Wednesday, August 31, 2016


it was raining out today so I couldn't burn any more pages in the fire pit so instead I took the pages in a big box and left them out in the rain and every once in a while I stirred the pages up and now and then something caught my eye such as this poem which has nothing at all to do with the project itself:

Outside the window
the sky doesn't doubt 
its color for a moment,
nor does it moan any

Above the green trees
that make the dark horizon,
the sky has a soft golden glow,
ever so lightly dusted in pink.

The sky is poised on 
the cusp of evening.
The day has passed by and the sky
has done its share, producing such beauty.

I have not smiled or
appreciated it nearly enough.
Tomorrow I vow that I will
make a point to sit and stare
at the sky watching clouds go by.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fired Up!

Sometimes it comes to this. You've been working the same material, word-wise, for what feels like all of human history. You have nothing to show for it but a mountain of white pages, black type, lying there against the wall of your study.

You consider them day after day and when you can, you read bits and pieces.

Most of what you read you just can't stomach.

So here it is now. There is a lovely fire pit in the backyard. You take piles of pages out and crumple them up so they will ignite more readily.

Aha! A beautiful orange flame, and now the pages go up in smoke. (All of it is still in the computer, of course, but that's for another day.)

Even before the fire goes out, you turn around and leave it to burn. The smell of the smoke trails behind.

As you walk across the lawn in your flip flops, feeling the soft grass under your toes, you vow to write another way.

Without thinking so much. Without snuffing it out with cold mental energy that means to control what emerges.

I sit down here and I make a promise: to write something really close to my heart.

I will start here. I will break from the past.

I will stop often and just breathe the soft summer air.

I will remain mindful of my breath as I write, and as I live.

I will give myself permission to fail miserably as a writer.

I smile. I feel a kind of fiendish glee that the next time around the pages will not reflect me,
but rather a higher Creative power.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How I Barely Missed the Bear

I wish I had photos of the event. But when it happened last evening, my cell phone was lying in the house on the counter.

So, background: my husband and I are living in a lovely rented house in Lenox, Mass. Across the street lives little Burt, Poco's playmate and love interest.

Often at the end of the day, I cross the street, and sit with my friend Nancy on her front porch, each of us in rocking chairs, chatting. Meanwhile the puppies play and bark and eat ice chips and rest.

Sometime earlier this summer, I got in the habit of crossing the street about six, carrying a glass of wine with me. Nancy prefers sweeter wines and gin and tonics, so she fixes her own drink.

(If you think I'm going nowhere with all this background, hold on, it does get more interesting!)

Last evening, I was reading but at some point, I noticed Nancy on the porch. So I got off the couch, poured the wine, and headed across the street. I came through the gate,
and headed across the lawn to her porch. I was up one stair when Nancy pointed -- a few feet away was a large black bear!

Had I crossed the lawn ten seconds later I would have -- "met" the bear in the lawn.

Chaos ensued on the porch. We knew that if the puppies saw the bear, they would fly off the porch to bark at the bear, and we had to make sure that didn't happen. I grabbed for Poco but she wriggled away. Nancy went for Burt but he is such a hefty dog she couldn't lift him. I kept yelling, "Poco, stay! Poco stay!" All this time Nancy was trying to get the screen door open so we could get the dogs inside.

At some point in the melee, I dropped the wineglass and it spilled cold wet liquid down Nancy's backside.

By this point, the bear was at Nancy's garbage pail, sorting out what might make a good meal or a snack. We were in the house gazing at him through the front window. The dogs were on the back rest of the sofa barking at the top of their lungs. Finally, Nancy used her remote key to get the car to make its horn noise. At that point the bear climbed up a tree (at least ten or 15 feet up) over the garbage pail and swung over the fence to the neighbor's yard.

It was hard to believe the bear had been so close. Had we not been on the porch with the dogs, they would have sailed off the porch after the bear, and who knows what would have happened.

After settling the dogs down, Nancy went to change her clothes and then she poured me a glass of zinfandel.

I needed it. And another one when I got home.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Puppy Love?

Those lucky folks who read this blog will recall that my puppy, Poco, has turned into a lovesick teenager. Her heart beats for little Burt, the adorable black dog across the street.  Poco spends endless amounts of time lying side by side with Burt, just resting in the shade (or the sun when it's not too hot.)

They love to eat ice. Burt picks up a couple of chips in his mouth and carries them over to Poco, who gladly receives them. They are often nose to  nose on the sofa. Or barking at kids on bikes and the UPS man and just tonight, a bear (more on that next time!)

A couple of weeks ago, Poco and Burt starting rolling around on the floor, which they do all the time (except if they are rolling around in the lawn.)

I guess you could say they engage in what you might call puppy play.

But there are a lot of bared teeth in these "loving" encounters.

Here now is one such encounter. I video taped the session, so here you go, 42 seconds of Poco and Burt chewing each other up!!

Morning Glory

Oh, the glory
of morning
right here
in a single flower.
What a dazzling color:
the same satin blue
the clear
summer sky

All year we wait for
these beloved blooms to arrive.
And then, after just one 
warm day in the sun,
this flower 

in the blink of an eye,
the bloom is off
the summer,
to be
gone by.

Already we see here and
the first yellow red
leaves fall --
it cannot
possibly be
time for this

No matter.
We put all dead
aside and turn
our eyes
that drink the flowers
back to
yellow mums and
pink trumpet vines
and red begonia and
a spread of black eyed Susans.
We keep
be present with
the blossoms
and in our minds’ eye,

Sunday, August 07, 2016

My Dog has Turned into a Teenager!!

I know what it's like to have a teenager, because I raised three (wonderful) kids through those tempestuous years.

Still, I wasn't prepared to have my two-year old puppy named Poco turn into a teenager.

She has. She mopes around the house a lot and we can't get her to chase toys the way she used to.

She's finicky about food, and she snubs her nose at kibble, and even at wet food out of a can. (So we cook her ground turkey and chicken.)

But the real issue is her love life. Poco has fallen head over heels over a cute black dog across the street. She and Burt roll around the grass together and are happy as clams just lying side by side (or nose to nose) on the sofa. Whenever Burt's owner, my neighbor Nancy, calls up to invite her over to play, Poco can tell. She stands by the phone, expectantly, staring up at me intently.

I get off the phone and I say to her, "You want to play with..." and even before I get the word "Burt"
out of my mouth, she is racing to the front door. I open the door and she's like a black and white bullet screaming toward their yard. She waits at Burt's fence, and when I open it for her, she makes a bee line to the door where Nancy and Burt await her.

They are adorable together. (The one on the right is Poco.) But every once in a while I get the feeling I used to have when my kids were teens: they wanted to spend as much time as possible away from the house, with their friends. Sometimes I think Poco would just as soon live at Nancy and Burt's house as ours.
It seems like every time I come to pick her up, she looks at me with the "What are you doing here?" look.

Still, they are so cute together I wouldn't think about keeping them apart.

I guess when you really love someone, you let them do what they want or need to do.

So Poco, go for it. I'll call Nancy later today and we'll make another play date for the cutest pair of puppies I know.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Sorell.