Step Inside

“Enter when you will, take what you need, leave something of yourself when you go”

I have a friend I met over a bottle of scotch in a Brandywine Valley bed & breakfast some odd years ago who travels constantly and widely, sending me bits and pieces of the world as he goes. Each picture contains a sense of mystery, or surprising humor, and/or most likely the bicycle he rode in on.

I forget where he said he shot this wide planked shack. It is intriguing, don’t you agree? The sun and scattered leaves promise it is a bright, brisk day, yet, I wonder what musty odor fills your nose when you poke your head through the door, what scurrying varmint lives in the corners, what fingers grab your ankle once you cross the threshold and the heavy door slowly shuts out the light, the long, strong boards slide through the door handle locking  you inside…

… you go first…I am right behind you…


I am doing it today,

culling my books,

reducing my stacks and stacks

of unmet promises to read them all

and to save them from loss in some shredder.

Save the world one book at a time was my unspoken motto.

Damn the Nazis! You don’t burn books.


It is going well.

I’ve two large shopping bags full of familiar covers I never cracked.

Then there is the pile of gifts, all inscribed to me by I people I love.

Those are staying.

And the fairy tales, Celtic, Italian, Russian, Nordic Troll Tales;

those I’m keeping, but then again, will I ever read them again?

I’ve a sneaking suspicion that my idea to keep a stash of folk tales

and history books for my grandchildren to discover sometime in the future

when they’re packing up my stuff will not be quite the cool find they’re hoping for.

But they do know I am a book freak, so I am sure they’ll have an inkling that I’ve left them a message.

I cannot discard the dictionaries, hard cover and paperback; and that earmarked Roget’s Thesaurus? They don’t make them like that anymore. And that HUGE Rodale’s The Synonym Finder I bought after Renee Moffatt Thompson posted that she bought one…SO worth the buy. They don’t make men like J I Rodale anymore, either. Did you know he died while appearing on the Dick Cavett show? Literally died right there on the sofa. Yep.

Not letting these 1915 school geography books go…nor these two 1885 books of Mom’s advising good manners for wicked children.

The crumbling copy of Narcissus and Goldmund I bought in 1970 -Hesse caught the great angst of life, and the moment when Goldmund, who has charmed his way through life with his beautiful face, escaping the monastery, surviving the Black Plague, losing his beloved, attaining stature as an artist…that very moment when he looks into a mirror, and is shocked to see the face of an old man looking back at him…and he returns to the abbey to find Narcissus still high on himself. I’ve never forgotten that moment, and now, an old woman, have experienced that same shock in front of my own mirror.

All the other Hesse tomes, Siddhartha, Beneath the Wheel, The Glass Bead Game; all appealing to the pathos of my 18, 19, 20 year old mind and soul. I gave Wandering, along with small sketch book and travel sized charcoal pencils to a man I met online who was making a trek through Austria. I don’t know if he appreciated it, but I enjoyed the thought of him hiking from hostel to hostel, peak to peak, stopping to sketch the view and to comment on the topography, like Hesse as he started up the Alps lamenting that though he wished it were not true, he could never be like the farmer whose hut he captured in chalk. I should have kept that book, blast it.

Oh, I cannot discard Exodus by Leon Uris. The newspaper announcement of Ben Gurion’s death is folded in there. That stays. and this copy of The Elements of Style by Shrunk and White… gotta keep that…AND E B White’s This is New York…describing the moment that B-17 hit the Empire State Building, and he feared the war in Europe had arrived here.

SEE WHAT HAPPENS? I start with a firm purpose – to quickly clear my shelves, carry the sacks and boxes to the car, then drive faster than a rolling O to Good Will to leave them without looking back…

and I WILL…I will…

I just need to finish this one chapter, “Other Water Borders” in Mary Austin’s 1903 The Land of Little Rain…it just grabs me how she describes the murder of one rancher by another over water rights…”Jesus Montana…(contesting the right to the water from Tulle Creek with Amos Judson)…walked into five of Judson’s bullets and his eternal possessions on the same occasion.” Stark, absolute homicide without profanity or crass description, or pity. Imagine thinking like that to put it in writing…then reading it for the first time, gasping at the image.

I’ll keep this one on the shelf a while longer.

*** *** *** ***

Post Script: I AM loading up the car today with the few books I can bear to spare. I know, since the Universe detests a void, new books will soon fill the spaces…MWAHAHAAAA… oh, that reminds me, where IS that old copy of Tales of a Wayside Inn?


Just Ruminating on a Sunday Mornin’

I grew up going to Catholic School with Mass every morning, every Sunday – never did the Saturday evening “pre Sabbath” Mass…then I married a non-Catholic, so figured I was excommunicated, so I went to the Science of Mind church. Was married a second time in the Methodist Church, still went to church on Sundays, and sometimes Wednesday evening – joined some classes, committees. That faded to hit and miss attendance.
After my mastectomy in 2013 I went back to Mass every day for a year or two…even gave the priest palpations by going to Confession for the first time in 41 years…my list of sins was long and scandalous – he gave me three Hail Mary’s as my penance – somehow I was disappointed. Surely he should have made me scrub the Nave floor on my hands and knees.
Now it’s been years…I stopped into St. Frances Cabrini’s morning Mass one time since I’ve moved here…
I wonder where it goes, that urge to go to church. I know that I know that I know God Is and ever shall be, AND that He walks with me wherever I go. Have no interest in debating that… nor convincing anyone else about it…they’ll know in due time.
Just old, i guess… God knows…that’s enough…



The world is a-twitter

With slogans and glitter

‘bout how we must all save the planet.

They’re planning loud marches,

Hanging slogans from arches.

The anger grows huge as they fan it.

But in our fair land lives a different class

 Conservators living way out on the grass,

Nurturing the earth with the hooves of their herd.

Bison or buffalo, whichever you choose,

Living their lives with nothing to lose;

Grazing, and ranging, breaking up the curd.

Feet stroking prairie as once was the norm

Tilling the soil, cold weather and warm,

Ultimately saving earth and fine grasses.

Let the protestors prattle,

Decrying flatulence of cattle,

We shall hail the O’Briens with raised glasses!

(bet you thought I’d work in some asses)      HA

Roxanne Harrington

04/29/2021 my entry into the Wild Idea annual bison poetry contest


Shrieking early on,

then constantly through the day.

He wants out. Me, too.

Saturday, yet again

They have been saying it will snow for days now

Nothing yet

But there is that beautiful, exquisite, delicious, enveloping quiet

before the day begins and chores and trips to the library begin.


garden musing, 2021

I sold my garden in August, 2019. I have missed it.

It was a small, suburban garden across a corner of the front lawn. Nothing much; but I had built it up over twenty years to automatically die back in the fall only to triumphantly return with explosions of tulips and poppies and coreopsis, irises, peonies, and fragrant purple Angel Face roses. And daisies. And daylilies. And hollyhocks later in the summer thanks to the gift of seeds from a dear friend’s garden.

Audrey Hepburn is quoted as saying, “He who plants a garden believes in tomorrow.” Were I still living in the little house that sat on the lot with my garden, I would, this morning, be up early with my cup of coffee peering at the dead ground; searching for the tiniest tips of spring bulbs proving yet again that life cycles back. The woman who bought my garden, killed it. Covered it with black plastic and dead looking mulch. Now there is only the house, and it looks plain, and sad; suburban. To each her own, I guess, maybe she is allergic, but I like to think, because I know it will happen, that every year some resistant root will swell and tear through the plastic to make a run at claiming its right to bloom where it was planted. You cannot truly kill a garden, Missy <heh heh heh>.

As for me this morning, I found the tiniest green sprouts in the pots that line my balcony. Poppies! I tossed out the seeds earlier this year after a quick snow. And I am watching for the tulips buried in the potting soil to break through the surface. And then, when it’s warmer, I shall plant new daisies, and delphinium, and cosmos, and a few other perrennials, and a couple herbs in Anne’s honor, maybe even some hollyhocks, all of which will fill their spaces, die back in the fall, and rise again next year. The HOA has not idea I’ve started a new garden without permission.

I believe in the future!

Morning Prism Haiku

one tiny rainbow

JOY breaking and entering!

better than pancakes

I mean…duh…

But I brought it out during the day

whenever I needed a smile.


Rainbow Haiku

A one inch rainbow

Joy – breaking and entering

My whole day is made.

Saturday Morning Chores

My mother stopped in to visit just now. Yes, yes…I know she died in 2011, but there is no other way to explain why I suddenly felt the need to polish the top and front of my washing machine…I mean, only Mom did that… probably everyday…and I was just walking by, not in cleaning mode…I just had a thought that it wouldn’t take much time to just do it…and, yes, Ma, I do feel better now it is done. and yes, I know I should polish the stove next…after my shower, okay?

WORDS to ponder

I studied Science of Mind principles for fourteen years of my life. Early on we spent time replacing commonly used words with other similar words..y’know, to change your thinking. For instance, I stopped using the word obey, replacing it with comply. Compliance seemed to imply consent, choice. Obedience implied no choice, and a mean s.o.b. I chose to forget the word obedience. Long time ago…

If you listen to this new age of politicians and their minions, you will hear word swapping daily… We no longer have hunger in our country, we have food insecurity. We no longer strive for equality, we desire equity. We call the legal right to abortion reproductive health care. There are other examples. I am making a list. It is interesting to hear the subtleties of attempts at world wide mind control. It is frightening to see them take hold.

Change your words, change your life…and often you cheapen it.



I just want a blessed Cheeseburger and fries and a side salad with bleu cheese dressing and a fountain drink with only a little ice, or maybe a Moscow mule, or maybe a hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps brought to my table by someone I’ll be more than happy to tip…and then I’ll consider dessert, yes, I’ll have that… and we friends will sit talking away while the cook cooks it, and we’ll listen and maybe even sing along with the moldy old Motown songs playing the background… and laugh at stupid jokes…Just a burger served to me …maybe sauteed mushrooms, a sour pickle, a red onion slice… Yes, Yes, I have all those ingredients in my fridge here at home…but I don’t wanna cook… wahhhh… I want someone to distract me…and no, I don’t want to go to someone’s house, I want to go OUT…to a RESTAURANT where everybody knows my face, if not my name.

So, I think, McDonalds or Arbys…but noooooo, the lines are 15 cars long…. eeeeerrgggh

and, Lord, I don’t want to go to King Soopers to see that blessed beggar who stands at the stop light wearing his warm down jacket and new boots, and holding a sign saying times are hard, anything would help, flashing me a smile and a peace sign every blasted time he’s there…or his wife, and their baby in its stroller stand out there… I figure they get $20/hour standing out there for 8 hours, they’re making over $40,000 a year…for standing there looking pathetic… gad… guilt pays those who milk it… Get that baby inside someplace warm!

And THEN I pull into my garage and my neighbor lady is just trying to take out her trash, and some jackass who probably doesn’t even live here or pay HOA fees that cover our trash pick up brought the flipping box for his new 51 inch television and plopped it in front of our giant trash bin, blocking our reach…so we pushed that box out of the way, only to find that the bugger had filled our trash bin, which was emptied Friday afternoon, to the top so that there was nowhere for her to put her trash bag except on the ground where surely the wretched squirrels will tear into it and have a feast, strewing what they don’t like on the ground for other critters to sort through…right next to my garage door… mmm hmmm

So, Lord, how is YOUR four hundred fifty thousandth day of pandemic isolation? What’s that? You’re keeping busy? Well, just don’t tell me to get over it and hold my head up and dream big and remember the starving children in China… I don’t wanna just now…