Friday, June 26, 2009

Finding Ourselves

It would be so easy if we could find ourselves
at the bottom of a coffee cup
when we take our last sip,
or in the garden
as we overturn the fertile ground,
or maybe in the milky soap bubbles
left in the sink after we wash our hands.
It would be a relief
to discover ourselves in such a simple way.
To stumble on a crack in the sidewalk,
glance down at our feet
and suddenly see so clearly
what we’d been missing all along.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So where is she? That little girl in the red sneakers and the braids, the one with the little knowing smile, taking her sister for a ride? Where did she think she was going? What far-away places was she dreaming of? Did she already know that there was a whole world out there, waiting for her? Did she sense where time and circumstances would take her? Did she feel afraid of the ways the world could hurt her or did she only feel brave and courageous and ready to take on whatever came her way?

I wish I could remember what it felt like to be me that day, on my tricycle, ready to roll in the hot sun. Ready to meet life's challenges and triumphs. I wish I could stop that little girl for a minute and hug her and say, "It will all be okay. No matter what. It will all be okay."

Maybe I can.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Into a clearing

We are all here
doing the same thing,
Searching high and low
for the right words;
a story that will make sense.

Shouldn’t there be a code?
A secret handshake,
like the sorority girls use
to gain entrance to the locked door.
Where is the map
with the X that marks the spot?
Where is the breadcrumb trail
left for us to follow?

Or are we simply meant
to stumble
and tremble
and stray
until some elusive moment
when we emerge into a clearing-
the sun finally warming our shoulders?

ATW, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Five Senses Friday


This beautiful song by the most amazing voice out there right now. I had privilege of hearing her live in NYC about a month ago. Gorgeous with a capital GORGEOUS.

The sound of my heart beating hard in my ears this morning. It let's me know I'm still alive and that can't be a bad thing!


The sun, right this minute, it just popped out. We haven't seen it all week and I was beginning to get desperate. It looks SO good.

This blog that made me laugh out loud several times yesterday.

And this idea that I'm going to use this weekend when we hike with some friends. I can't wait to see what the kids come up with.


Honeysuckle. Hands down the best smell of spring. And with all this rain there is lots of it around. I just want to drink it up.

The Good Earth Lemongrass Lavender Lotion Bar I've been using on my hands. Mmmm.


My abs are sore. Really sore. But in a good way. My Total Body Workout instructor started incorporating some Pilates into our class and it is making a difference. I feel the changes in my body and I know that I might just look the best I've ever looked in my life. That feels good at 40!


Red wine.

The vegetable casserole I keep making obsessively. It rocks the crock! (And it looks gorgeous, too.)

Oreos dipped in cold, cold milk. I haven't had them in a long time but there is a package sitting in my pantry for the kids and I might have to indulge in one today.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

5 Really Good Things

1. This piece by Maya Stein that I read yesterday. I've been reminded over and over again recently to slow down, to take stock and really notice my life--to live it fully, not just let it pass me by. She said it so well:

Stop moving so fast, racing past street signs
like a runaway. Don't abandon your luggage
at the nearest depot. Unclench from the desire
to diminish, then disappear.

Come inside. Take off your shoes. Stay for dinner.
Here is a cup of tea, an oatmeal cookie, a novel.
Here is a fireplace, a pair of slippers, bed.
Here is the moon, and above that, the heavens.
Here is a good dream you might wake up from.
Here is everything you see, and everything you
can't quite. Now lift your head up,
with your hands if you have to,
and let each gift, singly and in its own time,
take hold.

2. The rain beating its drumbeats against the windowpanes all day yesterday. Spring rain is less melancholy, it makes everything look so luscious and green. It fills me up with fresh desire and feelings of renewal.

3. A good friend who makes me stand a little straighter, laugh a little harder, walk a little further, be a better me.

4. Knowing that school is almost out for the summer and those lazy days of nothing stretch out ahead of us, full of possibility and hot yellow sunshine. (And maybe, if I'm very very lucky, another trip to Italy!)

5. The new piece of "Magic" I just bought from the oh-so-talented Pixie Campbell. I can't stop staring at it. It's beautiful and inspiring.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

You See I Want A Lot

Rainer Maria Rilke

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing,
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.

But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst.

You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

I've always been a big reader, voracious and restless; keeping stacks of books piled on the table next to my bed, always afraid of not having a new book by my side. I love to read several books at a time--maybe a good memoir and a new novel, while paging through a piece of nonfiction to learn something new. But for years reading has been about the escape. Reading books has always been about taking me to another place that is not HERE, that is not where I am, but somewhere far away, where I want to be instead.

Lately I've been reading a lot of poetry. Rediscovering something wonderful, a long-buried passion I had nearly forgotten. I love the cadences and rhythms of verse; not so much rhyme, but I'll take a rhyme if it's a good one. I love the voices of poets. They way they can take a simple phrase, sometimes just a word and make it sound so powerful. I love how one line of a poem can sometimes suck the breath from your body, make you want to drop to your knees, make you cry out in solidarity with the unseen poet, because you know EXACTLY how they felt when they wrote it.

I love how poetry, for me, is more about the here and now than the escape. It can send me free-falling WITHIN my everyday life to a place I didn't even realize existed, a place I didn't know I was capable of living. I think for a long time there has been an unrequited longing deep within me to give myself over to life, to stop walking through it without noticing what is around me. A crack of light has been let in, a fault line that is getting wider, deeper. A desire to embrace the darkness, to call it to me and let it reveal it's meaning. As Rumi says in the poem, "Prayer is an Egg":

Hatch out the total helplessness inside.

Does that make sense? It's an awakening and the revelation that the terrors of my past, the fear and anxiety and loss and suffering, all of it, it's all important. It's all part of my creation, it all means something, has brought me somewhere--brought me here--hatched me in THIS moment . . .

The lesson here for me is about living this life fully and well. It's about living with kindness and respect and a great depth of love. It's about leaving grief behind and being willing to take risks. It's about being open to possibility and creativity and the best things that life can give us. Antonio Machado's poem "Last Night As I Was Sleeping" says it so well:

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt--marvellous error!--
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

That verse, right there, it drops me to my knees and makes me cry out.

It reminds me that life is good, really good. In it's simple way it inspires me to grab hold and take the life that is meant to be mine.