desert color

Flowers in a desert are not seen for years-
their exaggerated colors a faded memory.

In the wake of a raging storm-
flowers burst forth to fill a void
forgotten until it was full again.

the time you don’t have

What can you do in the time that you say you don’t have?
What can you write?
What can you draw?
Where can you walk?
Who can you reach out to?
With all the time we spend scrolling our thumbs …
What could we be learning?
What could we be making?

What, simply, could we be asking of ourselves that instead we do not
even know we are seeking through all the places we won’t
remember each time we draw our finger across the screen?

Next time, next time you think, “I should go for a walk …” or “I should write something” or “I should ask invite so and so tho dinner,” don’t say, “But …” Don’t make an excuse, instead, open the door and move … pick up a pen and write … reach out to your friend and plan. Maybe it’s only 10 minutes or a wisp of the need to see someone, but it’s the onlies and just a bits that add up to the all.

This is your life, don’t stash yourself waiting for something better to show up because you are what you got.

untamed places

I’m not a guy so I can’t say with any certainty, but my spitball theory for why many men are skittish about period sex is because of the unknown energy and possibilities that are held within the blood a woman sheds each month. Primal and often taboo, menstrual blood and associated pain / PMS is a variation on normal and not something a man can solve or fix. He can’t help a woman get through it faster or make the blood less. A woman’s cycle is not to be fixed, it is to be honored.

It’s a space to give space and listen. A time to honor a woman’s body for the shedding of a potential life it did not get to grow. It is a time for creativity and reflection on the power we hold. Regardless, if a woman has zero desire or an absolute passion to bear children, a woman’s cycle is a monthly reminder of her design to bear life. That design is the power of a mystery she can channel into so many variations. That mystery of creation is a topic that has been so deeply hidden that many women don’t understand it, fear it, and feel shame around their menstrual blood. For the women who have come to a place, to be in connection with their feminine power, her menstrual blood is nothing to fear, but a mystery to celebrate. That awareness is a rare and beautiful power.

For a man to be ok with, even embrace, sex with a woman moving through her period- to not mind being marked for a time, cleaning together, or falling asleep amongst sheets that hold the smell that is theirs- says he is able to share a deep vulnerability with a woman. For a man to accept the untamed beauty of a woman during the days she bleeds, to share her body and hold her in such a complete form of primal acceptance is to say he honors and accepts her fully as a woman.

life in stacks

Your life is stacked around you, collections of the past, anchors of memory. All the things and collections- will any of it make of us stronger, better, kinder people? When it’s all stripped away, what is the space we keep? Who are we without the accouterments of the life we have so carefully, carelessly curated?

It’s all simple hubris, the making of the image we want to display to the world. The art on our walls, the books- read & unread- on bookshelves, the pictures of the best moments of our lives. Moments captured in smiles, but the fight five minutes before always floating around the captured moment. Half dozen teas stashed away- all expired a year ago because you are really a coffee drinker. Clothes found in the bottom of a closet that you don’t recall buying. CDs in a binder covered in dust that you listened to in high school. All of it is a shadow of the past. All of it tiny hooks that keep you from moving beyond what was and into a future of what could be.

Without the shackles of the stacks of yesterday, would your daily eye have fresh canvas to fill with ideas and actions not influenced by constant reminders of what was and what could have been? The term “starting fresh,” implies the blank slate, the freedom to create and grow, yet each time we move, we simply carry our past into the next phase. We hang the same art on the walls, the same memories smile back at us, the same comfortable cookbooks wait for our reference, and the same books we haven’t read, remain unread.

I am embarking on a new phase, the markers of the end of a decade and six years divorced, loaded the starting gun, but more so that I am nearing 45 and want the next 45 years to simple yet adventurous, creative, and mindful. We are moving into a house share that will allow me to save for more travel and create some emotional support by living with similarly minded people. With that, it’s time to shed. On this year’s winter solstice, as the capstone to weeks of letting go of all the excess, much will be symbolically released. I am letting go of chairs that sit unused, a couch that requires more space than we need, extra clothes, dressers, mirrors, boxes with forgotten mementos and piles of mortgage papers for a home bought when first married. Our art will come down and be stored, some books will be carefully stashed, and dozens of journals set aside for safekeeping. Otherwise, it will all be shed to make space for a new canvas.

Letting go of so much is a scary undertaking. There is no danger in letting go of unused, dried out art supplies or an excessive number of mugs, yet it feels hard to let them go. The fear resides in the elimination of the familiar.

In truth, our every moment of experience resides within us. We have it all- good and bad- stored within our skin, seen through the filters of our experience, beliefs and reflections. When we constantly live with what we know- in a cocoon of the past- we become comfortable in our apathy. Growth and new experiences are not always comfortable so systematically breaking down your surroundings to create change is painful, but it is a safe pain. No one will die in this shedding of stuff, but something new is sure to rise.

today is the day

time

a construct of man

doesn’t shift with the light.

when I woke today

the clock read 17 minutes

later than I expected.

morning’s light held a softer glow.

the air imperceptibly cooler,

considered a breeze.

today is the day

summer begins its

long

goodbye.

Thank you feet

I don’t think I’ve ever thanked you feet, I just paint your nails and carry-on with you holding my weight through everything. I don’t give you much attention and by looking at you I’m rather a cruel mistress. There’s your half toenail that strongly grew new under a toenail that had been jammed so hard it fell off. You have cuts healing from poorly chosen shoes that were danced in all night. None of your nails are even- whites mangled to crooked beds. From day in and day out walking you have dry spots for the lack of attention I give you. There are shadowed scars from surgeries 23 years old and older scars from childhood tantrums that sliced you open. Veins pump blood into you and rise against my skin. Without them you wouldn’t be the strong base of my body. Your calluses and cracks once a month are taken for polish and paint. But I do little but ignore you. Other ladies know you, dear feet, better than I do. I know it’s time to take you in my hands to massage and rub you with lotion, trim your nails, buff out the rough spots and be more vigilant in my thanks. You silently, strongly hold me up through the miles that I walk, the hours that I dance, the nights you ache because I just couldn’t sit down. Bruised and battered feet so ugly to the world, but our beautiful soldiers. You allow me the strength as I press off of you to dive, you kick behind me and water moves. You let me push through this world, you let me swim and dance and run and climb. Sometimes you ache so bad it feels like a knife stabbing through my tendons. Other times it feels like you’re buried under a ton of gravel, but each time we emerge and we soak and we rise and we rest. In the new day, I place you on the ground and you flinch, giving me more aches than you used to. I stretch your toes, flex your arches and then we carry-on with little thanks. Yet each new day you keep me moving- one foot in front of the other.

winter’s slice

Took the dog out to piss.

While he checked for olfactory messages left by those who had pissed before him,

icy water seeped into my fuzzy slippers and tugged at the hems of my cotton pajama bottoms.

With total disregard for my comfort or convenience,

the cold front had moved in

on a bitter slash of rain.

NYE 2017

bury old dogs

When we were first dating, his parents had an old basset hound. I bounced into their backyard one afternoon – Nate wasn’t home. His mother, a prolific gardener, was digging a hole and I happily said, “What kind of tree are you planting.”

She looked at me and said, “The dog kind.”

I almost laughed.

She was so straight faced.

“Betty had to go this afternoon. But don’t tell Nate.”

“Won’t he notice she’s gone?”

“Oh. I suppose he will.”

shadows

Shadow limbs lull across my walls in steady rhythm of the breeze. Shadows streaking as birds make their way through the dawn.

Day has returned, as it always will. No matter the effects of humanity’s hubris, Earth will turn and day will follow night into eternity.

dog in repose

During the last few months, when I enter the house, often he does not acknowledge my arrival. There is no excited bark or jump off the couch. He just raises his head, sometimes turning his body to make his belly accessible for pets. On the first first 80-degree day of Spring this year, we took a three mile roundtrip walk. On the way home, he stopped and just laid down in a patch of grass, happily staring at the squirrels frolicking in big shade tree overhead. After five minutes, he was ready to continue. Later, he rested in a puddle of water for five minutes. A few weeks ago, walking home from the coffeeshop, he fell down mid-stride. Nothing tripped him, his legs simply gave out. On our request trips to the dog park by the lake, he takes things very slow. Younger dogs tear past, but he no longer tries to jump in with their games. He’ll lope behind for a moment, but then just smiles and watches them frolic.

Jack is an old happy dog. His age has not brought grumpiness. His disposition remains sweet. He’s lost a couple front, bottom teeth, but still eats well. Actually, with the chicken and healthy leftovers I give him he easts better than ever. I keep trying to convince myself and everyone who knows him – especially my kiddo – that he has several more years, but I can not honestly say how long he has left. How long does anyone have left? Life is given and taken away with no explanation. We are just here to share the best journey we can with those we love.

This afternoon, we take him to the vet. He was given a clean bill of health, “He’s got the health of a much younger dog,” less than six months ago. Now, there is a large bump (mass?) over his chest, between his shoulders. This once was the grandest point of his body – muscular, rugged chest muscles that were sometimes even intimidating. Now, those muscles hold a soft fold of fur where skin has sagged and age has diminished his strength. Where they used to launch him off of rocks, now they gingerly hold his legs as he gets purchase on a downhill trail. He has had an amazing life and I hope the doc says that the mass is just a natural shift of muscles, but I’m also prepared that these may be the best last days.