To learn how to sit in the scary woods of the mind

Woods in fog

Woods in fog

“Do you really,” my good friend asked, “want to be an old woman who can’t remember things?  Do you really want to lose all your faculties?”

Sigh.  She had read my latest blog post.

“Ummm, no,” said I.  “If the Universe is asking, I would like to be completely healthy, happy and wise and live to a ripe old age with all faculties intact.”

“So just wondering–why did you say you wanted to be that other kind of old lady?  I mean, why did you put that out there? It’s like telling God that you want that.”

I adore my friend.  Just sayin’.  She’s the kind of person that exudes positive affirmations.  She’s always smiling.  She tapes positive sayings to her refrigerator.  Sayings that I love.  Sayings that really remind a person to stay on track, not to get lost in the foggy recesses of a fearful mind.

She had me scared for a couple seconds.  Yikes, did I just DO that?  Did I tell the Universe I wanted to lose all my faculties and memory, just to be radiant?  (Yes, Kathy, you did, even though it was under the guise of quoting the book Wild Comfort:  The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore.)

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Posted in December, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

I want to be that old woman.

Bleeding heart

Bleeding hearts

I am reading a book these gray December afternoons, breathing in toward the poetic words and out toward my own life’s reflections.  It’s called  Wild Comfort:  The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore.

It may not be allowed to share this paragraph with you due to copyright restraints, but I shall do so anyway until someone shakes their finger with a warning frown.  Perhaps, instead, you will scurry to your nearest book shop and purchase this book of nature essays yourself and read as 2017 births into new possibilities.

She writes:  The door to the woodstove squealed as Frank reached in to stir the fire.  I backed my soreness against its warmth.  I felt like an old woman, which would have been all right, except I was the wrong old woman.  When the time comes, I want to be the woman Hank wrote about.  She was a regular old plaid-jacketed Alaskan until she began losing her capacities.  She lost the ability to balance.  She lost access to her memories.  Her hair fell out.  One by one, the capacities we think are essential dropped away, until she was stripped of all conscious thought and intention, leaving only the transparency of her inner mind.  But what she had stored there, though all a lifetime, was radiant.  Hank says that when they sat together, watching rain roll down the window, what ballooned from her was glass-clear gladness.  That’s what she had left.  That’s what she had become.

Kathleen then writes:  How does a person do that?  This is what I need to know.



I don’t know, dear reader, if that’s what you want.  But that’s what I want.  So that when and if everything falls away–which someday it shall, perhaps with our dying breath–all that’s left is glass-clear gladness.  I wouldn’t even say gladness.  I would say shining awareness.  Pristine, compassionate, shining.  All-encompassing.  Radiant.

The world and our minds may try to rob us of that birthright of radiance, but it’s the essence of who we all are.  I do know that.  We can get so caught up and befuddled and confused in the ever-changing world that never ceases spinning something different.  But beneath it, our birthright exists.  The old woman knew that and when her mind left…the glass-clear gladness remained.

Posted in December, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

As the seasons turn…


The last time we saw Chippy in September

I am stopping by to say hello to this blogging world: Hello, Hello!

I am sorry to have seemingly deserted this rich and beautiful place, but it seems like the Universe (whom I hold dear and absolute) has alternate plans lately.

I am sorry to have not faithfully read your blog. And yours. And yours. I do not want you to think I don’t like you. It’s just that the Universe beckons elsewhere and like a smitten lover–I follow when the Universe points another direction.

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Posted in November 2016 | Tagged , , | 70 Comments

Living as gift

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Amazing leaf-gift from my friend, Catherine

I have been pondering the act of giving, and how we can live more as a gift to ourselves and others.  Instead of living in the commodity mode of exchange our culture fosters, how can I give of myself more steadily to others?

Is this even a goal of which to aspire?

Here is how I’ve been thinking about it.  Life itself is an amazing gift we’ve all been given.  If we’re alive and reading this sentence, we’re blessed with minutes and hours and days and perhaps years.  The earth gives so much to us: fat books with delicious stories, blueberry pies baked by a co-worker, smells of sweet grass in fields.  She gives us sunrises, sunsets and wild thunderstorms.

Just think of what she supplies, so graciously, oh it’s nothing.  Here’s breakfast, lunch and dinner and even a decadent red apple hanging oh-so-beautifully from that dappled tree. Here’s wood to keep warm, wind to blow your laundry dry, cool lakes to relieve that summer heat.

Dive in, enjoy all the gifts!

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Posted in July 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Feelin’ birthday blessings…



I am driving back home today along the shores of Lake Superior, thinking now of you and you and you. The car tires strum pavement, waves lap and seagulls wing overhead.

Have just spent almost a week with my mom downstate. It was a rather unexpected trip, not planned until the last minute. I wish I could spend more time with her. It was also a delight to see my brothers and their wives.

It has been a little more than six months since my dad passed.

And today, yes today, is my birthday, 59 years since Joanne and Dale gave birth to their first child, a baby girl.

I wasn’t planning to celebrate on social media and turned off the birthday setting on Facebook a couple weeks ago. I love birthday celebrations but am off line so much during the year at times that I miss wishing Happy birthday to so many others. So I thought–let’s just keep quiet this year, Kathy.

The Universe, however, had different plans and somehow the birthday wishes are singing on my cell phone and Facebook because the announcement is unexpectedly on anyway. It feels so warm and lovely.  I feel so blessed. (And the Universe is grinning ear-to-ear at its little joke.)

I will never forget that a Native American friend once shared that traditionally her people utilized birthdays as a time to give thanks for friends and family. Gifts were showered on others.

Therefore, I give thanks to you and you and you. Thank you for being in my world. You have enriched it with your presence.

P.S. The fawn pictures come from the farm where my dad grew up in the Thumb of Michigan. Mom and I were walking along Nostalgia Lane and glimpsed these two spotted babies.

P.S.S.  Mom, don’t worry–I am not reading birthday messages while driving!

P.S.S.S.  Even stranger than anything–WordPress tells me I published this on July 17th. Three days before my birthday!  Now the Universe is belly-laughing.


Posted in July, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

The medicine way

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The lupine grand finale?

On June 10th the lupine theater played for a full house.  They perfumed, awed, and colored the landscape extraordinarily.  We onlookers gushed at their purple, pink and white symphony and deeply inhaled their essence.  Their lupine-ness shined superb; never were the nature theater-goers more charmed. We silently applauded their beauty.

By July 3rd the producer shuttered the doors and declared the lupine show ended for the year.  But did the lupine show really end?  Or was it just beginning?

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Posted in July, 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments




Three hours and twenty minutes ago a poplar tree smashed against electrical wires on our road, ousting electricity for everyone.

The mothers, fathers and teenagers could no longer utilize their computers.  The kids lost access to iPads.  Toilets no longer flushed.  Water no longer ran freely and joyfully out the faucet.  The gas stove no longer lit without a match. Most of the telephones refused to ring, unless they remained hooked up to an old-fashioned rotary line.  The refrigerator ceased humming.  The dehumidifier?  Kaput.  The lights?  What lights? (Who needs ’em anyway, on this first day of summer, the longest day of the year?)

I sat cheerfully for the first hour or so, reading a book.  Then dusted and cleaned a shelf. Called my mom on the rotary phone to see what’s happenin’ down in Yale.  Lit the stove with a match and drank a cup of tea.  Went outside and watched the grass grow and the wind blow.

And then I felt that familiar nervousness…oh no…what the heck do I do NOW?

Oh my, oh my, that experience of becoming unplugged!  It showed me, once again, how dependent and sometimes addicted we can get to our modern technology.  We love our running water, our cold food, our flushing toilets, our blogs, our email, our Facebook, our telephones, our connection to the world, don’t we?

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Posted in June 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 71 Comments