Friday, January 22, 2010


...and she and I,
breathless and lifted and
hand in hand through the snow
sang at the height of our hearts
"We Shall Overcome" remembrance of Martin Luther, but I think also for ourselves.
There is a turning point, I think, in the infancy of a friendship, when things get bloom into something deeper and more profound...and though I don't call as much as I probably should, I think of her each and every day.
There are little crinkles around her light colored eyes and curls of baby hair buds at the roots of her dreads, that beckon a little twist every now and again as I read my favorite poems by Mary Oliver and we nod at one anothers' revelations...and marvel at the teas that bloom in the steaming water with the rising scent of jasmine in the room.
I marvel as I think of the happenstance day we met... when I gathered my courage and asked her what she was "doing here" in her vintage vest and dreads and holy my desperation to connect, I found a lifelong friend.
We shall
My dearest curmudgeon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Trainwreck and Stillness

Inside I feel like a mangled train wreck and I can't remember the last time I bathed since I found out my father is gone forever.... Did I write that out loud just now?
I simply crave beauty and stillness and written words.
In the quiet of the day I glance over to my right as I sit here at the looking glass of the world and I witness such exquisite unfoldings...the portraits my companion creates in the spaces when I am not looking...or when he thinks I am not paying attention...
It is like watching the gentle birth of something so lovely, that I can't find my breath. Something I know is so amazing....unlike anything I've seen before....

I think they call artists of his (and my) kind "outsiders". Something to do with lack of "formal training"....but Ken...Ken is an "insider" who taught himself to paint more than 40 years ago...he paints the insides...the spirits of those who appear on the canvas...a kind of seance with his brushes and a softness of feeling all his own.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Was Real

                                                           (me and my father, 1993)

I know you tried. Maybe you just couldn't bear the love you felt for me.Maybe you just didn't think you knew how to love, or how to apologize or start over or forgive..... Maybe you felt you were doing the right thing by not being in my life in your final years...whatever your reasons, I forgive you.
What is real is what I will keep alive in my mind. Images of your smile...remnants of your voice in my head and how I can almost hear you call me Daddy's little girl... falling asleep on your lap, a newly single woman with another baby girl asleep inside of me...comforted by finally being a reflection in your eyes again after so long. Why we just couldn't get it together, you and I...I don't know. Forgive me for not trying harder.

And you know, the pain isn't any less just because we were "estranged" for some heart just aches at the thought of it. You are gone.......forever. No more second chances. No more hope that one day............
I have some photographs of you smiling at me and I have the memory of your huge rough hands that enveloped mine and the way you ate pickles and always told me you kept my tattered little smiling girl picture in your tool box for 20 years.....
There are memories I choose to keep and those I will simply discard. What good is negativity in this world; in this life? I know all to well that life is too short for it. Too short for petty things that never matter in the beauty that is this life. This one life...
I know you loved me in your own way...
and I can feel your deep brown eyes watching me, again my fiercest protector...with your wallet chain and your pocket knife and your quick temper and your leather boots.
No regrets, old man. No regrets, ok?
I'll always be your little girl.

Friday, January 08, 2010

In Bed

I stayed been in bed all day because sleep has been so much easier than feeling. I crave the sounds of Patty Griffin...her voice seems to clear my heart of this darkness...the Kite Song is one of my favorites.
...The phone rang tonight and it was my Grandmother and we talked about funny stories and family and of love and of creativity and gifts and relatives with names like Tennessee and Texas. Something she told me really helped: she said her Aunt used to tell her when she felt the blackness creeping in, "Sarah, you just have to rise above."
And she is right. Life is too short to waste time with self pity and asking questions that will never have any answers and letting the darkness in too far...
Yes, I'm sure I'm not finished with this grief, It has only just begun; but today was the first and the last day of staying in bed and allowing sleep to take the place of feeling and doing and being and creating.
That just isn't who I am.
I look into the eyes of my children and my husband and into the faces in photographs of my beautiful mother and sister smiling out at me and I feel so grateful... blessed that I am not, after all, much like the man who helped to "make" me. A man who could so easily forget.
I am where I've been, but that isn't as important as where I am going....I am the journey...toward understanding. toward love. toward hope. toward grace. toward God. toward creating an authentic life.
And when I look into the beautiful eyes of my mother, I feel so graced to be that reflection in her eyes, as I have been for over 40 years she has been reflected in mine...and she has been on this journey with me. Unfailing. Constant. Ever present even in the very difficult moments.
and that is what matters.

But I know this to be true about myself...

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Mary Oliver

Death Came Today

I learned of my father's death today and I grieve for what could have been if only.....if only I had tried a little harder to get through the thickness of misunderstanding...
called more
wrote more
begged more
done less
done more
and maybe I wouldn't feel such pure anguish
if I hadn't always had that tiny light of
hope that I held
in secret
behind the anger and feelings of
rejection and outrage
keeping it alive
all my life
playing Pollyanna for years
and years
the glad game
in secret
I told myself
you'd come around......
you'd see me
you'd see us
you'd see what you were missing
you'd realize
what I know to be true about the pure joy
of watching your child grow
and the utter sweetness
of hearing their laughter
and the smiles and the
sparkle in their eyes, just for you...........
and though I know in my
reasonable adult mind
that it was never my fault,
the girl in me
simply aches so.........
The little light of hope for you
that I held,
is gone.
Stolen from me in the night
before I knew it was gone
In your selfishness
you took that from me.
Hey old man,
"by cracky" as you used to say,
you really missed out
on such beauty
such amazement
such abundance
such light........
my God, such light.
It would have been so "good fer ya".