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Traveling west,
Into the warmth of
Setting sun,
Crisp blue sky
Opening a new
Horizon, a new
Dream to sing,
And then the
Glow of gentle gold
Captures my gaze;
I realize the
Late summer grass
Is more than
Just green...

A Winter Poem Finished on a Hot Summer Day

It's been quite a while since I've visited LiveJournal. During the winter and spring I struggled with my energy as I bid farewell to my brother, Mike, as he struggled with Stage IV lung cancer. I found myself sleeping an average of 10 hours a night, and still felt exhausted. I was still feeling the exhaustion during Oasis, but my time there provided the nurturing I needed to heal and re-energize.

This is my round-about way of introducing a poem called, "Winter Dream". It was started shortly before we all learned of Mike's illness, and now on an exceedingly hot summer day I finished it.

Solitary pine reaching,
Reaching long into deep night,
And the Moon rising full,
Full of promises and dreams;
Her gentle light awakening
The pine's nocturnal shadow
To shimmer and stretch,
Dancing over crystalline snow.

Within that shadow,
My questing eyes see
A gateway spiraling,
Calling, calling to me,
Singing into my soul,
Answered by a whisper within,
With only a breath
A journey may begin.

A beautiful day!

Ah! I believe that is sunshine I am seeing, as well as some blue sky! Is Spring returning? I do actually enjoy gray cloudy skies and listening to the wind sing, but after several days of gray, gray and more gray it's so lovely to see blue again! I think the birds are agreeing with me. There seems to be increased activity in the yard with grackles and finches all making a joyful noise together. And, then a funny sight that I had to go to the window for a closer look: a blue jay hopping around on the ground near the back of the yard. Now a mourning dove has strolled along a branch of the maple tree and has found a perfect spot to settle, and keep an eye on the boisterous grackles.

It's been a quiet day for me, and so I found some time to settle in at my desk to finish a poem I started a little over a month ago.


beyond the parking lots,
beyond the concrete roadways,
beyond the city's harsh intrusive glare,
beyond, the Moon rises.
The Moon rises and begins her journey
across the black expanse of deepening night,
Her round fullness gently radiates,
blessing hills and streams,
shadowed woods and open meadows,
illuminating all with her silver light.

And somewhere,
beyond these stifling walls,
the freshening nocturnal breezes
whisper, dance, murmur and swirl
through shadowed woods and misted meadows,
across the wandering streams,
around and through the rolling hills,
inviting those who hear,
"Come, come and dance,"
dance with the unfettered wind,
dance within the grace
of Luna's radiant sphere.

And far from home I am tonight,
I listen to the sweet wild call
of Moon and wind,
the wooded hills, the grassy meadows;
I treasure this song within my heart,
and long to fly,
to sing in answer...

And that's that. This poem was started when I awoke in the middle night, unable to stay asleep in a Missouri motel. If I had been home I could have stepped outside and lifted my face up to Luna's glow.

Sunshine, Tiredness and A New Poem

Today I feel tired or perhaps I should say I feel "whupped". The sun is shining, there's a gentle breeze....and my knees hurt and I want to nap. I can explain the tiredness, though; yesterday was spent shopping in Geneva with good friends. Wonderful shopping, the kind of shopping that is truly fun: spices, crystals, olive oils and balsamic vinegars, wine tasting and completing the day with chocolate fondue sharing. (And, yes, I brought home spices, Persian lime olive oil and tangerine balsamic vinegar and a beautiful piece of black kyanite for Doug.)

Trying to remember to be kind to myself is a challenge. Trying to find the right balance in exertion and listening to my body is a challenge. So, today I will accomplish a few things; laundry will be done and so far I have brought one garbage bag full of basement clutter up to the trash bin. There's room for one more bag, and I'm hoping I'll manage to bring that up, too. It may be one bag at a time, but eventually I will get the basement decluttered!

Oh, and I did write "A New Poem", also. I started this one on the night of my mother's birthday and finished it a couple days ago.

What Dreams?

I step out, through and beyond the red door,
I step out, into the crisp almost Spring air,
I step out, into the deep hushed darkness,
Then step further, out into a gentle glow,
And gaze up...up into an inexpressible beauty,
The stars casting a pure brilliance
Out, out into the everlasting sky,

And the moon is settling into the west,
A shimmering pearl, a luminescent bowl...
I gaze up, breathing in the moonglow,
Searching, wondering what dreams
Are being born here... within... this aire tonight...

Imbolc Moon

Cradled within the Womb,
Within the blessed dark,
Within the maze of winter dream
The seed of hope is nurtured.
Within the glow of New Moon spark,
Within bright Luna's crescent gleam
The seed of hope is nurtured.
Within the lonesome owl call,
Within the west wind's whisper
The seed of hope is nurtured.
Within the still pool's draw,
Within the ever flowing river
The seed of hope is nurtured.

Cradled within the Womb,
Within the blessed dark...
Within...the seed of hope is nurtured.


And that's that; this was started over a year ago. I'm still not sure it's finished.

It's late and I'm tired. Today's errands took a bit longer than planned because I decided to go visit my brother. He was a grumbly lion today....or perhaps a grumbly bear; he is a Leo, but with his dark hair and furriness he resembles a bear more than a lion. And I find myself unsure about what to say to him. What do you say to someone who's been told he may not live another year? So we reminisce about childhood days, about Mom and Dad and the grandparents. And perhaps that is what he needs to hear right now. I just don't know.

A Mortality Reminder And Life Goes On

Yesterday I was pushing a grocery cart through the snow and ice debris of a parking lot when I received a call on my cell phone that I was somewhat expecting, but still hoping that I wouldn't. The caller was one of my sisters and I asked her if I could call back as soon as bags were loaded in the car. When I called her back she confirmed my uneasy concern: our brother had been told that, yes, he does have lung cancer. Later calls from my sister-in-law filled in the details; the cancer has been detected fairly early and surgery is scheduled for Monday.

My brother, Mike, is a short burly man who could easily pass for a 19th century north woods lumberjack. (There are such men not too far in the past of our genealogy.) And he's always seemed healthy and strong. He's also almost eight years younger than me. All my siblings are younger than me and so I've had the expectation that it would be quite a few years before we would have to deal with the issue of serious illnesses.

Mike also has a wicked sense of humor, and a strong determination to be a survivor. I'm hoping that we'll still have years of comparing our moments of bird watching in our yards. Later today I'll visit him in the hospital, and most of our conversation will probably be chit-chat about little every day occurrences. Life does go on....

Life goes on, and I am (still) continuing to write. This was finished (I hope) this morning.


I wonder...I wonder...
I wonder as I ...
Wait! Ah, breathe and a sigh.

I wander in my dreams,
I wander through the whispering woods,
Through meadows sweet with April growth,
By trilling, giggly little streams,
And past rivers rippling slow under
The August sun's burnished glow.

I wander in my life,
I wander through the seasons' flow,
Through the dancing spiral of time,
By moments of possibilities and hopes,
And past memories of love shared,
Contentment settles within my soul.

I wonder...
Ah, my mind wanders
In fresh morning breezes,
In mid-day's radiant lull,
In twilight's gentle passing
Into a deep night's dreaming...
I wander...

Morning Thoughts and a Poem

I haven't posted here at all for quite a while. The words do not come as easily as before, and I find myself focusing more on nesting. Doug and I have lived together now for almost five years, and I am still working on combining the two households. There are cabinets in the kitchen that are doorways to goodness knows what and I don't even want to think about the basement with its towers of bins. (The fact that a couple offspring have decided that our basement is "Storage-R-Us" doesn't help. Neither does the fact that "X3" left 20 years of material memories behind on shelves and in corners.)

Yesterday I placed a new poem in my journal, and as I did so I looked through the previous entries. In 2010 I wrote exactly two poems! Arrrgggh! This is not what I imagined for retirement. On my last day of work I had visions of writing, writing, writing, and long rambles through meadows, prairies and woods in the days to come. I've found, though, that I do not have the energy I once had, not even the energy of ten years ago. Too often I find that after a couple hours of housework I'm ready to call it a day and curl up on the couch, usually with a book in hand. And so I read, and I nap.

I do still get out in the woods, but the rambles are slower and not as frequent. I am beginning to realize that our back yard can provide me with ideas and stories. And, so here is a poem, a story whispered by the lone tall pine at the corner of our yard.

Shadow of a Pine

The owl calls,
Shadows whisper;
There is a world
beneath, within
this solitary pine.
The possum knows
the shadowed world
as does the fox;
mourning doves find
refuge and home
within the verdant boughs.

The shadow of the pine
may be dark,
and, yet it welcomes…
darkness within to pause,
pause and find
a quiet peace,
a moment to breathe.
And, then….
then the possum scurries,
the fox renews his hunt,
and the mourning doves glide
out of the shadows,
into morning light.

The shadow world
of the pine remains,
its darkness
continues to welcome
the dance of life,
a quiet refuge
within its boughs.

Ostara Thoughts

Last Saturday, as I prepared for a class on Vernal Equinox traditions and customs my father-in-law was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital. Information was sketchy. We had spoken to both of Doug's parents that morning, but by early afternoon we received a phone call from a sister in Texas telling us that Dad had stopped breathing. A short while later we received an update: the paramedics had been able to get his heart going again, and he was in CCU. Doug decided to wait, give the hospital staff time to get his father settled in, and I went to Cleo's to teach the class.

It was a small class, attended by folks I know, and we lit a candle for Doug's dad. We then reviewed the information I had gathered, discussed the small altar I had arranged (pictured above) and then finished with a vernal meditation. All the while, though, I was mindful of the continuing cycle of life; I was discussing the rebirth of Spring-time while my father-in-law was near to death.

He has been ill for a very long time; twenty years ago a cardiologist told him that his life expectancy was five more years. During the past year everyone in the family could tell that his health was failing. When Doug's mother found him not breathing on Saturday morning, she panicked and the paramedics were called. Upon arriving at the hospital we found that what was keeping his body going were the machines. Neither Doug or I could feel his presence in the room. Still, tests had to be done, and it was Tuesday before the decision to "unplug" was made.

He died five minutes later surrounded by his wife, two daughters, his son and a granddaughter.

So, during this time of awakening life our family has been dealing with the details of death and burial. Yesterday morning we followed the hearse to a small country cemetery; there's a church next door and cows across the road. On two sides of the cemetery corn fields stretch to the horizon. It was a small private service, and as I walked to the grave site I spotted a robin perched on a nearby tombstone. The robin was singing a good morning- welcome spring song, and was answered by another robin. A beautiful early Spring morning, and I remembered something that Angie has reminded us many times, "To breathe in, is to live; to breathe out is to die."

A Winter's Walk

Blue silk winter sky,
Woodpecker greets me, beckons,
Come, walk! Walk and dream!

And that's that....still feeling quiet, the presence of words noticeably sparse. Even so, the above words came to me as I was finishing a walk on this beautiful winter day. Now, after the walk, and the previous activity of housecleaning, mind and body are calling for rest. Not only feeling quiet, but incredibly exhausted.

Still Feeling Quiet

Yes, I am. I am feeling quiet, and trying to make peace with the silence I have been feeling.

I do want to share an afternoon experience and will do so with simple words. As I was arriving within the neighborhood I noticed a deer crossing the street, and then realized that she was one of half a dozen. The others had already crossed and were gathered between a house and remaining woods. Continuing down the street I turned the corner, and was looking into the magnificent beauty of the red orange setting sun. Both: blessings of beauty.