rare jungle birds and blue satin ribbons 


No matter who you are, no matter how much or how little you think you have…you always have something to give…


The hunter moon came brilliantly full last evening. I could have laid beneath it and watched it all night long…slowly wandering the starry sky. Just like another full moon at another beginning so long ago…


The air hangs heavy for November. Whatever that means. I had hoped that it would be chilly this morning. It’s not. There is a hint of breeze that’s awfully nice though. In the heaviness lingers a fresh scent. I cannot decide what it is exactly. Perhaps it is simply the deep filling breath before a new adventure. 


My constant companions let me sit for five whole minutes on the pier! I even got to swing my feet as we watched the heron march slowly along the edges of the water hunting his breakfast. 


Industrious beetles fill the tall grass. I’m not sure if they’re preparing for winter. Or, if that is just their way. They make me feel rather guilty for all that I’m not getting done. 


Life isn’t all about doing though. Sometimes it’s just about being.    


My footsteps are light. My fingers dance in the air before me to the cello song. Above the music I hear my elusive jungle bird. I pause beneath the trees to listen to him instead of the music. I only catch a glimpse as he swoops from tree to tree so high overhead. He’s really a pileated woodpecker. But don’t tell him that.  


In his heart he knows who he really is…a rare jungle bird whose treetop song finds me on the forest floor… I imagine that his plumage is quite brilliant. He never comes close enough for me to find out for sure. I assume the possibility of him. But, no matter how still and quietly I wait… he does not show himself. Leaving me to wonder – does he even exist. 


His passionate song suggests that…yes…he does. A gift, delivered by the wind, trailing delicate satin ribbons that wave gently to all that is left behind, until…it comes to rest within me. 


Life is filled with the sweet gifts of everyday. 



Miss Lacey is amazing at what she does. I wish that her skills were unnecessary. But, for those who need her, she is a great blessing. Miss Jordan has a warm spirit and a contagious smile. She brightens any day with welcome. 


I am reminded of the power of words. “No” is as good a word as “Yes”. Perhaps especially so when said for someone you love who cannot say it for themselves. No thank you, we’ll pass on that procedure. Then for him to find the one small word he was searching so hard for… “tenors”. Way to go Dad! A tiny triumph never seemed so large. So, you and I spent a morning together serenaded by beautiful music of your own choosing. 


A gift of words freely given. No why or how or wherefore. Just thoughts scribbled on a page or typed haphazardly onto a screen. And given away… how amazed I am at the way in which inspiration finds one. An image or a song or a moment in time… Those things that decide they will stay after all and make a home in your thoughts.  


David. I didn’t know David a few weeks ago. He is new in my world and there is no knowing when I will see him. David has no home. He comes to the same protected place day after day. Then just as suddenly as he arrived … he disappears … for a while. I wonder where he goes at those times and hope that he is safe. David seems haunted by something from another time. He is gentle all the same. Though his needs are many, he is happy to share a kind word and a smile.  

Stories! Stories for the smallest ones. They do not live in affluence. Some are in CPS (child protective services). But you would never know. Their sweet faces are almost more joy than I can take! Can we sing the teapot song?! And off we go! So many little teapots…all steamed up…pouring and shouting! We can be heard all the way down to the office! 

Lunch! Right in the middle of the day! Of course that’s where it belongs. But, I will admit I’m positively awful at making myself stop for it. I enjoyed a lazy lunch that stretched well into the afternoon. Just me and the good company I shared on a covered porch. Except for that rusty crawfish…the way he kept staring. You’d think he had never seen anyone eat lunch before. 


Flamingos! Not the iridescent pink bird, although he’s quite nice as well. Flamingos is a precious second hand boutique that benefits the ETCC. Ms. G will see to it that lovely new unmentionables are delivered to the unknown woman who has need of them. Ms. G serves the ladies of the East Texas Crisis Center as a protective mother hen. I’m sorry that any community needs a crisis center. But for those who have need of it I’m grateful that it’s there.  



Gifts galore in all shapes and sizes! nothing to wrap…nothing to put away…nothing to break… Only beautiful moments shared…forever tied in  my heart with blue satin ribbons waving gently in the breeze.  

Some days I am 8 years old, dizzy with the joy of life. Everything is so shiny and brand new. My eyes leap in wonder at cloud feathers and silly dogs and tiny hop toads! What wonders surround me all the time!


Some days I am more ancient than the great pyramids…not of body…but of soul. That I have lived 8,000 years and continue on. As though the struggles of every age lie within me. A gentle place for all the weary of the world to come to rest. 


I like the feel of both. The fresh and the forever. In between them are the middle years, the busy ones. Even in those… A part of you must always be eight. A part of you must always be older than time. No one is ever a single number, a single moment in space…

Each of you is a rare and elusive jungle bird.  Each of you swoops from tree to tree carried by the wind.  Each of you wears brilliant plumage.  Each of you has the sweet gift of a song…


You are a timeless soul filled with sweet embrace. You…each and every one of you have something to give, and you touch far more people than you will ever know. 


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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❤️






tomatoes and channel cats…

Tomatoes!  Thick slices of tomato on homemade bread with a touch of mayonnaise, salt and pepper…best sandwich –  Ever.  Salsa!  Enough said.  Marinara sauce seasoned and simmered will tempt the gods. 

The first tomato of the season is a joy!  It tastes of hope and of long lazy summer days stretched out before you.  Fall tomatoes are rich and hearty in a different kind of way.  You savor every bite because you know that soon they will be gone.  And, you’ll be left…waiting once more.  The closer you get to first frost the more you treasure each bite.  

In East Texas you can purchase tomatoes anywhere during the peak season.  But, there’s nothing quite like having your own “tomato guy”.   A scenic half hour drive  through some lovely country will land you at his doorstep.  Yep, right where he lives.  A table waits in the yard.  He’s almost never there.  But his tomatoes are!  They’re piled high in wooden baskets arranged neatly in a row.    A glass mason jar filled with money sits off to one side.  On a nearby tree is a hand written sign with directions.  Tomatoes $5 per basket.  Leave your money in the jar.


They are the best tomatoes I eat all year.  They are worth the wait.  How glad I am to live in a place where people still trust and others don’t take advantage of that.

Yesterday I found myself with a few minutes to write. I stared at the page. I noticed the kitchen waiting to be cleaned. I thought of how I really should go to the market for a few things. Perhaps I should put away the laundry. No no. Sit still and write, I told myself. After all, sixteen paws are napping. So, I stared at the page again. Waiting…waiting for something to happen…

Should I write about September before it’s over? I do love it so. Should I write about cookies? Mmm the world’s most perfect food!  Should I write about Gift from the Sea?  Life and its ways.  I stared at the page. Waiting… 

I cannot force my writing even if I do have a blank page and a quiet uninterrupted hour. The thoughts will come when they do and the words will follow along at their own pace. It is only my job to deliver them. I wonder if I am really a stenographer, taking dictation from the world around me.  The grass calls to me – could you tell my story please of how it feels when the wind lays me down in the field. 


So I am as surprised as anyone when they do come. Words and thoughts divinely intermingle. Like tomatoes ripened on the vine they wait to be harvested and enjoyed. I wonder whether they will be sandwich or salsa or a rich hearty stew.  

The air is soft this morning and the water is as smooth as glass.  No ripples.  No sparkling light.  Just stillness.  Some days that is just the thing.  

 Jack sent the first ducks of the season aloft.  There were two of them.  It is lovely to see two of them side by side whether they swim or fly.  So sweetly together.  I trust they will return.  This is a safe place to spend the winter.  

 I lingered over feeding the fish, slowing it down and drawing it out.  The channel cats seem to like it that way.  Cross legged at the end of the jetty  I look down into the water much the way I stare at the blank page. Hopeful and waiting. 


The perch come racing in first. The water churns with their hunger.  They have crazy Jack kind of energy!  Perch are not good waiters!  But they do make enough ruckus to get the attention of a few turtles.  Hey, what’s going on over here? Free food?   So, now we are joined by the red eared sliders.  They are shy.  Once they get a bite they swim straight to the bottom of the lake with their treasure.

Two channel cats ascend from the deepest water.  Oscar and Felix (in case you were wondering what their names might be)  are gentle giants at an easy two feet long.  No fish tales here.  They really are that big!  They circle and wait, creating a lovely ballet of sorts.  If I manage to drop the bread just right,  a few inches in front of them, they will gather it into their mouths by the feel of their whiskers.  It’s much harder to accomplish than it sounds but well worth the effort.  Sometimes, they treat me to a whale like flap of the tail in gratitude.  Always makes me smile.  

Then there are my pawed ones! 


Bo is absolutely fascinated by this fish feeding thing.  He hangs his head over the edge of the pier  watching intently as the fish come and go.  I wonder what he would do at an aquarium?!  I imagine the staff would frown upon me finding out for sure so I will simply have to guess.    Perhaps Bo doesn’t care at all about the fish.  Perhaps he only wonders why in the world I would be dropping perfectly good food into a watery abyss…

Jack’s interest lies purely in the realm of the red eared sliders.  He salutes them with both voice and stance! Come hither and let me get a better look at you my small friend!  Um, no thank you – they reply.  Jack is perplexed at their hesitancy to join in his offer of  friendship.  And tells them so, Loudly!


Dobby wanders the wooden planks looking at the hoopla from time to time.  Mostly he seems to be asking – are we done yet?  In case I haven’t noticed his pacing, he will come close enough to slobber on me.  Hm, fun for me. 

Ellie makes her way slowly over the water until she finds the right spot and lays down.  When I sit, she knows that we will be staying long enough for her to get comfortable.  Ellie watches the sky not the water.  Ellie watches the horizon.  Waiting…

Just there…out of the stillness…comes a gentle hint of breeze from the north.  Did I imagine it?  Could it be?  Technically it Is autumn now…early autumn I remind myself.  Still plenty of waiting…

A bird begins to sing, pea shooter, pea shooter, pea shooter.  Or at least that’s what it sounds like to me.  


The bread is all gone.  Fish tummies are full.  Time to go.  A stampede of excitement arises after all that waiting around on the pier.  I am careful not to get knocked off…for today at least.  My crew heads down the path.  It narrows and winds just here.  If I am too slow Bo will double back to check on me.  He will wait but only as long as he can see me.  

Back at home… 


Messy morning glories have taken over the garden, waiting for their chance to shine.  The hummingbird feeder is full, waiting for those who are just passing through.  I’m still watering  plants, waiting for some rain.  Books pile up in odd places, waiting to be read.  And yellow spirals are open and empty, waiting to be filled with thoughts…

One cannot rush the days.  No matter how much I  may want something, most things in life are not within my control.  I love autumn! I wait for it all year.  I cannot make the clock spin faster or the earth either for that matter.  Autumn arrives when it does and without any help from me.  I wonder…if it was always here, if it was always autumn, would it mean as much…  If I didn’t have to wait for it through a long dry summer would it be such a treasure to me… 

Many days my thoughts are jumbled and my words are crooked and ill at ease. I fret that they will not come.  But all I can really do is wait.  Wait for them to sort themselves out.  Wait to understand what tomatoes have to do with anything.  Wait for the north wind to come crisp over the water and the leaves to turn as brilliant as a sunset.  Wait…

I will not worry over tomorrow or next week or anything beyond this day.  Instead I will try to wait gracefully for them. There is hope in waiting. Anything could happen!  Anything could be!  Now, if you’ll excuse me I have something simmering on the stove and it’s waiting to be savored…there’s a lovely world all around you, waiting to be loved…

Shh, listen…there on the breeze…I hear you…whispering my name…


if only

Early morning and dark, a hushed reverence fills the air.  The pitter patter of paws follows me down the hall and to the kitchen.  Start the coffee.  Put on my long soft sweater and head outside.  

Stars shining bright and a few frogs still sing.  It’s too early yet for the birds.  Their time will come.  Jack has joined me on the back porch.  He likes the early morning as much as I do.  Or maybe he just likes to be close to me whenever and wherever that may be.  Jack doesn’t show up well in the dark but I know he’s there.  He nudges my hand and leans his whole self against me in his own special way.  


I’m grateful he’s near.  I am as sure of him as I am of the coffee waiting for me.  The strong aroma drifts through the crack in the door I’ve left open.  Soon the scent nudges me as certainly as Jack does.  Ready, it calls to me… I answer with a few footsteps easily made.  I’m grateful for those too.

Pull the cup from the shelf.  A dash of cream to soften the color.  A tad bit of sugar to sweeten the taste.  I caress the warmth coming from the porcelain with both of my hands.  

Back to the porch we all go – me and my coffee and my juice box named jack.  Oh, how that first sip delights!  While I gaze at the stars, I’m still fresh from the dreams that aren’t really ours.  Where do they come from? Where do they go?  Strong places and colors…my own picture show.  I watch it and feel it and live it as well!  Or, so it seems…

My foot falls asleep under Jack’s sturdy frame.  Another sip of fine coffee, my writing can wait.  He’s sleeping so sweetly.  I can’t bear to move.  And, my dream rings inside me like notes with a tune…


Such a storm! So much raging! Darkest gray and sheets of  silverish rain, blowing sideways flooding the stage.  The wooden pier that stands guard over the lake disappears under the onslaught. The man made path of sawn timbers giving way to a force greater than themselves.  But, the grass is just dandy! If anything, it only comes greener as the angry sky falls.

I watch from inside transfixed on the spot.  I am safe and quite sound.  Without shoes on my feet, my toes feel the ground.  Others around me but nary a sound. There’s a roof overhead.  I sense it above me.  I know that it’s there, keeping me in.   It protects from the rain,  far away from my skin.


It’s an odd thing…no windows to let the outside in…no walls to keep the outside out…no doors to be closed… Only ways to move through.  Easily about. There is a knowing.  The spaces, they mingle.  Ever so gently, they are not separate but rather one single.

Candlelight flickers bathing all that it touches with a graceful warm glow.  How it gathers and holds altogether, I don’t know.  It plays and it dances so joyfully on the creamy walls and dark wooden furniture.  Tables and chairs and doorways were all crafted from a reddish wood warmed over time by much use and great care.  Items carefully chosen that fill a home…

For,  home it is…warm and safe…a soft place in which to feel the storm gather round.  The sky above rumbles in response to the chaos it cannot control.  

But here, here is a safe place for one who seeks calm…just a heartbeat away.  At once looking outward and wondering inward.  

A tender gaze moves with me from room to room.  A strength of presence, I feel more than See.  It needs nothing it seems.  Asks nothing of me.  Waiting and peaceful in cozy small spaces.  Content…just to be close, close in my dreams.  Soul to soul, together and whole.


Why… why is there invisible grace…keeping roof on…keeping rain out…safe harbor for warmth…what I See and Think and Feel, so very different but each so very real.  

How comforted I feel! How warm and alive!  Protected and cared for…a light from inside…

In the wide awake world there are too many…too many doors and windows and walls…keeping me safe…yet holding life out…
It’s lovely to be in a place that doesn’t need them…if only for a moment…if only in a dream…

the knot’s tale

I perch here at the island with my spiral open and waiting before me. Always waiting … ink glides across the lined paper with only a little effort.   Words form one sweet letter at a time.  Healthy pauses.  Renewed thought. Words traveling more up than down.  They are like the weight of a stone slowing me and yet… lifting me. I wonder if they come stronger with pain. Or, not really.  They are the same thoughts after all…strung together like carefully knotted pearls.  A lovely circle, never perfect…


once upon a time…

Each pearl was specially chosen and placed.  String was laid out.  By the hand of a master they were tied together, forever as one.  They were not slid haphazardly in a line  leaving them to bump and scrape at one another. That is a good way to lose them all.  No.  One pearl. One nearly invisible knot of love.  Alternating, first one and then the other.  One iridescent beauty.  One common bit of white.  The one to shine.  The other to hold.  All at once they come together as one treasured whole!

Then, one day…a very fragile place wears thin…breaks wide.  But, because of the knots, one doesn’t lose everything.  Without them there would be a chaos of bouncing and rolling, hither and yon…gone forever.  The one pearl at the breaking point must be gathered and saved.  The rest remain tightly together.

The eternal circle is only a line now.  It may be laid out and admired but it can no longer be worn. Put them away for a long while.  It is too painful to look upon them and to remember. At first there is only the brokenness. One separated from the others and rather lost.  A deep sigh. Wrap them tenderly in tissue and tuck them away in a special place.


They will wait.  Until…you are ready.  One day you think of them and know.  It is time…a search for the tissue wrapped treasure ensues.  Unfolded so gently with a beating heart.  It has been so long.  There they wait in a lovely heap not looking as broken as you remembered.  A sweet dawn of hope embraces you.  You had almost forgotten how very much they favored tiny full moons at rest in your palm.  Oh… their familiar coolness so refreshing to the touch brings a warm smile.

The delicate undertaking begins.  The solitary task of starting anew.  An empty space in which to create.  Light to see what lies before you. A lifetime of lessons reminding you of your own true north.  The softest music. The surest hand to guide both pearls and thread. They wait. You wait.  Waiting only for a gentle touch to bring them whole again.


Painstakingly, one at a time the tiniest knot is created between each pearl.   Almost invisible, it surrenders all of its fame to the pearl it protects. The silky white thread bestows space.  Each pearl is free!  Free to be quietly unto itself while still keeping a special place as part of the whole.  Therein lies the gentle strength of the knot.  The smallest bit of string unnoticed on most days, wisely and carefully tied creates the most loving bond between each precious full moon.

The pearl held forever by the strong knotted silk. Oh, how lovingly they come together… circle upon circle always…

Enough time has past.  You are ready once more to enjoy their beauty.  One was very nearly lost.  With patience and loving care they have come round into the circle they were always meant to be.

Only you hold the memory of the broken place and of the one that was almost lost.  A single tear falls for that long ago moment as you clasp them around your neck…afraid to look in the mirror.  A smile that nods tenderly to the sorrows of the past just as surely as it reaches hopefully to the future. Take them between your fingers, a gentle back and forth just to remind yourself they are really there, where they should be.

the end…

no, never the end.

that which is most dear will never be lost if you will only knot it lovingly in your heart and wait…

always and forever the beginning…

Jack j juice box

Few things are more wonderful than easing into wakefulness from the heart of a just because nap, an honest to goodness close your eyes and drift off if you want to, nap.  No bells or alarms jolting you into the present moment where you must hurry because you’re already five items behind on your to do list.  I’ve just had the bliss of one on this perfect September Sunday.  Jack is still heavy across my ankles, his favorite way to sleep.  The dogs are still dreaming.  It’s easiest for me to write when they are as still as a breezeless pond. Even that is deceptive.  They are only recharging for their next round of mayhem! 



Have you ever experienced a juice box? Yes, I’m talking about that small handheld invention – a box filled with juice in varying flavors accessible by a straw of matching size and cuteness.  Deceptive.  If you’ve ever gone round with one you’ll know why I call it an “experience”.  If you haven’t, I urge you to go forth and find one immediately if not sooner.  It’s something you’ll never forget.  You must find out for yourself.  It may in fact change your whole life.  Well, perhaps that’s a tad overstated.  But, you never know.
And if you think that one juice box is a wimpy experience, that you’re ready for so much more…or…you’re simply embarrassed to partake of a juice box as a great big grown up all alone….well, then I recommend that you make your way to the nearest preschool and enjoy your life changing experience with a dozen 3-5 year olds.  I dare you.



Ok, ready? Here goes.  A juice box is a tiny little thing, rather cute. Innocent and adorable it waits for you to come closer.  They  actually come in a variety of shapes but for our purposes we will focus on the box.  Pick it up. Turn it over in your hand.  Wow, pretty sturdy.  And how good of them to include such a tiny matching straw.  hmmm.  Here’s where you come upon your first challenge, to ease the straw protected by its own plastic sleeve away from the box.  Warning, if you mess this up you do not win the straw.  In fact it will crimp in the middle and you’ll end up fighting for every drop of juice through a mangled straw.

Assuming you tear it successfully away from the box you now face your next challenge. You must free the straw from its protective sleeve that I’m pretty sure was designed by NASA to withstand the fires of  re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.  In the tackling of this step, do not – I repeat – do not –  do anything to flatten the pointy end of “cute little straw”.  Not so cute anymore, huh.  You’re going to need that pointy end to stab through the miniscule foil covering – also designed by NASA.  



So, straw meets foil.  If you’re too gentle your juice will never see the light of day.  If you’re too exuberant it will explode in your hand like some sort of mini volcano.  (Have you ever noticed how the word mini makes everything sound that much cuter.  Seriously. Try it while you’re enjoying your juice.) 

Even if you’ve made it this far things can still go miserably wrong.  You see, you have to hold it right.  Yep, there’s a right way to hold the cutie pie.  Side to side at the edges is best.  If you grip it in the middle the whole thing can easily turn into a fountain.  Juice will be everywhere that  you don’t want it and sadly missing from the one place you do want it, namely your tummy.  



Lest I have scared you off I assure you they are totally worth the effort.  The juice is fantastic once you finally get to it.  You are allowed to make a satisfying slurping noise when you reach the bottom.  Some boxes will even cave in and change shape as you drain them becoming an artistic sculpture worthy of being displayed at any reputable museum of modern art. What’s not to love about that?

Juice boxes are a fine science and to be honest I’m not certain how preschoolers stay hydrated in the face of such adversity.



Since we’re already in preschool let’s talk about glitter!  With your trusty juice box by your side all you need now is paper, glue, and glitter for some good old fashioned fun.  A clean piece of white paper layed on a sturdy surface, (not your grandmother’s mahogany table).  Take the bottle of Elmer’s glue and swirl to your hearts content.  This way and that with no rhyme or reason.  Add…Glitter! Shake it from the bottle.  Pour it from a spoon.  Sprinkle it with your fingers.  Just keep going until your paper has disappeared under the weighty beauty of the sparkly bits.  Gently lift at the corners letting all the excess fall away leaving behind  only what held firm to the glue.  There! Beautiful! And would you look at that, there we are again – the art of letting go leaving behind nothing but joy. One day we’ll learn. Maybe.

Glitter sticks!  It sticks in the carpet, to your hands, furniture, face, you name it.  It makes its way absolutely everywhere and doesn’t give up easily. I know people who cringe at the sight of it.  Oh no, that crafty art project will have to stay behind.  I’ll never get rid of all that glitter.  My question is, why would you want to.  It’s so much fun.  Still,  for many it is left behind out of fear and the desire for perfection.  Perfect carpet.  Perfect furniture.  Perfect life.  



But life in all of its ups and downs is a profoundly messy thing.  Dirt falling from paws and the shedding of fur is as messy as glitter but I will never trade the joy of it for a perfect floor.  

Jack is my September puppy.  My juice box. My glitter.  

Three years ago Jack gazed at me with those warm brown eyes.  I gathered him up.  He didn’t squirm to get loose.  He didn’t try to chew on me.  He gently nuzzled into my neck as though he was home and had belonged there all along. He hardly moved at all, happy to  just be in my arms, as though he could finally rest.  Jack is mine. Or rather, I am his.  He chose me as surely as a preschooler chooses their favorite flavor of juice. I was helpless to resist. Such perfect precious innocence…

 Um, no. Precious, maybe. Perfect and innocent? No way.  Jack is the mess that sticks without glue.  How often do I shake my head and sigh – oh, jack. 



Jack is the reason I get up so early to write.  When he was a puppy he insisted with both voice and paw that I awaken early, as in 4:30 crazy early! I soon realized that he only wanted me to move to the den where he would settle in and return to sleep.  What is that about?!  Hmmm.  As long as I was up anyway I might as well make the best of it and write in the quiet hours before dawn.  

It is Jack who cornered the poor beaver.  It is Jack who steals the toys. It is Jack who will dig a hole to the center of the earth’s core.  It is Jack who knows all of the neighbors on a first name basis. It is Jack who whimpers in the hallway begging to be noticed.  It is Jack who will do his best Paul Bunyan impression trying to carry an entire tree branch, even if it’s only for a few feet.  It is Jack who sends Bo scurrying under the picnic table.  It is Jack who actually does the yoga pose downward facing dog.  It is Jack’s name that I call in the woods when I want all of my companions to come along.  It is strange indeed how all of the dogs come bounding in response to his name. It gives me a hearty smile.  It is Jack who can round up an entire herd of cows in under two minutes. That’s a real sight to see! It is Jack who is a little Casanova. 



It is Jack who greets me with an actual cry of delight when I return home after an absence.  Whether I’ve been away for 5 minutes or 5 hours makes no difference to him. He is overcome with joy that I am no longer invisible.  It is Jack who finds things, things that I didn’t even know were lost… Jack is my life changing juice box. Jack is my brilliant little mess that sticks to every part of my life with the tenacity of glitter.  I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Hidden in the heart of the messy places, the ones you least expect, there is where your joy is.  Life is a complicated adventure.  You cannot create one without a bit of bother and a touch of glue.  I will never trade a glittery mess for picture perfect.  It’s just not worth it.  Life is short.  Even when it’s long, it’s short.  Too short to be afraid of a juice box .  Too short not to take the glittery masterpiece home with you.  Embrace the mess…and let go of the rest.