Friday, April 24, 2015

The Moody Blues Date

The Paramount filled
with silver haired versions
of early fans carrying fifty years
worth of extra weight. Inhibitions 
didn't inhabit the auditorium. 
Sixty, seventy and eighty 
year olds danced, clapped, waved, 
and roared with teenage abandon.
We felt young and newly 
married by comparison. 
We met friendly couples who 
wanted to exchange phone numbers 
and swap war stories. Seats 
were filled with aged lovers 
cuddling close and kissing between 
numbers. They sang along. They knew
every word,
every question posed by a lyric,
every pining lament, 
every keening note, 
every declaration of love.
Every handicapped seat
was being used by someone
needing a wheelchair, a cane,
or extra room for bad knees.
Hobbling pilgrims coming
to worship
not the band but the
creator of
 Congregants crowded
 the clergy band who
invited us to join in
the long version. 
Holy spirit fog
wrapped us together - 
a mystical union with 
the divine. 

Incognito Shoeshine

Hunkered on his haunches
by the entrance to Tiffany's
a dark raisin of a man
surrounded by brushes
and wax and a worn wooden
shoe prop smiles approvingly
at my red boots as I pass by.
I stop and tell him if I had
cash I would let him
give them a shine.

He touches them reverently
and offers to buff them
for free. He's no freeloader -
even though his home is
on the streets. I take his
hand and tell him a short
story of my upbringing.
We didn't have any
blacks or shoeshines
where I lived. We had
farmers and potatoes
and Mormons.
What? he said.

I told him I'd always had
the desire to have my
shoes shined proper
in a big city.

I told him I found my heart's
desire in D.C. The shoeshine
buttered my battered
shoes -  restored us both
to health. Moisturized us. Put
a shine on my face and my toes.
As she ministered to
me and my shoes she
expressed her passion for
quality leather and leather potions
and how maintenance kept good
shoes going for years.

I told him about how my
newly shined shoes and me
left with an essence - her imbued
love and hope traveled
from my feet to the
top of my head. He
did a sweeping motion
up from the ground to
his heart as I spoke -
like he foreknew this
thing of which I spoke.

He silently benedicted me
a papal worthy blessing as I
bent low over his wrinkled,
un-bejeweled hand.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Gray Whale Rising

A gray mass pushes
the water aside right in
front of me. Glistening
skin mottled with scars
and barnacles becomes
a massive cliff
heaving waterfalls
off its shoulders
into the sea.

He spirals
a quarter turn using one fin
to scoop the shallow
ocean floor. The other
fin waves at me
while his cavernous
mouth sieves a meal
I can't see.

Over and over he breaches -
traveling north - searching
the bottom - blowing his
co-ordinates to his one
and only land locked fan
who stands smitten with
wonder and ovation.

Bless the Lord 
oh my soul 
worship his holy name
sing like never before 
oh my soul
I worship your holy

The sun comes up 
it's a new day dawning
its time to sing your song again 
whatever may pass and whatever 
lies before me
let me singing 
when the evening comes. 

You are rich in love and slow to anger 
your name is great and your heart is kind 
for all your goodness I will keep on singing 
ten thousand reasons for my heart to find…...

This is the song
I was bellowing
wholeheartedly off key
and out of tune
over the water -
blaring it into the wind
before the gray rose up
in front of me.
My camera went mute
in the deafening,
silence of a divine
dance moving to the
music of a salty

Kayak Point April 18, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I prefer pedaling a bike
over riding a motorcycle

I prefer paddling a kayak
over an amusement park ride

I prefer sailing
over motoring

I prefer cooking
over eating at a restaurant

I prefer buying a plant
over getting a pedicure

I prefer making bread
over buying it

I prefer weeding
over shopping

I prefer reading
over radio or TV

I prefer buying books
over buying programs

I prefer planting seeds
over feeding homeless addicts

I prefer putting the kettle on
over meeting at a coffee shop

I prefer being consistently devoted
over having consistent devotions

I prefer being poor in spirit
over being famous

I prefer being teachable
over knowing it all

I prefer friends who visit
over being a guest

I prefer being the beloved
over being insecure

I prefer shooting stars
over gift cards

I prefer bumblebees
over delivered bouquets

I prefer harbor seals on the dock
over Sea World performances

I prefer a walk in the woods
over walking the mall

I prefer being the church
rather than going to church

I prefer being
over doing

I prefer the sand and sea.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Why Do We Garden?

A neighbor and a best friend
groaned along with me this spring
as we trudged out to clean the
mess winter left. We wonder
why we do it. Why do we
keep gardening? It's hard work -
privatized - a secret kept from going
public by fences.

There doesn't seem to be much joy
in it at the beginning
of the season.

I read the story of Stanley Kunitz's
lifelong passion for gardening.
The pictures of him stooped
and barely hobbling
along well worn paths planned ages ago
with his hands as gnarled as the tree he
planted for a focal point
puzzled me.
Why did he do it? And keep
doing it until
he couldn't?
Is this what made
his poetry sing?

I think we do it because brilliant people
keep repeating this refrain:

Beauty saves the world. And

we have children in our lives
who beg to use the watering can,
pick berries, and clasp their grubby
little hands around mangled stems
of just picked bouquets. They offer it
to us, their un-wilted view
of our world through
innocent eyes.

This is why we do it. Else how
will they crave
a garden
of their own?

For Susan and Steve and Bev and Stanley….

Annual Generosity

I potter or is it putter?
around the yard
with my trug full of
tools disturbing the
worms' beneficial
tunneling and mating -
breeding friends loosening
dark loam for me.

After the weeding is
brought under control,
pruning done, the raked
mess piled and dumped,
the lawn mown for the first
time, and the bird bath bowl
found, cleaned and filled for the robins
lined up and
waiting to splash,

I treat myself to annuals -
a reward, dessert.
Annuals give it




spring and summer - color that is -
until frost freezes life
and color
out of them.

Pears will be ripen because
their blossoms invite bees. The Selkie,
Large Marge, the Hen and her Chicks,
and Fernando casually consult with the
crow building her nest in the neighbor's
tree and concur, it is good.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lawn Games

I saw three children
marking a path double
lined with beheaded
dandelions face up to the sun.
These children's imaginations
were still intact and hadn't been
tampered with or genetically altered.
I should have stopped
to see what grand ceremony
played out - enacted
between yellow borders
on green grass. It fed me
for days.

Non - GMO dandelion seeds do exist to plant for early spring uncontaminated bee provisions. This information blew my mind. Children who still play and imagine outside games enchant me. 

Hummingbird Nest

Taken by my young friend Nathan Hamblen, a naturalist. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The tulips opened
ruffled edges with
vigorous color held
by sturdy stems -
framing a day that
that craved
salt water byways
and beaches to replenish
the copious
salt water depletion
I'm experiencing.

Easter ended with a Wurlitzer
bringing it home through
throaty pipes and pounding
pedals. Like skipping rocks,
He Lives chorused
across the red velvet
seats and landed in my


We saw The Imitation Game at the historic Lincoln Theater Easter evening after a meandering drive North along the shoreline of Puget Sound. I dared not cry during the movie or afterward for fear I couldn't stop. 

Glen DesJardins is a volunteer organist who graciously gave me permission to try to take photographs in a dark theater.  His music brought me home to myself and the wonder of being beloved.  

Sweet Scented Akebia


This is pain
with no grand stands
or finish line anywhere
in sight.

No cheering. 
No applause. 
No media frenzy.
No explanation. 
No fame.
No proof.
No evidence. 
No reward. 
No payoff. 
No reason.
No pictures.
No interviews.
No visibility. 
No remedy. 

But Dr. Brand, if you say it 
is a gift and Phillip Yancey 
agrees, who am I to argue? 

Green is a Valiant Color

A seed fell
in my garden

It managed a miracle -
a volunteer effort.

I notice it sporting
five shiny leaves

reflecting light
in the shadows.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

All Is Not Lost

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this
they said to themselves
during Friday's brutality and fear and

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this
they said to themselves
after Sunday's garden surprises,
and dusty road camaraderie.

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this
they said to themselves when Peter
didn't get a dressing down and Thomas
got to poke the wound dressings.

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this
they said to themselves when he made
a last picnic at the beach and left a few
last imperatives.

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this
they said to themselves as they witnessed
unimaginable twists to this plot they
couldn't keep up with.

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this
they said to themselves when they
mobilized and galvanized themselves
into a formidable force of love -

left but not left hopeless or comfortless.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mutually Beneficial

I feel no bones stabbing
or sharp edges cutting
between us.
I press into the cushiony
mound of God's maternal
spirit. Sustenance leaks -
fullness wasted until I latch
on and drink my fill.
Does He feel relief while
I feel pleasure? Or
does He feel pleasure while
I feel relief?