revelry and resolutions


New Year’s Eve. Revelry accompanied by hopeful resolutions.

When I was a kid, we always put a cabbage on the table overnight, with silver coins. This apparently ensured that we would have both food and money for the coming year. At midnight, we all went out in the street in our pajamas with every pot and pan from the kitchen and made as much noise as we could.

Although my routine now might actually still include the cabbage, more important to me is the clarifying of intentions. These are broad intentions, not the oft-recommended specific goal-setting resolutions.

They boil down to just a few areas.

Take care of my physical self: Eat well, run/walk, rest.

Allow my creative self: Write. Sew. Ink. Draw. Wherever it goes.

Be my loving self:  Nurture relationships. Nurture community. Stand by my compassion for others and the earth.

Enjoy life: Be with loved ones. Hike. Read more books just for fun. Kayak. Explore. Watch the stars and the birds. Unrushed coffee actually sitting down at the local cafe. Like that.

I usually pick a word for the year, too. This year, I’ve picked three:

Wonder. Love. Joy.

How about you?

change must be


I remember it with both joy and melancholy.

I was finally preparing to leave. Everything was just about packed up. The house was already taking on that empty feeling. It was getting down to the wire, just days before saying goodbye to this place that I dearly loved but felt I had to leave.

I don’t know what made me look out just then.

I went deliberately to the window, and gazed out, the field stretching away to the west. And there she was, so close I could almost have touched her.

The fox stood still outside my window. There was a profound aura of peace and magic about this elusive, beautiful animal. I knew she was there on purpose. I knew we were connected somehow. Then, as if satisfied that her work was done, she disappeared.

I lived there for fifteen years, and never saw a fox before that day.

I was simultaneously calmed and distressed by the fox’s visit. I couldn’t help but wonder why the fox came to me. Was this reassurance about the path upon which I was about to embark? Or was this a warning?

It hurts to recall this moment. Stepping back into this particular past always does. Much pain and sadness surrounds the memory.

And yet, there is such beauty and peace and sense of connection in the memory, too. Even joy.

Like so much, I carry the fox in my heart.

Change must be. The fox knows, and she goes with me.



I hear them
coming over the tops of trees
I begin to see them
the long, trailing vee
so high
wings waving
over the silent snow
I lift my hand toward them
I wish you well, wise ones

more come, another vee follows
and then another
wave after wave
my breath is in the air
the sky fills with hundreds of geese
my heart breaks to watch them leaving
I yet standing
now with my hand on my heart
awed and bereft
all the while knowing

I fly with you
I watch for you
I will lift my hand and
welcome you back home

just a few kind words

veru12_28_18Just a few kind words.

It could make all the difference to someone.

A simple thank you might mean more than you know.

A gentle query about how one’s day is going, or how their holidays have been, might, just might, make someone feel seen.

Your considerate comment might just be the moment that restores confidence, brings hope, or sparks an instant of joy.

Notice the small gestures people make, notice the big ones, too. When someone’s trying, honor that – in the simplest of ways.

It’s just a few kind words. Just two will do.

And with a smile that meets the eyes, you’ve gone over the top.

There are those on your path who feel invisible. There are those for whom a hug is an unusual experience. There are ones who won’t hear a friendly word that day unless you deliver it.

And it’s just a few kind words. Opportunities abound. It costs absolutely nothing, but it’s so worth the effort.

You may never know the impact, but it could make all the difference.

Just a little bit of kindness can go a long, long way.

cogs in the machine


Just watching things happen in the world is really not enough.

We are flooded with information day after day after day. It is fruitless to allow ourselves to be simply overpowered by the sheer relentless, unceasing bulk of it, and do nothing.

What’s the point of having this immense access to information via all of our handy devices, if we don’t use the information to grow our actual knowledge and to be empowered by it? It says something about our educational system that we fail to think critically, and respond accordingly, with ample information in hand.

Every day, it seems, we are hit in the face yet again by some ridiculously egregious statement or falsehood or act or failure to act by many people who were elected to “serve” the public. There is such a preponderance of this type of thing, that we don’t even flinch anymore. We barely even notice it. Our eyes scan the latest revulsion and we don’t react.

We are better than this. We, the people, are better than this. It’s really time to recognize our state of learned helplessness and get over it.

The people I come across in daily life actually do care.

They actually are concerned about the environment and the fate our planet.

They really do care that children are being held by our government, and some of them, now, we find out, dying in “detention” or abused. People actually do recoil at the notion of children suffering and dying under bombings from which someone profits.

Folks don’t like the extensive and intrusive scrutiny of their daily lives, nor do they appreciate the massive system of criminalization and incarceration that looms over us.

People really do care about their ability to access to health care.

Everyone sees the ridiculousness of shutting our government down in order to have a hissy fit over an issue on which all parties have failed to find consensus or wisdom or responsibility or empathy – operative word there, failed.

The average Joe cares about an economy that doesn’t work for them, they just work for it. Or they don’t. People care very much about their ability to find meaningful work that pays enough to cover the ever-rising cost of living a life.

Even folks doing reasonably well actually do care about all this stuff, because we’re people, and at heart, we care about other people. And we know that a community where everyone is basically okay, not just some people, makes for a better community.

Really, just pick a topic. Our elected “servants” fail us daily, demonstrably and extravagantly and offensively. It is not enough to simply observe it. These people are paid by us to do a job. Anyone else would have been canned long ago, summarily and without a look back.

We are people: unique and wonderful and creative and compassionate. We are the fuel that runs the engine. And one has to wonder why we sit quietly under a hand that suppresses the very best in us.

tracks made

veru12_26_18Christmas happened, and now the focus shifts to the new year. The news media helpfully supplies us with recaps ad infinitum of what went down in 2018. It isn’t pretty, either. Nevertheless, they will rush us along toward Times Square and the sparkling globe countdown to 2019.

Seems like a reasonable time to look back over one’s own year, the highs, the lows… the lessons. Always lessons, you know, always.

This was a pretty huge year for me, and it was not an easy one. I made some big changes in my life, and faced some harsh difficulties. Looking back, I can see that the effort was worth it.

Letting go:  The changes I made somehow allowed me to finally, finally let go of some things to which I had been desperately clutching. Letting go was a huge, difficult years-long lesson; or, perhaps, the lesson was that refusing to let go is unbearably painful and one owes it to oneself and others to find a way to let go.

“There is something in the pang of change, more than the heart can bear. Unhappiness remembering happiness.” Yep, Euripedes said that.

Courage: The changes I made took courage. Change does, in fact, take courage. And I found that I have lots of it. Good to know.

Perseverance: Yes, thankfully there are those angels that meet you on the path here and there, but ultimately you are alone on the journey. No one can take your steps for you – you’ve got to do the work. That said, the angels are critical to shine a light for you, make you see a bit of the path just ahead and help you see it’s possible. I hope I can do the same for others.

Discipline: I faced some health hiccups which served to remind me to take care of my physical self better. This basically translates to establishing better discipline to run or walk, and to make the effort to feed myself well. Discipline is a challenge in other areas as well, like, for example, creativity. Discipline is a hugely important area of exploration for me across the board.

Boundaries – a lesson I thought I had already learned – once again became a subject for which I am apparently doing a thesis or something. The adventure continues.

Failures: Failure happens. Mistakes really are made. Pick up. Dust off. Learn. Regroup. Smile. Charge on.

Compassion: I felt burdened all year long to find the ways that I could bring active compassion where it matters. This applied to myself, to others, and to the world.  The events in the news media I mentioned earlier – they matter in this respect, too. Rather than be daunted by the foreboding material presented, the challenge is to remain in compassion and to work for positive change.

As I reflect back, there’s lots more. This was a rather epic year for me. I guess, though, I’m still sort of getting it all into focus.

And there is the path ahead.  Hence, 2019.


veru12_24_18So here we have arrived at Christmas Eve. Whatever form the holidays take, whatever it means to you, I wish you joy, and wonder, and love.

For those who are sad or lonely or depressed, I am talking to you, especially. I know joy, and wonder, and love are still possible for you, whether you believe it in this moment or not.

It is my hope that the spirit of this season moves each of us toward real peace on earth and good will among all.

Hugs to all. Jingle bells and all that. 🙂

finding serenity


Once again, CalmKate has gone and made me very thoughtful about things. Her Friday Foto Fun prompt topic is “Serenity.”  She asks us to seek out a photo that represents what serenity means to us. Her own photo shows a warm, inviting beach with “surf, sand, sky, and scrubs.”  Beautiful!

Serenity to me is peacefulness. The feeling of safety is key to my serenity. I went for many years never feeling safe – and it’s a hard habit to break. Nevertheless, I am able to feel safe now in certain places if conditions are right.

For example, the early morning hours, still dark, are a special time to me. At that time, usually around 5 a.m., I am awake, alert, calm, centered – usually, anyway. I’ll go get a cup of coffee, and head back to bed, where I sit quietly in the dark, just being. My friend, the cat, knows this routine and shares it with me. He curls up and nestles in to keep me warm, exuding a feeling of peace and safety as he softly purrs his joy. That’s serenity.

Serenity often also comes to me while walking in natural spaces. The silence of a forest is like breathing. The trees themselves are entities, wise angels along the way, friends. Mountain paths, too, are places of serenity. The sky, the birds, squirrels, wind – it all speaks peace to me.

A small pond also sets the stage for serenity. The evidence that it is home in the truest sense for any number of inhabitants – fish, frogs, insects, birds, turtles, beaver, muskrats, snakes – makes it an intimate visit with friends. It is a quiet pause in my own activities, while I sit at their table, so to speak, and quietly watch them doing their thing in the water, among the trees, the grasses, and reeds. That, that is serenity. I used to have a pond I loved, and it was a truly special place for such a feeling.

Another moment of serenity is when I am hand sewing without distraction. The methodical rhythm of blanket-stitching my penny rugs is serenity. I love the tactile experience, feeling the fabric, using my hands. I love seeing the colors of the fabrics. I love the focus, the intention of the piece. I can’t do it just anywhere, but the places where I can, I find serenity.

Oddly enough, small, general aviation airports are also often places of serenity for me if I can experience them undisturbed and alone. I like to just watch the runways, the windsock, the comings and goings of the small planes. I always feel a tremendous sense of possibility during these periods of quiet observation. I used to be a regular at one airport where I often retreated during a stressful time. I frequently just sat in my car and watched, but they also thoughtfully provided a few nice benches where folks like me could perch.

Art galleries, too, are usually places of serenity. Surrounded by all that quiet creativity, just soaking it in, is usually a peaceful, calming experience – although, not always. Some artists bring an energy to their work that disturbs a space, and I am sure it is meant to be that way.

A garden is a place of peace and joy, too. Walk into the garden, and everything else falls away. Like the pond, a garden has a life of its own. There, I become a quiet witness to life unfolding in the most beautiful, astonishing ways.

Once again, I am grateful for this prompt. It has brought to mind so many ideas, so many possibilities for what works. It’s so easy to feel distracted, unsettled, as we go with the flow of doing what we must. But this little reverie of mine shows me how easy it is to escape all that, too. There are many opportunities to find a moment of serenity.


veru12_22_18a.jpgTear it down

the castle
with the flag waving
the men at arms
the turrets

the stones
the moat the bridge
built by peasant’s back
and on the backs of peasants standing

rend the ermine robes
melt the crowns
strew the jewels to sparkle
across the land

tear it down

the fortress
find fealty to no one
kinship with all
each one honored and not by coin

finally see the dreams left standing
the wild in the forest
moon laughing
hearts aglow in eyes and hands

be amazed


I know dogs get all the credit, and I don’t begrudge them that, but when it comes to unconditional love, this dude right here is all over it. Honest to Pete, he’s an angel and a teacher with love from the tips of his ears to the point of his tail. His eyes sparkle with love when he looks into mine. So grateful for this little fella. Just wow.

Hey, happy Winter Solstice all! Be amazed!