Friday, May 21, 2010

For Nella, on Pax's 8th Birthday

birth day

a rite of passage
if you are one of the lucky ones,
cake and streamers
a balloon
some ice cream
new shoes
a party dress and dancing,
a celebration.

if you are luckier still
something new.
And the one who lay
curled beneath your heart
swimming in a salty sea
the earth turns
and you are born again.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My gravitational pull

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing to you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I can feel a storm rising inside of me.
It's forming slowly
cresting very far out at sea,
waiting for the right moment to unleash itself.
I wonder if it will be like the tsunami in Thailand
when the people on the beaches were completely unaware
that in a split second the sea would rush away,
leaving boats stranded
and fish flopping helplessly on the sand
eyes bulging, mouths gaping open and closed;
bits of flotsam and jetsam
exposed in the bright sunlight.
And then suddenly, a wall of black water
slamming back against the shore.
A storm no one saw coming.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken Little

Ever since happiness heard your name, It has been running through the streets trying to find you. --Hafiz

Do we seek happiness or does it seek us? Interesting question and one that I like to ponder once in a while. Some people seem to live with a black cloud perpetually over their heads. It seems like bad “stuff” happens to the same people over and over again. They get sick, they lose their jobs, their homes get robbed, their children get sick, their houses fall apart. I’m not saying that some of these things don’t happen to all of us at times, but I’ve noticed that I have friends or family members who have an inordinate amount of bad luck. And it makes me wonder, do they live with the intention of being happy and these things just occur anyway, or do they live waiting for the sky to fall and so, in some way, bring it down around their ears? In other words, do we somehow reap what we sow? Do some people just have bad karma, whereby the individual is considered to be the sole doer and enjoyer of his karmas and their “fruits.” Or rotten fruits, whichever the case may be?

And how does innate happiness play a role? Are some of us predisposed to be happy souls, and therefore bring about cheerful, good things to our lives, while others are generally unhappy and unfulfilled and then somehow bring about the negative? And can we change this for ourselves? Can we become happy and bring about better luck? I know of a local woman who was fairly generally known to be a negative person. She wasn’t really approachable, had few friends, was looked at by others as “snobby,” but always said it was because she was shy. But her few friends even said she was a complainer and a bleak spirit--always looking at that glass as half-empty and exuding quite a bit of negative energy.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. She beat it, but nothing really changed. She still carried that negative energy with her. A few months ago she was diagnosed with brain cancer--inoperable, death-impending brain cancer. She found a man, a sort of guru, who began helping her change her energy. She started to see how the negativity was draining her of experiencing life in a healthy way, and she decided she didn’t want the time she had left to be so gloomy. So she adjusted her attitude and began to live her life in a grateful manner all the time. She made a conscious effort to be happy. The doctors cannot explain it, but her tumors are shrinking and the cancer is heading for the shadows. It’s not gone, and she still may have limited time, but amazing, good things are happening in her life. Could it simply be due to her attitude adjustment?

I have always loved the story of Chicken Little. The sky is constantly getting ready to rain down on her. She just cannot see how it could stay pinned up where it belongs, around the clouds and sun and moon. Disaster is constantly imminent. In the end, Chicken Little realizes it takes courage to live without fear. It takes courage to choose to be happy, even in the face of disaster that befalls us all sometimes.

It takes courage to make yourself happy, to stop running through the streets ignoring the sound of your name. . . .

Monday, May 10, 2010

things i've seen this month (so far) . . . .

1. red red tomatoes and green basil

2. a blue heron next to a rainbow in a fountain

3. two hawk's riding the current in two different skies

4. my best friend's smile

5. a night sky so blue it didn't look real

6. the brightest yellow goldfinches on my feeder

7. the movie Babies (which was adorable, inspiring, and comforting)

8. wind blowing the tree branches until I thought they'd break, but they held fast

9. my child's tears

10. sombreros

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dear Italy,

It hasn’t been that long since I last saw you. Not even a full year yet. But I felt the need to tell you today how much I miss you. I feel the need quite often, actually. Nearly every day. But today is the day I have chosen to write you a love letter. I am hoping you might hear me more clearly this way.

Yesterday, I read my journal entries from when we were last together. And the day before that I watched a slideshow of the photos I took of you. You look even better than I remembered. The evening sunlight in those few from the Residensa della Signoria in Florence? Those are hot. I mean you look amazing--despite what those silly boys said about you. What do they know? They're only kids. Someday they’ll appreciate you the way I do.

Tomorrow I may take out my suitcase and try to see if I can catch your scent, which would be impossible with all the trips which have come between. But maybe, buried down in the corner somewhere, I can get a whiff of the peaches from Tony's garden, or the smell of the sea in Roseto. Just a tiny bit to keep my heart from bursting with missing you.
I'm sure everyone who has met you says they love you most, but I hope you know I am the one who truly does. They can say all they want, and I know it's not really a contest or anything (but I'm still the winner).
Did I tell you I'm learning to speak your language? It's not easy. I mean, no one said it was going to be, but I'm no spring chicken and we all know it would be a lot easier if my brain was still a sponge like my kid's. But I'm determined not to come back until I can tell you in your own words that my storia d'amore with you is endless.
Arrivederci a presto, Italia!