Sometimes, a writer just needs to flex her muscles, so to speak. This piece was that opportunity for me. What is the sound of spring? What is the feel of her? I had fun! Shaping words to life is a beautiful pastime. Hope you enjoy!
Out on the prairie, over the hill, Spring screamed herself raw - shrieked like a wild, untamed thing, a banshee - and finally sailed into the valley and set the shutters banging on the close, huddled houses, so that the townspeople roused, checked their weather radios, called the dogs in.
By mid-morning, the sky was purple, and hectic with the energy of a tempestuous child, clouds drifting like bits of ragged gauze - and the windows on the houses stayed closed until the rain had passed.
Then came a noise made up of water-rush and bird calls and breezes pushing old dead leaves aside. A song like an old swing melody picked tenderly on banjo strings. And the people opened windows to listen and . . . there. There was the sound of Spring.
A hundred windows opening at once.
Every door that Winter had closed bursting at the hinges, all the shutters flung wide and every bit of Winter’s trash pushed to the curb. Sadness, anger, darkness, despair balled up like last week’s newspaper and tossed to the wind. Hopelessness, heartache, begone!
Robins tugged at earthworms, children found their ball bats, old men warmed their tired bones on front porch stoops. Firemen washed their trucks, bartenders bought a round for the house, the local priest played hopscotch with the first communicants. And everyone, everyone remembered.
Remembered light and love and happiness.
And the energy of their remembering lifted all that joy upward, and out, and it rained back down on them, benevolent as sunshine, warm enough to bathe in. Because that is, of course, the nature of happiness, and love – it spreads, it gets larger until all the cold gray stuff is gone.
Every window open.
Shutters making a joyful, banging racket in the wind.
Hello, new little writing home! Aren’t you pretty? I feel as though I could sip a cup of coffee and linger here for a bit.
A long and sorrowful autumn has passed since last I tarried in a webpage, and now winter clenches it jaws, shaking the life from us. My dreams have lately been fantastical, afloat in water the color of Curacao, with frog song like the noise of Muddy Waters jamming on the shore. Long walks in pink mist, a big hand cradling mine. In my dreams, I write, and the passage of time never alters this. Miracles and silvery piano chords, tarot cards and chocolate dump cake - all sweep along with the stroke of the pen.
In my waking life, Gentle Reader, I write – and this, too, remains unaltered.
Witness the little girl curled in the leather armchair with a notebook in her lap, lips pursed soundlessly around words she is making her own. The new mother with a baby in the crook of her arm, a pen in her right hand. The cashier who kept a list of her customers idiosyncrasies beneath the counter, the EMT who spilled her sorrows and elations into a journal.
All me. Writing, always writing.
There are worse habits, aren’t there?
But the creative process is like a drug, at once swaddling and unraveling the psyche. Imagine breathing life into a person, a setting, a world, and perhaps you can understand the addiction. For years, sharing such a treasure was unthinkable. My facebook page felt . . . trivial. Twitter? A madhouse. Blogs? Absolutely soul-baring, and that was never, ever what I wanted.
Until people began to respond.
And in turn I realized that I might have something to say, to somebody besides myself.
Publishing a novel was an impossibility until it happened. Until I opened that first box of dreams papered in blue sparkles - and I will tell you now, lovely people, that my little book did exactly as ordered, wending its way into the world and touching a few lives. Lives. So, both larger and smaller than I’d anticipated, but overall, something like August sunshine and hot fudge sundaes, everything good.
And so, I thought that . . . maybe writing isn’t very different from EMS. Maybe it’s the touching of lives that matters most.
Welcome to my webpage! May your journey here be magical!
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
I'm not a poetry reader, isn't that a shame? That's a bit like saying “I don't listen to music”, which would be unthinkable. So I'm setting out, this summer, to remedy that situation, and when Mary Oliver crossed my facebook page – the way so many poets, authors, and artists do, just in the random act of a friend hitting the “share” button – I decided the time is now. I've ordered her “A Thousand Mornings” and may even give it precedence over my annual reading of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Summer has bruised me, this year, with too many stresses, ill tempers, unfinished projects and unanticipated bills. The drawn-out decline and final, horrid death of my beloved dog, Boo. Heat that clings like a viscid second skin. Poison ivy on my shins.
I've created a quiet spot in the woods near my house – arranged two sky-blue Adirondack chairs around the roots of a giant maple, hung wind chimes and bird feeders, strung fairy lights where the overhead branches dip down almost to the ground. The effect is something like a child's secret hideaway, walls and ceiling of jeweled green, dirt floor soft and cool. In the evening, when the sky is plum-colored and the bats cutting capers above the house roof, I can feel my soul unwind. I can almost believe in magic.
Ah Lord, life would be better, wouldn't it, if we could all subscribe to that simple ideology?
Can tractors have souls? Absurd question, of course, but here - if God should deign to equip any piece of man’s machinery with a hereafter, the recipient would be an International 706. If metal could retain memories, if oil could lube a beating heart, then this little tractor would be the archangel of farmers everywhere.
Here she sits, at the back of my father’s machine shed beneath a lavish coat of winter dust and pigeon poop, and she isn’t cowed at all. No, not humbled even by her massive brethren or the slow air leak in her front tire. Her beautiful red paint gleams even in the chancy light; her engine is ready and waiting and . . . maybe she remembers.
But, if not, then I do. I have a heart and a soul, and I know that to ride on her fender through the chill spring daybreak was to ride straight to heaven. Wind in your hair, white-knuckled over bumps, lungs filled with a sharp crystal air like nothing I have breathed since that time - I knew, irrefutably, how alive I was.
And to be alive was good. It was blessed.
Importing my blog onto the new website has been quite the feat. My team and I are still in the process of categorizing and fine-tuning the years of posts you'll find here. We hope you enjoy our work-in-progress library. Check back soon for updates!