Sunday, March 31, 2013

one thousand times

This is 7 years and 1,000 times.

This is, was, is an outlet for thought, word and image. At one time, maybe two, I believed the reason and content was for you.

I was mistaken.

It has only and ever been for me.

It has been an outlet for sanity maintenance and a blank canvas for creativity I could  not hold back. It has been a personal interpretation and a trying-to-make-sense of this world and this life. It has been a quilt of 999 squares, today 1,000, of love and loss and love again.

You have told me at times my interpretation and sense-making has resonated with you, spoken for you, and for that my heart is glad.

I have found solace and jubilation and kinship through the magnetism of word and image made public. All of it has changed my life for the better. All of it has kept my focus on life's simple demand~ know thyself and all else becomes known.

The quilt continues. There is more to discover and create. Love moves ever forward.

{7 years ago, a very nervous start.}
{The top of my short list of favorites}

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Despite everything; the sorrow of others and my own long winter, the season of quiet renewal has begun. Nature, my favorite mentor and companion, has taken me by the hand and lifted my eyes from burial grounds to half way up the sky.

They are coming for me, the messenger birds, one or two at a time. Last March, the singular, swooping bat in my basement announced the prophecy of my year. This March, it is the eagle, the distinguished timing of witnessing the seconds-long mating of red tail hawks, and yesterday, the king fisher on a wire, nowhere near water, that called out to me a mile before she came into view.

It is going to be a different year. At the funeral of a friend, the minister spoke of ever-deepening grief and the promise that the Creator of All Things will indeed lead us back to joy. The messenger birds tell me to believe him.

I do.

Because the late day sun cast a golden sheen on my cluttered kitchen table and for the first time in countless months, I saw art in the lit disarray. I unearthed my camera, bent close and felt my lungs expand.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The year of grief ripples on. Winter extends itself to the doorstep of spring, keeping me tucked inside.

The spikes of sorrow have softened, yet unlooked-for signs and reminders throw themselves down in my path, returning my eyes to damp.

Another relation, newly diagnosed, and a friend who lost his long battle not 48 hours ago hold the return to joy firmly at bay.

That is perhaps the cruelest subtlety of grief~ the doubt and illusion it imparts that joy will never be found and felt again, that air and color will forever remain subdued.

The birds of spring are returning, but not yet for me. The healing crows are still standing guard.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

50 Movies (not even close)

I'm not that much of a movie-goer, even less a stay-at-home movie watcher. I own all of 3. So, when Kelly proclaimed the next list of "50" in her year-long celebration of all things fifty, I doubted I could join in. Add to that my favorite movie partner died last August, and the list of viable favorites, especially current, felt thin. Very thin.

Or so I thought.

When I put my mind to it, I suddenly remembered beautiful films from long ago and treasured memories of having shared some fairly recent ones. I could not, however, come close to 50.

Regardless, it was an exercise in delight and warmth to remember how much I liked each of these stories. The top 3 are the top 3. Emma Thompson is hands down my favorite actress. I have no true favorite actor, although I have been known to idolize the brilliance of Viggo Mortensen. I like foreign films and fabulous costumes. I like to be made to think, and I abhor violence and suspense. Apocalypse Now and The Exorcist ruined me. Disney and Pixar make me happy.

1. The Return Of The King~ I am no man...
2. The Remains of The Day
3. Dead Poets Society~ Oh, Captain, my Captain...
4. Sense and Sensibility
5. Howard's End
6. Cinema Paradiso
7. The King's Speech~ that tattered, gorgeous wall...
8. Life is Beautiful~ the gift of bravery
9. The Piano
10. Being There
11. Toy Story I & II~ I have never laughed harder...
12. Harold and Maude
13. Witness
14. Chocolat
15. Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
16. Shine
17. Carrington~ the home as canvas...
18. The Fisher King
19. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
20. Benny and Joon
21. Amelie
22. Shrek
23. Billy Elliot
24. Wit
25. American Beauty
26. Groundhog Day
27. The Help
28. Terms of Endearment~ Shirley...
29. Slumdog Millionaire
30. A Beautiful Mind
31. Saturday Night Fever~ the Bee Gees rule...
32. Dr. Zhivago~ my Mother's most favorite film and the theme song of my childhood...

What are your favorites? Here are Kelly's and Debi's.

Monday, March 04, 2013

50 Books (well, almost)

Back in January, Kelly and Debi gave their lists of the 50 most beloved books they have read thus far. I knew I wanted to create a list, as well. I've spent the better part of the winter reading, books having always been my drug of choice. But it's taken me some time to put my list together. And in the end, I can only come up with 45 that hold a place of reverence. With my current appetite for literary brilliance, I have little doubt the next 5 slots will be filled by years' end.

Some titles are fiction, some are not. Some are meant for adults, some for children. The top 10 are the top 10 as of this moment. The rest could not be put in any specific order, all holding a unique reigning place. I finished State Of Wonder just yesterday and cannot rave about it enough. The descriptive language is stunning. I plan on putting the book under my pillow in hopes of becoming a better writer.

If you have a list of your own, I'd love to see it. If you don't have a blog, why not share it on Facebook? We could all use the inspiration and I'm always looking for my next fix.

1.      A Return To Love~ Marianne Williamson
2.      Olive Kitteridge~ Elizabeth Strout
3.      The Celestine Prophecy~ James Redfield
4.      State of Wonder~ Ann Patchett
5.      The Hobbit~ JRR Tolkien
6.      Charlotte’s Web~ EB White
7.      What Dreams May Come~ Richard Matheson
8.      The Secret Life Of Bees~ Sue Monk Kidd
9.      The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle~ David Wroblewski
10.  Watership Down~ Richard Adams
11.  Jane Eyre~ Charlotte Bronte
12.  The Postmistress~ Sarah Blake
13.  The Kite Runner~ Khaled Hosseini
14.  A Thousand Splendid Suns~ Khaled Hosseini
15.  Water For Elephants~ Sara Gruen
16.  Snowflower and the Secret Fan~ Lisa See
17.  Life Of Pi~ Yann Martel
18.  Nine Faces of Christ~ Eugene Whitworth
19.  The Joy Luck Club~ Amy Tan
20.  Love In the Time Of Cholera~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
21.  The Book Thief~ Markus Zusak
22.  On The Banks Of Plum Creek~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
23.  Elegance Of The Hedgehog~ Muriel Barberry
24.  Like Water For Chocolate~ Laura Esquivel
25.  Gift From The Sea~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
26.  Stones From The River~ Ursla Hegi
27.  The Tomten and the Fox~ Astrid Lindgren
28.  The Four Agreements~ Don Miguel Ruiz
29.  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn~ Betty Smith
30.  Mists of Avalon~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
31.  The World Is Flat~ Thomas Friedman
32.  Alice In Wonderland~ Lewis Carroll
33.  Thirteen Original Clan Mothers~ Jamie Sams
34.  The Giving Tree~ Shel Silverstein
35.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society~ M. Schaffer and A. Barrows
36.  The Bastard Of Istanbul~ Elif Shafak
37.  Outlander (Series)~ Diana Gabaldon
38.  East Of The Sun~ Julia Gregson
39.  The Art of Racing In The Rain~ Garth Stein
40.  Sarah’s Key~ Tatiana de Rosnay
41.  Harry Potter(series)~ JK Rowling
42.  Brida~ Paulo Coelho
43.  Our Lady of the Forest~ David Guterson
44.  The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox~ Maggie O’Farrell
45.  As A Man Thinketh~ James Allen

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Not Yet

There is small snow racing and swirling its way to the ground. I can see it through the tiny, lace-free squares of the lace curtain. I would rather it be sunshine flooding the space of those tiny squares. I would rather it be warm enough not to snow.

I am getting ahead of myself with wishes of spring and a convictionless impulse to flip open the latch of my invisible restraint. These times of quiet have left me with a smaller sense of wonder and smaller known purpose. I am restless and drained all at once, waiting for spark, for daffodils, for life renewed.

But the season says no, not yet. There is more to contemplate and idle healing to be had, more looking in than out. Hurry is not the way. Great shifts need great foundations. And so the snow, small and meaningful, swirls.

In the quiet, I can hear the daffodils begin to wake.