my wishes for you

October 29, 2017

Dear Mike,
This is a smidgen late…but you’re so awfully cute that M and I got bogged down choosing the pictures.  I wrote you a poem. It will give you a chuckle. It’s at the bottom.  Don’t jump ahead.  First things first.  You will probably roll your eyes and throw up your hands in exasperation. But you will like it. You always do. You’re so good that way. 


I’m never quite sure whether to keep it light or tell you all that’s in my heart…as though you don’t already know. You’re good that way too. How very blessed I am. 

Today is your very own happy new year. Yours and yours alone. Should I tell you how much I love you. Or should I tell you all the things I wish for you. I suppose they’re really rather one in the same, aren’t they.


Birthdays like New Years are a threshold. A moment in time that you can’t quite see but where two worlds meet. What has been and what will come to be. The first you know all too well. The second is the universe waiting for you to come join the celestial dance.


Confetti and cake, boxes and bows, mark the celebration! The celebration of you! The day when everything changed because there was you. Don’t grumbleat me. You Have changed the world for good for so many whether you realize it or not.  

Before the cheers, before the world joins in your joy, pause…and think what this doorway is for you. Let go of all that it’s time to leave in the past. Let it begin to fade and whatever scars it has left, let them begin to heal. But don’t let everything go. Keep the beauty. Keep all the treasures that make you smile and fill you with hope. Just look at how many there are! Tie them with satin bows in your heart. Forever a part of you. Only you know what they are.

Breathe deep and face the future, your very own. Ready and waiting. It’s time to start something new and grand! You have a deep compassion. Take it with you and keep it close. It has always served you well. There are so many unseen and hurting faces in your world. Many of them you will never know. But you make a difference for them nonetheless. I marvel at that!  

You’re rather a star to me…but I’m pretty sure you already knew. Giggles. No matter what comes to you in life you face it head on and with a strength of character that I so admire. You touch so many… 

How honored I am to be some small part of your world. Did you know… when you turn and see me, just me, and gather me up in your arms… you hug like a great big bear. I feel safe and so loved. Thank you for that. 


No matter how time has flown for us and where each of us is… I always carry you in my heart. And I know without a doubt that I am in yours too. We’ve known each other since before forever. There’s something I cannot quite describe about what makes us a “we” when in truth we’ve had so little time together. Perhaps that makes it all the stronger. 


I’m sorry, but I do not pray for you to have worldly things. I pray for you all the joy and beauty of life. That goodness may find you and keep you smiling even when I am far away. That you may have courage in times of adversity. That your heart may always win and save a gentle place for all of the small unnoticed things in life. I pray that you may be gifted with a loving spirit, a smiling countenance, an overflowing joy, and a peaceful soul that will keep you at all times and in all places. 

Happy birthday Mike. I love you so very much. You are my one and only…big brother. 

all my love always, suzanne ❤️< i> P. S. – you’ll always be 18 to me. < i><

nd now for something…a little different…

You are my one and only.  You always have been.  And always will be. You’re handsome and smart. I knew right from the start. That you were gonna go far.

I always knew. Cause I’m just as smart as you. Just saying …

Oh the wheels! That you’ve squealed! First strollers then bikes. And the cars. Oh the cars! Cars cars cars cars!

And me all along. With a laugh and a song. Your trusty sidekick.  I sheepishly confess you made me quite sick.

Parking lot donuts. Donuts galore. Make it stop. I would plead.  Before grinning and asking for more.

Again suz?!  Heck yeah!  A laugh from you. A grin from me. And off we went again you see.

See there. Now your two biggest fans. Have both written an ode.  To the one perfect boy…Oh what a joy!

Shall I trot mine out at parties. And, make you blush red. From the tips of your toes. To the top of your head?

She’s earned the right to call you perfect. She is your most loving and devoted fan. And don’t you forget it! Everyone should be so blessed as to have one.

A few years between us. And then a few days. You always come first. In all the right ways.

Pull out the calendar. You do the math. I’m really quite sure. We have one romantic dad…

No matter our ages. Days like the pages. This long story of we. Unfolds…

How much did we miss…

Sometimes together. Mostly apart. But always. Yes always. You’re close in my heart.

Then you go. And, let it show. Just how much you care. Devoting your life. To those in strife. Helping each one at a time. Holding their hand. Taking a stand. For the things that you know. Are so right…

How much tea did you drink?  Did you think that you’d sink?!  In the name of my girly tea parties.

By the time I was eight. You stood by the gate. Could hardly wait. For that next date. You were so grown. And I was so small. Fast cars and freedom.  They came to call.

My, you looked fine. When you made it on time. Those teen girls, how they did twitter.  At the sight of you mister. No eyes for your sister that day. With a Wink and a smile…

Still…I felt oh so special. Top down plus you. Adding me makes it two.  Away we did flee…

Wait, there are three.  Yes, the car counts as one. You taught me that.  First rule of boys, sis.  Shhhh. Keep it under your hat.

Oh and thanks for this too. Rule number two! Faster than fast is just the right speed?!

How many times officers looked down at me.  But my brother says…

Rule number two?  I don’t think so miss. But the ones who had sisters. Would chuckle and wave.  At your little joke. Cause they all had their own.

Oh and by the way. Your Men at Work cassette tape.  I still have that… Yeah…sorrrrry

For my birthday one year. You gave me Miss Piggy! Her bright purple dress. Made me quite giddy!

But the only thing I ever wanted from you…Was just you…

I wish I had more pictures of us. You know. All that silly brother sister stuff.

Wind in our hair.  Fast as the breeze.  Taking life as it comes.  Just as you please.

That thing you can do with your knuckles and toes. To this day makes me goes. Ugh…Just ugh…

You hug like a bear. It’s really not fair.  None can compare.  When you squeeze out the air.  But I don’t care.  Cause you’re you…

My one and only big brother. That’s who.

Wide eyed and wondering. I looked up to you. Always so brave.  Always so true.

Wherever life takes us. Wherever we go. You’ll always be close in my heart. Don’t you know.

Now… here we are… Life’s journey so far…

And look!

You’re  still my shining star!

<<<<<<
;

softened by rainy days



Gently this day wakes to the humming of the fan and a chill in the air. I’m happy for that. The last few weeks have been fast and furious. Let them be softened by time and rainy days. 

May something good come of it all…. 


There were plenty of good things along the way to be sure!  



A few extra feet joined in my walk. They were a grand and welcome treat! One fuzzy life hopped away! Criss cross applesauce hands in my lap with some sweet tiny friends! The sharing of a lightbulb moment! A simple meal at the end of a long week! Being a part of the very first author event of someone so very dear to me!  


Prayer and poetry and peaceful moments…unopened books waiting for me…


The first pumpkin bread of the season warmed my kitchen from the inside out. The sweet scent of it drifted from room to room, a cozy reminder that autumn is truly and finally here. I shared it fresh from the oven. When I delivered the first loaf it was still warm in its shiny foil wrapper. Five loaves gone in two short days. I will happily bake more. It is a joy of the season for me! First to bake it. Then to give it away. Except the slices I taste test for quality control… 



But there was a hole I never could quite climb out of. No ladder. No rope. No foothold. 


Over the weekend we received some very much needed rain…


I found myself walking in the rain at dusk, such a perfect reflection of my thoughts. There’s nothing quite so nice at times as wandering the woods in a light rain. Pull my ponytail through a baseball cap and head out the door and down the trail…



The dogs will not go out in the rain on purpose…unless I do. If I go, they go. My constant companions stay closer when it rains, pausing every few steps to be sure. Looking back at me. Are we really doing this? Yes…we are. Keep going. Ok then. If you say so. 



What I can see of the sky is grayish white. It feels more like fog than sky, the way the clouds encircle me from every which way holding me tight to the ground. Tight to myself. Rain washes over the landscape painting all of the colors a darker shade of whatever they already are. Leaves and bark and flowers too…Everything takes in the life giving water… and changes.  



The lake stretches out before me. Open and waiting. Tiny circles dot the surface here and there…teardrops falling gently from the sky. The pond silently accepts them with no questions asked. Each one makes a difference. I gaze a while, watching the tiny droplets one by one become part of something so much bigger than themselves. Giving themselves away. Disappearing in the whole. 


We are at our best when we give ourselves away…



Deeper amidst the trees now Mozart thunders in my ear. He is a perfect complement to birds and light footsteps on a wet woodland path. The rain comes rhythmically like musical notes. From cloud to branch it falls like fingers on a keyboard composing a brilliant song! Drops that catch nearby are strong like drumbeats. They pound at the thirsty earth. While others never make it through the treetops remaining so faded and far away. They echo softly in reply to their own question.  



Then there are the closest drops, the ones that soak your clothes and glisten on your skin, the ones that chill you or refresh you, the ones you keep for your very own and make all the difference…those drops you cannot hear at all. They do not have a sound. They silently disappear. Perhaps they become part of you just as the ones that offer themselves to fill the lake.   



There is a gift in even the most trying times if I see with heart instead of eyes alone. Sometimes those gifts, the ones that come in the silent tears of the wind and rain, are the most precious ones after all.


Today is a new beginning, a very innocent one, fresh and full of promise. What secret destination awaits…


embers, ashes and a lovely place to swim

I was a little late leaving for my morning walk.  Just moving slowly I suppose. In my left hand swings a now familiar white bucket laden with bread. In my pocket is my phone. I wonder how many times I will pause to capture a photo of something precious or chuckle worthy. My ear buds are plugged in and draped around my neck.  What music will I choose to accompany my steps. I think that I am ready…


The cedar that leans too far because of storm and earth washing away is still easier to climb over than under. The creek is cold and wandering just as it is every time I wade through it.  The dogs are far ahead with excitement as they always are.  But me…
The closer I come to crossing the fence the more ill at ease I feel.  One leg over…then the other… thankfully nothing catches on the barbed wire this time, clothes or skin.  The field waits quietly for me as it always does.  But, in my center there is an uneasiness.  It doesn’t fade with my steps.  What will be waiting for me today?  And, I think to myself…this is not what joy feels like.  Even as I write this, the gnawing place returns so that I’m not certain if I want to continue…or turn around…and go back…

So many things just the same.  Others have changed.  Sorry, I’ve already jumped ahead of myself in this story.

The last few months have seen some new traffic in the place where I wander and wonder.  People, I mean.  A few have always come from time to time.   To fish or to walk.  I’m used to those and the signs of them.  All good.  I will change my course when I realize they are nearby.  After all, they come so seldom and I’m blessed with this space every day. They become enchanted for a while.  They remember how wonderful it is to be here and visit often.  Soon enough the busyness of life sneaks up on them. They go back to the noise and excitement of the worldly places, leaving this one, once again quiet and unpeopled.  

 I almost said empty.  These woods and fields are far from being empty.  They overflow with all manner of life!  The kind of life that is content to stroll or hop or fly or just be still.   Be still and gaze at the light winding its way through the branches and the leaves until it rests on the water in a shower of tiny stars. A faery dream…


The new traffic is quiet and there’s plenty of room of course, so even that is ok.  But, as of late they are building fires in the evenings.  Fire in a place that is not their own…and when it’s time for them to be somewhere else, they simply go…leaving behind an untended fire.   Sometimes the sparks escape the rocks that protectively surround them.  

So, that explains the bucket.  A few extra steps, a smidgen of water and the night’s leftovers are easily put to rest.  On the upside, it doubles as a lovely way to carry bread for feeding the fish and I feel a bit like a character in Little House on the Prairie. Where is my huge sun bonnet? I wonder if Dobby took it… 


Lately when I cross the fence each morning it isn’t with a peaceful heart.  Rather, there is an anxious wondering as to what awaits me.  What may have happened in the night to change things. 

Ugh, change… the never ending wonderful miserable constant in life…

Fire is frightening.  It can run away from you at lightening speed and you’re helpless before it. If you have ever witnessed a fire raging out of control or the charcoaled bits of life it leaves behind, you know how very tragic it can be. Unchecked it has the power to engulf and destroy.  Quickly!  There is nothing easy about fire.   It is both dangerous and mesmerizing. However it comes, as flames licking at the sky or as coals alive and pulsating with energy.  Red hot embers wait for their turn to rise up and take their place among the others.  


There is a hidden mystery in the heart of  Fire. It also has the power to heal.  A solitary gaze into its rich depths is a search for my own.  How many stories have been told while lazing around its edges. The gentle glow of it entrances us, keeping the teller and the listener tucked into a momentary but timeless embrace.  Within it burns the secrets of both togetherness and aloneness. 



When man learned what could be done with fire, his world changed forever! Suddenly, there was a place of great warmth.  A place to belong.  A place to share.  A means to alter food.  Cooking!  Before man harnessed fire there were no pastries with hot cups of tea alongside them, no baked potatoes with melted butter and cheese, no roasted chicken with herbs.  Did you notice how I put dessert first…just saying.  Fire holds many gifts.  We can warm ourselves through and through, body and soul.  


Bejo once told me that she had purposely burned 20 years worth of personal journals. I was stunned! Oh how fascinating I think it would be to read her thoughts!  As time passes, I think  I understand why my grandmother did what she did. They were her thoughts after all. She had every right to do what she wanted with them. One should listen to a friend or loved one while they have the chance. What they kept quietly to themselves is no more important than what they chose to share with you. I had the gift of her in life. What she chose to share with me is the part of her that she wanted me to have. I wonder if tossing them one by one into the flames was healing for her. Did it help her to let go of a past that left no room for the magnificence of the future? 


The Phoenix!  In Greek legend it is synonymous with the power fire has to transform!  It can both take life and restore it!  The  phoenix lives a tremendously long life until one day it simply bursts into flames and is consumed by the fire.  From the very remnants of that destruction, it rises in a brilliant new life.  Over and over again the fire takes away and then restores.   Out of the ashes of pain the phoenix always rises.  The stories of his heart are written in hot coals on the tips of his wings. The edges are singed with the sorrow and grief of the world…but, when he opens them wide and lets the air catch underneath them…he flies.  Soars to unimaginable heights on fresh new wings. Burning away the past. Clearing the way for a beauty as yet unknown.  Indeed, fire is a mysterious healer.


In every ending there is a beginning.  It may be hard to see.  It is so very small.  But it is there nevertheless.  Fire cools.  Ashes are blown hither and yon by the same invisible air that fanned them into flame a short time ago.  Now, there is a place for the tiniest seed to take hold.  


Whatever the seed is destined to become is already written in its heart.  Whether it will be a delicate flower or a towering tree – its roots will search the darkness for wisdom to grow strong while its blossoms and branches reach for the glorious skies.  It is never ending.  Earth to sky.   Fire to water.  Birth to death.   All so beautifully interwoven in one seamless life. 


My days and my walks have been altered. I have been fighting it…at least on the inside.  I didn’t want this change.  I didn’t ask for it…I don’t really like it.  Nevertheless, here it is.  

Now… I have begun walking to the south side of the lake every evening, across the top of the dam.  Water gushes from the overflow pipe just out of sight.   If I close my eyes, I imagine that I am on an exotic island and it is really the crashing thunder of a waterfall.  Occasionally at dusk my bald eagle trips in over the towering pines and dances with his reflection in the peaceful lake so far below.   He is an absolute joy to me!  One day I will write more of him…


The south field is different, as all things are.  Wading through knee high grasses with cows on my right, I reach the peak of this sweet hill.  My only reward is the only one I need…an endless sky all around me.  I am just high enough to be a part of it and no longer simply a watcher glued fast to the ground.  And the sunsets are so so everywhere!  Every color! Every inch! Every lone and brilliant note in a triumphant song!  To my left and to my right, in front and behind, above and even inside of me every last ray of light bounces in glorious splendor…

this is what joy feels like…

yes, much has changed because of others and their fire building adventures.  
One day the busyness of the world will call to these strangers.  Just as it has to the others before them.  They will answer.  And, stop coming here.  Until then, 

The ashes of life have blown aside leaving me with something sweet and new.  I am embarrassed to admit I had forgotten how much I love the south field and the expanse of sky that stretches out before me in glad welcome.  My constant companions swim more on the south side because there are fewer weeds to tangle them up.  Fewer weeds means fewer snakes! There aren’t so many hidey holes for them to tuck away in.  A supremely good thing.  The soft sand of the dam is just as nice a place to rest as the pier and it always has shade!


The very fire that I fight heals me if I will only let go.

 I read this week that healing takes time. It’s true. All good and proper healing does take time. I pray for that, the healing and the ability to wait gracefully until it arrives…

I find it strange how often I tend to ‘forget’ certain things.  Something always comes along to remind me. It’s never gentle either. The reminder is usually bold with flashing neon lights and a good hearty knock on the noggin.  I wonder how I could have forgotten something so simple… or even slept for that matter,  what with the incessant glaring and pounding headache…

I cannot make someone else care in the same way that I do…that…I must let go of.  


What I can do is…

Care for the little ones that fill my lovely world.  Let the fires of imagination burn bright with words.  Kindle the embers of my heart and let them glow from the inside out with love and compassion. Stay awhile to be a part of the sunset. 

Life is full of stories just waiting to be lived…and then to be shared…come sit with me around the fire and we’ll write a magnificent new one together…


in the shining and in the dark

No dreams last night, or at least none that I can recall. I’m a little antsy. Maybe about writing. Maybe something else. Walking in the rain. Trees that fall down. Clyde and Camellia. Creepy crawlers and all grown up. Growing up is when you learn to not run from what’s in front of you. I’m staring more than writing. Why is it always so hard to get started.  



Before dawn, still sleepy eyed I tiptoed out the back door. With bare feet I took the small step down off the back porch in search of the gentle silvery spotlight of the full moon. Sand gave way under my feet. It surprised me at how soft and cool it was. I dug my toes in just a little. Jack and Huckleberry joined me in honoring the hushed silence of the moment. The sweet moon gathered all round me in a lovely embrace. 


She was perfectly wonderful making her way through the trees…as though she was there…just for me. How funny that always seems. When something so universal feels so intimate. Far off, a solitary owl, his call echoing through the woods…to who…to who… and there I was too, as still as anything in the shining and in the dark, feeling…very solitary. 


I wonder, how many stood under the same moon at the same moment. did they wonder too. did they hear an owl hoot. did they feel special in an alone sort of way. a small part of something so much bigger than themselves. did they wish upon a star. did they hum a little tune.  



Or…was I after all…the only one standing in the light of the moon, looking to the stars for guidance and for hope. Saying a prayer for courage and for grace…


As we headed out on our morning walk the sun began rising behind me. Already he was warming the sand that had been so delightfully cool only moments before. My time worn path lay before me lit from within by a fiery glow. This way!  He called.  Ahead, the moon was still high in the sky.   But with every step I took… it faded just a little more. 



 She became transparent…and then…invisible…right before my eyes. what now? how will I know? My silvery rays of hope…The moon is still there in the sky. I trust that she is…even when I cannot see her… I know in my heart…she is there…always…


The Prairie, The Garden…Inside Glow…

A journey must begin somewhere…

a Field, this Field, is as good a place as any,

Tirelessly you travel across the wide and lonesome Prairie…

Into the cool and mysterious shadows of the Black Mountain…



What treasures hide there…

And Beyond it…

The Garden calls from the East…

Soft quiet footsteps will bring you to the grassy lake of the Blueberry Swan…

The gentle queen of the Flower Garden…

Taking care of all who dwell within her realm…


Closer now, amongst her heart shaped green feathers…

Oh! The sweet Starfish Flower…

So bright and hopeful with its Inside Glow…

One and another and another still, so very many beauties…

Now, you must use your deepest imagination…


For, In the heart of every Starfish Flower dances…

A Pixie, tried and true…

All are safe here…

But, they leave you wondering…

How Do You Glow From The Inside?


Note: The title, story, and inspiration are courtesy of Ms. Smith’s 4th grade writers at Turner Elementary.  Thank you for sharing your own way of seeing!

As always thank you to my sweet readers,

Ellie❤️