Sunday, May 30, 2010

How a Day Stays

Spray the grease stains on my two
red table cloths while remembering
he sat just there and laughed with his
belly full of happiness, passing the
bread basket warm.

Breaking bread together is much
better with butter on it. Lifting
a baby's cheek to get at the sweet
cream  and honey in her neck is tastier
even than butter on bread.

Lemon wedge water glass toasts
will do when sending her off
in other's care. They'll look after
her  well; she's easy like a big dollop
of pudding in crust.

Bones clack on plate after sucking the
the goodness gone. Eggs bedeviled,
orphaned, forgotten, left out in the cold.
Bowls left swimming with white juice
 puddles from green slaw gone.

Napkins with wrinkled wings and broken backs
lay crumpled and limp now. They absorbed the
afternoon like I did. Crisp traded for useful.
All departing drips from lips, floor and laps
get wadded up, thrown now into yesterday.

We had about 25 friends over today for a classic All American BBQ. Five thick racks of dry rubbed ribs soaked overnight with peppers and onions. Grilled asparagus, sweet potatoes, fingerlings, zucchini and mushrooms. Coleslaw. Hot sourdough buns.

Two platters of deviled eggs were forgotten in the fridge. Woops. Strawberry shortcake juxtaposed with brownies for the base. And coffee. Of course, coffee.

We were saying good by to Sarah and her children as they move to PA. It's on the other side of the nation and feels a bit final.  We wished her well with hopes to visit someday. She will be missed.

I am most happy when the house is packed. Food and good conversation flows along with affection and mouth watering aromas. Nothing can take those away even when the day is used up and the dishes put away. No one can put the day in the trash like the napkins. The day stays with the pictures taken; the kind of pictures forever engraved inside.

Feeding a crowd comes easy to me for some reason. One of them was sitting across the room from me. I watched Loverby as he passed the hot bread. He was laughing so hard the basket wobbled a bit. It was good. All of it. His tandem help is what makes it easy. His enjoyment makes it worth it.
Today was just right, like the baby bear's porridge.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Olive Press

This is an olive press. One trip to Israel was during olive harvest. We saw the families out under their trees bashing the branches onto tarps on the ground. 

Jane Ben Ari told us that the family kept the first pressing. It was the finest. It supplied them all year. The second pressing was sold to retailers for cash. The third pressing was used for soap and household lighting and other sundries. Washing with a handcrafted bar of olive oil soap is a luxurious thing. Soft clean. The bar lasts forever! 

The seed is crushed along with the meat of the olive. There is a spout that the oil drips out of. The process is slow and tedious from start to finish. Steady, but slow. The oil must be stored properly to keep from becoming rancid. 

Life revolves around this simple little orb. I remember fresh made hummus with first pressing olive oil drizzled on, scooped up with warm flat bread ~ oh my! 

Old olive trees have hundreds of years of storied texture. Twists, gnarls, and thick, ugly trunks. They are a mainstay. A staple of life. Serious to a family's livelihood. Life giving.  

Gethsemane means this very kind of pressing. The process seems to result in oil of gladness and blessing. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

You Can't Buy It

We had a family with two little girls over for breakfast Saturday. The oldest is around three and a half or four years old. I served them orange juice to drink, but milk was also on the table.

She finished eating breakfast and drank her glass of orange juice.

What she did next astonished me with it's complex thinking and common sense; she took her napkin and thoroughly wiped out her glass. Then she held it towards me asking politely for some milk. Creative problem solving with little or no bother to anyone. Brilliance at the breakfast table.

I'm married to a farm boy who has a barn full of common sense. I admire this kind of smart more than any other kind. It's practical and useful every day. Working knowledge. 

 Go little girl; you'll go far in life and relationships.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cairns of Enchantment

My friend Emily grew up hiking and rock climbing with her dad. She was telling me about one of her favorite places to hike in the Enchantments Wilderness ~ Aasgard Pass, and the cairns there.

I had only read the word cairn. She had to explain them to me. Google the word and be fascinated like I was. There is much history/folklore about them.

Hiking here is only by regulated permit so too much traffic doesn't spoil the protected high country of The Enchantments.

Once you come out of the woods there is a big rock fall. A huge steep slide. It is difficult to get across in a half a day. Emily likes it. She takes a light day pack, instead of a heavy overnight type. It is intense and the scenery changes quickly, transporting you to the high country.

There are grown men who go the other, longer way. You don't gain elevation as fast. In her opinion it misses the majesty. And enchantment.

It is so rocky the trail becomes invisible. On either side of the "trail" there are sheer cliffs. Jagged steep rock ledges that only experienced rock climbers with equipment climb. If you accidentally started up these blinds, you might not be able to find your way out. They are dangerous. Dragon Tail is the name of one of them.

To stay on the rock trail. which doesn't have footprints or show worn spots, you look for cairns. If you get distracted, or become exhausted, you can miss one. If you miss one, it's scary. They are beacons. You constantly look for the next one ahead.

Some of them are big. Some are small three rock beginners. Monuments. Each successive hiker may add to the pile/tower. Sometimes you're too tired to add one, but extremely glad some previous wayfaring stranger added one.

Once you get to the top of Aasgard Pass, it's barren, almost no fish in the high lakes. Glacial melt. It's exposed. These delicate balancing rock cairns ~ dry stacked towers ~ don't seem to fall down. At least she's never seen one.

Emily told me they have gotten off the trail on accident before. They wandered around hoping to find a cairn marking the way.  It is a relief to finally find one again.

If someone finds something on the trail, camping gear, clothing, etc, they will leave it tucked into the cairn or leaning against it. Sometimes it is a place for notes, communicating.

I don't think I'll ever make it to the high country. My hikes are the flat lander kind. Or nearly so. I want to build a cairn in the yard for symbolic value. And the whimsical folklore attached.

The photos below are Emily's ~ of a hike to the Enchantments. Used with permission. Thanks.
(Em and her husband did Mt. Rainier a couple of years ago, too)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Love Rocks

A hummingbird landed close to my barefoot. He stopped whirring his wings, cocked his head and looked me in the eye. He looked like he was trying to tell me something. The moment lasted long. When he darted away, tears were streaming down my eyes. It was one of those moments. 

It seems like when I'm out at the river, there are many such moments. It could be that I have come to expect them, therefore my noticer radar is on high alert.

As I walked up the hill, I choked up, barely able to get words out because of the lump in my throat. It was an incoherent plea to the lover of my soul, to be in him. For him to be in me. To have him look me in the eyes. Take my face in his hands. To see him. Feel his touch. I wanted us to climb inside each other. Closer. 

As the words jumbled into the meadow, I looked up to see two mammoth cloud shaped hearts each lying on their side. One had clean, sharp definition at the edges. The other was soft and fused at the edges. They filled the frame of periwinkle blueness. Any words coming out stopped.

The meadow laid out before me filled with daisies and clover, and this above it. I stood silent taking it in. Receiving the gift.

Maggie and I headed to the truck. As I turned the key on, the radio was starting to croon this song. You might think I'm making this up. Crazy. Go ahead, it is hard to believe. Sometimes I think I've gone clean off the edge, too. 

The only thing I know is that sometimes God sounds like The Atlanta Rhythm Section. Really, really. 

When you walked into the room 
There was voodoo in the vibes 
I was captured by your style 
But I could not get your eyes 
Now I stand here helplessly 
Hoping you'll get into me 

I am so into you 
I can't think of nothing else 
I am so into you 
I can't think of nothing else 
Thinkin' how it's gonna be 
Whenever I get you next to me 
It's gonna be good 
Don't you know 
From your head to toe 
Gonna love you all over 
over and over 
Me into you, you into me
Me into you 

I'm so into you 
I'm so into you...

I am so into you 
I can't get nothing else 
I am so into you 
I can't get to nothing else, no, no, no 
Love the things you do 
Listen, baby 
You're driving me crazy
Come on baby
I'm so into you 
Love the things you do

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

En Gedi

Pools spilling into pools
  sweet water falling
painting one valley green 
around dead sea where
 nothing but minerals grow
 hiding place  
 easy camouflage
for hardened mighty men 

caves make shade for 
weary King 
looking for trouble

he's unaware
of noble hand holding
back knife 
taking only
 cloth from his robe
instead of his life

The Random Acts of Poetry prompt over at High Calling Blogs was to go to an ancient place. Egypt, China, India, Rome, Greece. 

We have been to Israel a few times. Also, Petra in Jordan. These places allow you to breathe the very air of history. 

Touching a stone where a sandaled foot might have touched..... 

Swimming in the Galilee with the same sunrise coming up over the Judean hills as Peter saw during breakfast on the shore. 

Hiking up the green oasis of En Gedi was my favorite thing. The majesty and poetry of the Psalms will never be the same for me. 


Matthew E. May wrote a book called In Pursuit of Elegance. I turn to it often to readjust crippled thinking. He defines elegance as having Simplicity, Seduction, Sustainability, and Subtraction.

It is a fun exercise to think up different scenarios or experiences that could be elegant. How could this system or institution be elegant?  How could my life be?

I like his writing and the way his brain works. He also dialogues, which is fun! The other day on twitter, I tweeted something about his definition of elegance, pertaining to something specific. Within minutes he responded with this:

Cool! Sometimes easier to describe what it (elegance) isn't: confusing, wasteful, ineffective, unnatural, hard to use, hazardous, ugly.

It could be a consuming passion to pursue elegance on every front. Be elegant. Have elegance. Create elegance. Search out the elegant. Crave elegance. Live elegantly.

I've mentioned it before; it is a great paradigm shifting sort of book if you're needing a refreshing tweek.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weaving Life

Loverby cut down an overgrown shrub that was taking up most of the corner in the yard. When it was gone, we were amazed at the room we suddenly had. He's going to build a little shed for garden tools in its place. It will look like an outhouse, with a moon cut out in the door.

It was a throw away shrub covered with tiny flowers and a red berry that wasn't edible, even by the birds. I won't miss it.

When Tess and I saw the pile of branches, we wondered how to recycle them. We started weaving them into a screen between two posts. In England, they call it wattling. We didn't have a clue how to, but it grew, unplanned, one twig at a time.

The more we added, the stronger it became. The stronger it became the more pleasing it looked. We started dreaming of things to grow on it.

We had sweet conversation as we worked and wove ~ of the dreams we each had growing in us.

It was good. The unplanned became.

Symbolic as I look at it through the new light of this morning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lighten Up

The deepest cry of my heart is simply to see, and love.

I was messing around with my little OLD point and shoot today, trying to see light, like Claire, Kelley, Darlene, Monica, S. Etole, Diane, Nancy, and Erin.

 I want to be like them when I grow up. This was a good exercise. 

They are doing a prompted PhotoPlay over at High Calling. They are out of my league entirely. But I'm playing on the sidelines, inspired by them. Check their posts out. You'll be enchanted. 

The idea that something is elegant and speaks because of what ISN'T there, woos my heart completely. I'm learning to see. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dearly Beloved

Steak. Asparagus. Cucumbers in vinegar with salt and fresh ground pepper. Simple green salad. Baked potato with sour cream. Ice water. Stories of the day. Dreams of tomorrow. Full tummies.

Family sitting together around the supper table. Dog at our feet hoping something drops. Hummingbird at the feeder. Garden popping up. House clean. Chores done.

Today had rest imbedded. I didn't hardly budge from reclining. I am grateful. Content. And heavy with tiredness. I'm thankful for a life that allows me to indulge in rest when it's needed. My heart, soul, body, and mind needed it. No guilt or shame induced activity happened.

Here's what it looks like. A long soak in a hot bath. Coffee with my favorite mug and thick warmed cream. A down throw to keep the chill off when I dozed. I wrote a little. Read some. Mostly just let my mind wander. A crying jag looped around surprising me in a flash flood. It was wild white water. I kept
afloat-rode it out. More day dreaming. Dozed off again. Sorted out the heart stuff from the head stuff. It's important to know what to purge and what to keep. I only moved from the couch to the love seat, to the porch swing. Dragging my blanket around like Linus. I kept from sucking my thumb. Only just.

Me 'n God needed to love on each other. We needed a belly up, tummy scratchin', foot thumpin', tail waggin' time. I don't know about him, but I'm purring, finally. It took all day and the entire evening to arrive, but I'm here now; at a blissful afterglow. Not exciting, but a peaceful place of quiet rest.

And if you're reading this, I most likely talked with him about you. There was plenty of time today.

We decided again, you are dearly beloved.

Silent Cry

Lashes try fast
to wick away
flood of salt rain
white water rapids
wild and rough
a fall of water using
cheeks as channel

no wiper blade
fast enough to
keep up
with the deluge
blinding eyes

ride it out
hang on tight
there is no rope or
life jacket to help
if you fall out
onto skull crushing
rocks sucking you limp
into river running
canyon who
swallows its victims

Friday, May 7, 2010

Clinging Vines

Now that winter is over, I usually take my coffee mug, a journal, a pen and a few books either out to the front porch swing or the swing in the back yard in the morning.

Today, it was the backyard. I spent minutes, stacked one on another, simply watching the diamond dew drops change colors in the grass as the swing swayed its rhythm. Winking diamonds, reflecting all the captured colors from our surroundings. Captivating.

Over the years I have learned to use the soil for a palette. Plants are the paint. The colors of green never end and they lend themselves to compliment each other. Green never clashes with anything.

One of the many plants I collect are of the vine family. Anything that crawls, clings or climbs comes home with me. Irresistible. I think I'm infatuated because of the tendrils. They will somehow, against all odds, find something to grab. Something to hold on to. Anything will do ~ growing is the point. Growing up.

Some might call it stubborn ~ a hard word which, if turned over has a softer side ~ tenacious.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Tess and I weeded Rosebud Park today. Tied up a sagging clematis. Cleaned up and brushed off the rock wall. Swept the porch and rock paths. The front yard beckons friends to come in and visit again.

We all gathered around the front porch swing when Craig came home. Laughed and shared bits and pieces of our lives.

He busted out the BBQ for our first home grilled ranch burgers of the season.

We took Maggie on a walk around the airport trail. She is obeying the 'to heal' command well, without a lead. It hailed between sunshine bursts.

We picked up some debris the wind had scattered while Craig got car license renewal tags put on. And tires rotated ~ for one of his princesses. A gift.

Brita grocery shopped for me, taking a huge weight off my shoulders. A gift.

We saw an eagle circling as we took our walk. Three early hummingbirds found winter at a still empty bottle. I quickly made a fresh batch of nectar and cleaned the feeder. I hope to see them tomorrow, sipping. Two yellow finches shyly took a bath in the bird bath while a fat robin tried to bully them away.

I took a couple books to the porch swing several different times today. They stayed open, but face down while I let my mind drift. Swinging a gentle rhythm.

This is it: Common. Ordinary. Simple. Sweet. Regular. Unremarkable.

I'm ready to set the sponge for fresh bread tomorrow. It will work magic while I sleep, full of peace and contentment.

What I haven't mentioned yet is the black cloud. It wasn't a rain cloud. I woke with this cloud/kite of despondency hanging over me this morning. It was dripping yuck all over. I let loose the kite string handle and it careened off in the distance. Since it lacked a proper tail, it must have had a crash landing.

Instead of me.

Bad beginnings often have good endings.