Friday, July 30, 2010

Lilly Pads and Trains

Riding Old Number Two at three miles an hour gave us a nostalgic afternoon in Garibaldi. 

We noticed details on both sides of the track, like frogless lilly pads. Our companions in the car were smiling. Neighborly. Kids and dogs, lunches and kites mingled with the sound of the whistle which echoed an emotion filled wail over the valley. It bumped against the foothills before bouncing out to dissolve on the beach in a moan. 

Sometimes I feel the loss of old ways. Kids playing outdoor neighborhood games in an empty lot. Milk in bottles. Picnics. Rustic camping. Hand cranked ice cream. 

It feels like everything is electronic, big, instant, synthetic, and throw away. Even marriages, families, babies, and beliefs. 

The train ride to Rockaway Beach from Garibaldi was only half an hour. It seemed longer. Deliciously so. Waiting at every crossing ~ where the track intersected with a side road ~ a cluster of people stood waving and smiling, greeting us while trying to get the whistle to respond. 

Families playing. Lovers loving. Friends having fun. Everyone greeted that old steam train as if it were a long lost friend. An intimate bond of understanding and deep longing roped us all together, instantly. It brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye for some unknown reason. 

Maybe it's because people still do such simple things. What a relief. I forget sometimes. 

Perhaps there was a frog sitting on a lilly pad watching it all? Smiling. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010


 Neither moth nor rust 
will corrupt


Friday, July 23, 2010


Sweet pea mob
step on each other's
faces. Looking up
towards last trellis
rung, they only care
about climbing.

Sweet peas tangle
together, grabbing support
from odd neighbors
like flowering maple,
hardy fuschia, ferns,
and woops! Stocks.

Sweet peas don't know
social etiquette.
They spread and tangle
about as if any one
would be glad they had
arrived. Nothing private,
no sacred space. No clue.

Sweet peas twine
around each other
nodding, blushing as
they boastfully compare
bursting out colors
given them to wear by
the maker. Of color.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Only on a Motorcycle

Freedom blows through 
my mind and hair as we fly 
tandem on the white line
where tunnel of trees 
makes a canopy. Inviting
blue triangle of open sky
above and open road 

Tidy fields 
with perfumed rows
of cut hay wrap scent 
thick about my head.
May I trade an exotic turban 
for this helmet prison?

Mist from the waterfall
cools my skin better than
cucumber spa facials.

Maidenhair ferns blush
when I puzzled over the 
cliff they chose for
their conjugal bed.
Clinging only to each other and
wet rock, without soil,
they brazenly multiply.

Taking one home
became temptation sore. 
Succumbing would rob another. 
No trophy from the forest 
lined my satchel. Only memories 
came back.

New kind of lichen to like

  found beside a bridge 
never crossed before

where witches hair covered a tree.

Glacier water, strange color 
of mystic green 
 much too cold  
for a selkie to 
swim in.  

Fairy house neighborhoods 

growing heart rocks bigger than you 
or me. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where I Write

L.L. Barkat prompted us, invited us to share the 'place where we write'. It has been fun to picture in my mind's eye the place where my writerly friends do their creative best. Join in!

Loverby built a garden shed
where in seclusion and quietness
creations written or handcrafted
could be birthed. I tried. They couldn't
stand my isolation or maybe they were
curious, so comes the knock, knock, knocking
and peering in the window part. In
truth, I was lonely for them too. The thrum
of  family life was the missing fuel. Now,
scattered thoughts and fragmented pieces
of stories get written down by a window
in the middle of the mess. Center of life.

I look out upon sassy squirrels twitching
their tails at me while they steal unripe pears and eat them
defiantly. Sweetpeas, hops, kiwi, roses, lilies,
lupines, currants, hostas, ferns, evening primrose,
rhodies, hydrangeas, roses, and astilbe keep me
dreamy as I notice them change
in season and out. Being deliciously distracted is
part and parcel of it all.

I have a severe paper addiction. My journals are
a telling trail of the day. Grocery lists and guest
lists. Books and movies recommended to find.
People to look up and connect with. Deep thoughts
or silly. Scraps of paper everywhere to be lost and
found. Hopefully.

Tears on the page or coffee splashed on the keyboard.
Typing is easier than pen in hand, although pen on paper
satisfies a craving. Pencil is to pen what warm
scone is to cracker. Comforting soft lead has a
certain sound.

Birds having their morning toilette, vigorous
in their uninhibited 'joy de vivre' lure me out
and away from the desk inside to the swing outside.
My mind continues without a tool to story the lines
around me.

Sometimes my laptop is my bedmate both early
late. Loverby doesn't mind three in the bed.
Words and warm comforters go together.
Now you know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Path Under Water

Eastsound Village
Orcas Island, my favorite of the San Juan Islands
Puget Sound

The village of Eastsound sits at the center of the inside bay of semi- horseshoe- shaped Orcas. We always stay at the Outlook Inn. A little island floats in the cove right outside our window. At low tide, there is a sandy path to this little island, inviting adventurers to explore. At high tide, it is still visible under the water. A pale line connecting the big island to the small one can be seen below. It covered in water about waist high in this picture. The tide was about half way in.

One afternoon, I walked out as far as possible. When my toes couldn't touch, I swam, until I found the small island's beach underneath. Yes, it was freezing!

It was interesting as I walked across, how I could feel where the path was. It was smooth sand on a raised bed. I could easily tell when I was off the path. When I had to swim, it was still a guide under the water, even though I wasn't touching it. I was able to see it. More than that, I knew it was there. Sensed it.

I did my victory dance on the shore, then looked back across the way I had come to see curves in the path that minutes before had seemed straight. A curvy straight line?

I saw the path at low tide, I swam above it, I walked on it, I saw it from a different point of view and saw it's curves, which I hadn't seen before. Nobody looking at this picture would know a path existed. You might not believe me. I not only believe there is one, but it is also true whether you believe it or not. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Listening to Art

Kathy Hastings spoke tonight at Kindlingsfest here on Orcas Island. Her artwork is hanging on the walls where we meet for sessions. They all have something in common; a vertical and horizontal line intersecting off center, like a cross.

I have been pondering them for two days now. I found the similarities, liked the colors, and also found them somewhat strange. There was no yearning to own one or hang it on my wall. The price tag seemed high, until I heard her story and how they came about. Now the price tag seems cheap. I want to pawn something to buy one. I'd love to hang all of them on my wall, now that I've listened to them and seen them through a paradigm shift - her heart.

She kayaks with her camera into the Seattle harbor where the working boats are anchored. Most of the time they are getting repaired/refitted. Her kayak is a speck along side these rough textured hulls.

One mark she loves to find on a ship is its Plimsoll Line or waterline.

For this particular series she took over 200 photographs, looking specifically for horizontal and perpendicular lines that intersected/crossed. When she was finished, she realized they reflected her time of processing the grief from her husband's death.

She titles the photo/encaustics:
the Sorrow the Comfort
the End the Beginning
the Finite the Infinite
the Burden the Release
the Death the Life 
the Journey the Destination 
the Fear the Peace 
the Forsaken the Found 
the Making the Maker 
the Me the You 
the Tangible the Intangible 
the Questions the Answer 
the Changing the Changeless 
the Worn the Restored 
the Divided the Whole 

Another series were photos of a copper bowl outside on a bench. Twelve months of photos. The bowl never moved. She moved. Each reflected life and a new way of seeing a new chapter, a fresh insight, or one more healing day. All of them had something seasonal reflected in the water, except one. It was dry and empty. My heart ached at the progression and I found myself empathic with her loss - through photos of a copper bowl.

She talked about wanting to know the name of the blank in between one song on a CD and another. A friend told her it was called "Digital Black". Living without her husband feels like this space at times. The song they sang together, she now has to learn to sing alone.

Her voice rang out and strummed my heart. It is still throbbing with wonder.

Here is her website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Orcas Day

Alone, yet reaching to stretch unused limbs. 

Wanting woven into solid, safe continuity. 

Feeling tangled, rusted, wasted. 

Waiting stump. Gnarly and grey. Washed up. 

Looking over the rim, beyond the surface glass. 

Peeking out, wanting out of the confines.

Bursting through, unrestrained resurrection. 


Monday, July 12, 2010

Silver Bits and Buttons

Bit Templates for bridles - One is called the 'Santa Barbara'. 

Grandpa sat on a stool in a dusty workshop 
with one lonely lamp. It had a sorry light. I 
would pull my smaller stool as close as 
possible to watch him work. He didn't laugh
when I played with the dust sparkles, lazily 
floating on the current of the open door. He
engraved silver bits, buttons, and buckles 
for belts. The scent of oil-rubbed leather 
mingles in my mind with his graceful 
hands braiding reins in the round with
six strands. I still see the whip in the jaws of 
the stitching horse to keep it firm and taut. The 
knots he created with leather were choreographed 
pieces of art. Heavy waxed thread through a
leather needle followed the hole punched with
the awl. Sometimes, when a tool dropped, I found
it for him. Tooled leather designs came from 
his tap and die set. Intent as any tattoo artist, the
impressions marked the leather, silver, and me - 

There is a lovely fold in the timeline of my life -
a pocket shaped sort of fold. It holds Glenwood time, 
which is entirely different than regular time. 
Bulging heavy with memories, I reach in and
grab a handful.