Tuesday, January 9, 2018

this winter

chill has set in
we look for warmth where we can find it
curled up on the sofa with thick socks
and hot tea
something to read 
words to roam over
distracted by the settling
of our creaking house
that moans with its subtle moves

the fire in the furnace needs tending
but it's worth the effort 
to heat these wide boards
with creases filled with dust
and the dribbles 
that move over them
they drink the lives that settle in
and hear the laughter and angst
accept the daily clamor
and scattered mismatched rugs

we think of stews and soups and pies that
sit heavy in our bellies
with beef and broths
chops from the local butcher
peppered, seared
absorbing the juices
capered and lemony
gatherings at the wide table
local talk and plans for warmer days
or places

deep and longer sleep
between flannel sheets
and heavy quilts
always with a window open
to smell the dark and the moon
rising in clear skies sparkled with stars
that wink
sometimes I walk outside and stand in my stockinged feet
and just breathe this valley 
wood smoke
and generations 
settle in 
light snow falls
and there is no sound
not even a shoosh
when it touches the ground

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The bird that swooped down in front of the car ahead of me the other day didn't stand a chance
My first impulse was to swerve
All I saw was tangled black and white matted feathers dropping in a straight line
I felt a responsibility to it
But before I could fully brake I wondered, "What?"
Could I see myself rescuing this tattered pile, scooping it up in my hands and trying to sort out a place to put it in my car that would allow it to be unencumbered, to possibly fly once it got its bearings and shook off the shock of impact?
There was no place to pull over and my head was already filled with what was left of a day
Conversations filled with riddles
Plenty of placating ( a type of rescuing for sure)
There was nothing there when I looked in the rear view mirror which was a relief
and the car in front was long gone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It’s hard to believe that Grammy left this world nine years ago, today. I remember hearing the news and to keep from crying, I laughed instead, thinking. ‘She always had a sense of humor.’

Having a birthday that falls three days after Valentine’s Day, it as though there’s a time stamp engraved into my memory. I turned twenty-five the day of her funeral, and it was an experience which ultimately changed the course of my life.

After her passing, I swore I would be more thoughtful with the choices I made. Losing her made me realize that life was way too short to not always be pursuing the things that bring me joy. My grandmother, without her ever knowing her influence, taught me to take risks and to be unapologetic when it comes to protecting the things that mean the most.

My heart, for example, was a topic that was of much concern to her, as I grew from a child, into a teenager, and later a young woman. Like any motherly figure, she wanted to be sure I had a person in my life who would cherish my heart. Part of her too, I’m sure, was always afraid of that young man who would eventually break my heart.

What I wish I could share with her today is that even though I did at times know what a broken heart felt like, it was the strength she instilled in me that helped me to keep on. And in times of utter doubt, she was always the guiding force that gave me faith.

I know beyond anything that she would’ve adored my partner Nick. A man so kind and gentle with my heart, I sometimes like to think he was the man she imagined for me so long ago, when I was just a giggling little girl.

As she requested at the end of her life, we spread her ashes in Silver Lake; a place where our family loves to spend time in the summers. Though she hated knowing there would be so much she would miss, what brought her peace was that her spirit would inhabit a place we would often return to, and that in a way, she would always be right there with us when we would go for a swim or have a picnic. That’s why when Nick and I decided to get married, we couldn’t think of a better place to have our ceremony than Silver Lake.

It will be such an honor to marry my partner and friend this July, surrounded by our closest loved ones. And I know my grandmother will certainly be smiling upon us that day with her own blessings...

Happy Valentine's Day, 
Norma Lenore.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Monday's Walk

I am buried under layers 
sweater, neck warmer, vest
wool and warm
thick socks squeeze my ankles
inside my gray boots laced up to the knee
with soggy mittens I paw at my
ill fitting cap
stretched out, misshapen and slipping over one eye then the other
We walk fast through the snow crunching through the top layer
Up hill and winded
I grab hold of lean trees 
Pissing and moaning under my breath that I just want to take a walk
Branches swack my head as you push through the growth
ahead of me 
wet whips with clinging leaves or stunted limbs
I am self conscious of how often I need to stop
because my legs get ragged feel like they are flapping

 The town gets smaller
white and brick houses get blurry  the church steeple and court house well below us
 the smell of pine lots and wood fire smoke spouting from chimneys in
slow motion then held in the crisp air that fogs with our breath 
and steams from sweat
sometimes we find ourselves on
paths well worn
tracked by deer and skittering voles
We guess that some are made by squirrels
Rabbits are easier, their hind legs dragging give them away

We take just a moment to look out before heading
 down, heels first through ledges made deeper by fallen trees
delicate dance so as not to get tangled
we make our way
 along the river where the water rushes under
crusty mounds, like fragile glass 
delicate swirls around glazed rocks
mist rises
Then up and over the bank to the wooden foot bridge
with snow piled on the sides and rails
It falls silently, slowly 
with each step and vibration

We make our way to the ball field which is untouched, 
a pale quilt
smooth with soft snow shooshing across
what is frozen
once across
we slip out of our snowshoes
to walk home on a familiar road
over the crumbling bridge that rumbles when
the log trucks roll by
we wave back at friendly strangers
and neighbors
under a late day sky 
washed in grays and blues
buttery light fades 
from our quiet valley

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It is winter
Not because the air is colder,
or the days shorter,
the morning commute slower
and slippery,
sloshing on single lane roads,
in early gray, blue light that looks like the entrance to heaven
when straight rays reach from the heavy clouds
and I feel I should say an "Amen" and take a moment to ask for direction for the day
I pray for patience and understanding
and the right words while
heading due north
behind yellow school buses
and weighted pick ups with
logs shifting side to side
with each bend in the road
carefully, and old drivers heading to their morning appointments
cigarette smoke swirling from the crack in the window
slow creaking neck turns side to side
merciless braking
then end of day
quieter, smoother ride home under silhouettes of creaking trees
wild turkeys huddled on the new crunchy snow the ground
is not quite ready to receive
I shiver just looking at them
dark and lost
Once home
opening the door
to the wood heat blast and the smell of 
bacon cooked late morning
after Tim's routine of coffee and reading,
and a handful of vitamins
Lights on 
and changing clothes fast
tugging on boots
wrapping our necks
for a walk 
catching the last light from the top of the village,
washes of pale yellow light and gray that soften my heart
which is sometimes heavy from the day
our fingers twist together through wool gloves
as we look out, trying to
catch our breath
in the night air

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I am the mother of three daughters
Who astonish me at every turn
They are smart and poised
filled with joy
and fearlessness
they amaze me
all the time
Take my breath away
with the art they create
They are writers and painters
God, how they love to dance
every day people
grounded by their experiences
hard workers, such freakin' hard  workers

introspective and with extraordinary perspective
journeying forward 
committed to doing good things
acknowledging others who struggle
looking them clear in the eye
and reaching out to lift up
being kind and thoughtful
loving their lives
appreciative of the gifts that surround them to include 
big love
Oh my I am so proud to be
your mother
so pleased to know such lovely women
love love love holdng your hands
when we walk together.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It's All Uphill

when I lose my footing I understand it is a reminder
to find the right shoes
aimless and wandering is fine if you have boots
or a paddle to move through water pushed by wind
it becomes important to pay attention
to the moon's rising
and light
long shadows cast
so people can see you coming
or going
it's hard to know what sound to make
when you are just about to pass them.