead baby bird!!"
Yes, it is true. Wrapped in maroon tissue paper, and then in a sealed plastic bag, is a tiny, frozen, dead baby bird.
Yes, I have been told I am weird.

Last Saturday morning I went on a walk. My eye is always scanning the ground for interesting things: bugs, leaves, seed pods, sticks, things to not trip on. I could see a small mound on the sidewalk as I approached and I knew just what it was. I have a history of finding dead baby birds. And when I find them, they break my heart!
This bird had only gray fuzz, small wing buds, a bulbous head and a scrawny neck. He couldn't just stay there. Carefully, using a stiff leaf, I scooped the bird up and set him in the grass. Later, I came back with my car. This time I used two large flashcards to transfer the bird to the tissue paper I mentioned earlier...then the plastic bag...then the freezer.
I will bury the bird...soon.

I tried. I tried hard to NOT get in the car. Why would I? That is gross. The bird is dead. Let a cat eat it. "Don't be a weirdo," I heard myself say. But I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't leave the dead baby bird.
Later I thought about what I had done and why. Someone asked if I would do the same thing for a dead cat and I said, "NO!"
If for one, then why not the other?
My only answer is this: we all have some job - the job of a keeper, or a noticer. They are tiny jobs where the work often goes unnoticed, but they leave us with a sense of connectedness. For instance, as a mom it could be the way we make sure our kids are warm, or the way we check to make sure they are still breathing when they are newborn. As a friend, it could be the small gestures we extend so the ones we love don't go unnoticed. As a human, and in these brief lives we are given, the job may be to donated blood, time and/or money to those in need.
Beyond all of those, there are even more minute jobs: watching the sky, noticing someone's smile, observing a praying mantis, holding a sleeping baby, relishing in a sunrise...or being the keeper of dead baby birds.

I am going to keep my job; even if that means I am weird.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Left Handed Meanderings

For the past six months, I have been drawing and writing more with my left hand. It is always interesting to see what comes out.
When I draw left handed I am free of line perfection. My hand can meander; creating loose, bumpy lines. When writing with my left hand, my mind does more than meander: words just start editing, correcting or judging. Thankfully, my mind waits patiently as my left hand tries to catch up, as my penmanship is jagged and scratchy.

Here is what came out one Tuesday night:

Have you ever had your heart fly away?
Not too far - just beyond reach. Just far enough you hold your breath and extend your arm and reach from your soul.
No one tells you to stop, so you continue...forever.
Then, your arm tires and your soul collapses and you pick up tiny pieces like starts from the sky, but they fit no where!
No one wants them - not even you. You wait. You breathe.
You hold your breath again, but this time you reach into your chest.
There is nothing inside; only the place you use to be.
Empty and gone.
But you wait.
You wait like an old man does for the bus.
You wait, and you wait some more.
Your ride never comes.
You walk and breathe.
You hold your breath and skip. That doesn't work at all!
When nothing comes, you throw your head back and cry.

Friday, August 7, 2009

One of My Jobs

For three years I have taught Yoga for Pregnancy at Blue Mud Yoga.
At the end of every class I have the moms sing "Long Time Sun" to their babies. But it wasn't until just this last week that it hit me. Right in the middle of singing the second round, my belly breath was stolen; it hit me hard. It finally occurred to me that one of my jobs is to get moms to sing this simple, but amazing song to their unborn babies. I felt huge. I felt small. I felt blessed.

Long Time Sun as sung by Snatam Kaur. Enjoy!