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I spent a few hours, actually only minutes, remembering and reliving things that crushed my heart these past few years…the tears flowed, the breath caught in my chest…BUT I just cannot do it for long…I cannot dwell on loss and betrayal, sickness and what follows…I cannot do it and still see the sun, catch the humor in an oft repeated knock-knock joke, taste the salt in the caramel…so much is lost reliving the past…so I pulled them out, but very soon put them back in their respective boxes and will now shower, dress and attack the blessed puzzle on my coffee table before lunch with good friends. Let your hearts be glad, m’dears…it’s easier and sweeter that way…


So, rather than listen to the shrieking voices of callers and hosts on the radio talk shows I listen to while reviewing loan files (the sky is not falling, my darlings, unless you let it), today I decided to listen to the first of twelve CDs accompanying my ‘Becoming a Great Essayist” class from The Great Courses. Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black grabbed me in the introduction by suggesting that a recipe could be the basis for a food essay…immediately my mind started wandering between the loan I was approving, and the old recipes I have on hand, and I became bored with the effort of the good professor to present an interesting lecture. I am not saying she does a bad job, but I realized she was reading her lecture, as in dramatic reading, with sighs and pregnant pauses designed to grab your interest and transfer the emotion of Virginia Wolff haunting London, or clarify her own emotion in writing an essay about her unfashionable, but wonderful, brilliant and scholarly mother. I realized that, like my grandchildren, when someone reads to me, I want to grab the page and read it for myself, putting my own intonations where/if necessary. I wondered what listening to the good professor in a classroom would be like. Would she speak more naturally? Does she speak this way normally? Does her whole family measure their words so carefully? How many times did she re-record this, making certain her voice was smooth and pleasant? I must say, she is certainly more interesting to listen to than Barbara Kingsolver droning through one of her books on tape.
It shall be a good course. I’m already wrestling with the professor, HA. And now to find those recipes.


I do not dismiss the grief and shame

you have spent years facing

I understand whence they come

I am your witness

I bear witness to the horror

Believe it

or not

I have an idea


watching your struggle

the incessant





I suggest that your obsession with it all

is more damaging

more debilitating

imprisons your battered heart

enslaves your shattered mind


than the horrible events themselves

I agree

you cannot ignore

you cannot forget

certainly not forgive

certainly not

I believe


you can break its hold

control its influence

box it up


compartmentalize it

allow yourself a few minutes

now and then

to wallow

then put it away

where you can readily find it

then get back to life


or not

“Get back to where you once belonged…”

one step at a time, eh?


I am kept ever humble…

whilst tearing out  errant vinca vines from out the front garden, I reached down to pull up my sagging socks, only to realize ’twas the skin round my ankles drooping there


I see you bindweed

riding Virginia Creeper

across the back wall.

Do not even think

I will allow you to stay,

after all the hail.





My word, her whisper startled me!

as did the closeness of her eyes magnified by my readers!

“I simply have to share this with you, ” words breathed in utter confidence.

I nod, trying to place her.

“I love to crochet…and I love all the crochet magazines, not just this one I’m holding.”

“uh hunh.”

I cannot back up since we are so close to the counter…

“Well, it is the same every month, every month, in every magazine, see?

She holds it open to me, tapered fingers sliding down the spine,

“See?”  dark eyes boring holes in mine.

I do.

I see it!

Someone has torn out an entire section of an article!

Someone has had the nerve to rip apart a library magazine, stealing the patterns, no doubt about it.  Slight panic…I dart a look back into her eyes, trying to remember if I had done it.  Then I remembered I don’t crochet, so…

“I’m going to tell this librarian over here right now.  I’m going to tell her.”

I nodded,

“good idea,”

slowly inched away, gathered my books, then hurried out the door, barely waiting for the automatic door to open… I do not know which librarian she nabbed.

“Ma’am,” she whispered, “I love to crochet…”


Why were all the screens

on all the big houses

backing to the open space

fluttering like delicate lace curtains

in the mid-day hot breeze?

Every screen on every house.

Then it dawned on me.

The hail shredded them ALL.



I cannot see it, but

somewhere nearby stands a cottonwood

with rustling, sparkling leaves,

deep, spreading roots,

long, rough barked branches

and  cotton snow

drifting through the air,

sticking to bricks on the front porch,

attaching to the back umbrella,

floating atop the sprinkler water filling the morning gutters,

catching in my hair,

packing into the corners of those screens not shredded by the recent hail,

and clogging drains,

clogging nostrils,

clogging the breath of all those allergic

to the simple things of Spring.





As I recall,

the air was cool

and clear,

and filled

with every songbird on earth

singing Halelujah,

and I thought

to step out

onto the treetops

to walk amongst the angels.




There has been no snow for over ten days


Neighbors have pulled chairs to driveways

Facing the sun, chins up, eyes closed –

Lizards soaking up warmth.


Anyone seen Jeannie walking Chanel?

or Sonya with wiggling Murphy?

We really need to have a potluck on our front lawns.


Hold those thoughts!

It snowed again!

Everyone back to the caves!