Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello, New Year! Please be kind to us all!

So here we are again. Another year has passed and another lies ahead. In between, I suspect we've all had our share of good times and not so good. I hope for all of you that there has been more good than bad. I also hope you have had abundant time to be with those who are dearest to you, whether family or friends. We had an enjoyable visit with my children, grands and greats in California with the fun of eating and drinking too much, and laughing a lot. (You cannot do that too much!)

We also got to spend an afternoon with long-time friends, Dave and Glenda. As a couple, there is no one we have known longer and we love them dearly. We attended their 25th wedding anniversary party and their 50th, and that is very special. When we see them, all too seldom these days, I always think that Tom is more his old self, which is wonderful to watch. Dave still cracks him up as he always has and they talk about the 'good old days' as though they were both going back to work on Monday! Because they have not spent a lot of time with Tom since his Alzheimer's was diagnosed, they remember him almost as he was before, and that is a lovely thing. No matter what is going on in our lives, they have been friends we shared with, laughed and cried with and always look forward to seeing again as soon as possible. Trips we took with them are some of our most precious memories. If you are lucky enough to have friends like that, you are blessed indeed.

When you sing "Auld Lang Syne" tomorrow night (and wonder what the heck that means anyway) I hope you sing it with good friends and that you look forward to the newness of discovery, learning and growing in the coming year. Health and happiness, my friends.

Here's a poem from "Dance on a Dirt Road."


Like the slithery transition between
sleep and waking, a year begins to slip
into history, taking with it those unpredictable
moments when everything was possible.

Endings bring sadness, finality, no more
chances to shape events, pull from
the distractions in my head the jagged
start-stop of best intentions.

Leaves fall from my tree of hope,
gather on the ground dampness, slowly
decaying into new life, but forever lost
to my mania for fixing what went wrong

with this year’s plan – going for the dreams
and passions that I always knew would not
survive loneliness or bring me comfort. I see them
dangling at my window, and once again

I believe in beginnings.

Friday, December 16, 2011


If only it were as easy as that, to deck the hearth and mantle,
drape the archways with boughs of fragrant evergreen
and set the angels holding candles by the door.
I sleep with carols skimming my dreams, a speck
of glitter in my hair, a wisp of powdered sugar on my cheek.
If it is possible to will the glory into existence, I will
put my foot upon the threshold and drag this tableau
into tireless repetition – to celebrate in spite of everything.

For whom is the cedar wreath ribboned in silver? For whom
the bowls of ripe and shining fruit? I see the childhood
visions in my mind, and still I sing the midnight song alone.
It was simpler when there were no choices but tradition,
when one could copy from a picture in a book, a psalm,
a prophecy that seemed so true, a day for children to curl
into the warmth of indulgence. Here love is the motivation
for cherubim and magi, a star my hope, my nativity.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Driving Home on a Winter Night

I’ve spent too long in the city,
weary of traffic and too much
of everything.

As I turn for home in the fading light
a cold mist whispers into the air,
descending like the dust of diamonds.
I thread through big rigs and pick-ups,
as the radio plays Barber’s Adagio,
steadying, calming, breathing.
I settle in for the hour’s drive.
Rain now lacquers the road, the dark
pierced by light sabers pointing the way.

The rhythm of the wipers dulls my attention
and I change the radio to an oldies station
I can sing to, memories filling the car.
On the rutted dirt road at last, my path home
draws me forward, where I live and belong
to feed on quiet, to feast on solitude.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Poem and a Bit of Small-Town Whimsy

Winter is definitely upon us. This morning, when the deep fog bank lifted, I saw that the snow is creeping ever lower down the mountain (we call it our mountain) and snow is in our forecast. This is a wonderful time of year for those of us in southern Arizona as we actually get to experience a change of seasons, though in a mild and wholly agreeable way. I don't long for deep snowdrifts or extended periods of sub-zero temps. I do dearly love the  dusting of 3-4 inches of snow that coats the morning landscape and is gone by lunchtime. Yes, these Arizona winters are brutal, aren't they?

I wanted to share with you a short video that was made the day after Thanksgiving in Patagonia, AZ. I belong to the area's premier community chorus, Santa Cruz Singers, led by the talented Christina Wilhelm, and this year we decided to attract some attention to ourselves in the hope of encouraging more closet singers to come out and join us. I even got Tom to join us, though he protested some. Still he joined in and persisted even when a little bit lost in the music. For a guy with memory issues, who has never sung in a group before, he was impressive! Hope you will enjoy this clip.

Now for a short poem, to honor my beautiful sycamore tree, that let go of the last of her leaves in the wind that raced through a few days ago. I think she is still beautiful, though barren,


having let go
her brittle autumn glitter
the sycamore shivers
in a winter dress
white bones bleak
as a ribcage
waiting in the void
for the turned-in earth
to waken and dress itself
once more