Monday, November 08, 2010


the white curtain hangs partially open. i see him outside, shoveling the year's compost into the blueberry bed. the little one is in his room, pulling books out of his bookshelf, giggling all the while. i'm listening to gus black, the leaves are falling, have fallen. spiritual components rain down, i want to shove them aside in the name of wounded pride.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

highway 97

The little one and I are driving through the high desert. Why is the moon so big and then so small? Why are the aspen yellow? Why is that coyote asleep? Why did that ridge run into the water? What do those elk smell like? Why did that star fall down? Where did the river start? All of these questions, I answer for him while he sleeps, puckers his lips, baby sounds. In a few weeks, he will make one-year-old sounds.

The tamarack make me uneasy; they shouldn't change with the seasons the way they do. Those naked hills make me uneasy; I avert my eyes to give them their privacy. The wind farms make me uneasy; something so big should not be so silent. I'm ultimately not suited for these open spaces. I need something to hide under, a tree to climb, a fence to ignore. I need a place where I can wait out the storm.

He stirs. I realize that- above teaching him how this land gives and takes without our permission, how it teaches us about something mightier, how it provides warmth, food, comfort, and life - above all of this, I am his place to wait out the storm.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

and Grace will lead me home.

sunday morning, gloomy for this time of year. the little one is crying, making a small scene, so we go outside to an emerging part of town. once they all wake up, the streets will turn hip as they ride their fixies to who-knows-where. but for now, a desolate poster child: train tracks, graffiti-tagged warehouses, litter.

inside, she's singing, an alto with a guitar on her lap. i sway with the little one, humming amazing grace along with her. my lips close to his head, please know this, you'll always be forgiven. let the vibrations echo, let them somehow become familiar. so that, say thirty years from now, you may hear that cadence while far from home and be surprised at the peace it brings.

Monday, May 17, 2010

sleep with angels, darling.

hey there little love, come with me. we'll go outside and learn what anticipation looks like. we'll watch those heavy-laden clouds tumble over the west hills. look around - the leaves are still, quiet, preparing. the robins are singing like mad, getting the word out, find cover find cover it's almost too late find cover. we'll feel this storm come in from the pacific, wonder where it has travelled and what stories it's already laid down. breathe in, little love, do you feel that? tangible, sticky, your mother is emotionally bound to this kind of humidity - a bind which you'll never understand if we stay put too much longer. you need to feel this, you need to know this, you need to close your eyes and sense the storm coming, glory in it, revel in it, wait for it.

we come inside, an indicator that your mother is concerned what the neighbors will think if they see a diapered child outside during a thunderstorm. practicality has trumped romance. but we've got these 85 year old lead-glass windows, and they do shake with the wind, don't they?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the movement that i crave

and i'm thankful for seasons, in that they remind me that i'm ungrateful. i eagerly anticipate autumn - and then winter starts to blow in, i'm impatient for autumn to leave and woolen sweaters and evenings in front of the fire to become commonplace. and now the daffodils are so very much on the cusp of opening, and i curse the northern wind and the snow-covered mountains that seem bent on destruction. this will happen in june as i will summer to come more quickly than it likes to in the northwest, and then the cycle will be completed in september. seasons are much like the blue ridge mountains - underappreciated, completely used and abused.

i rise early now, early with the little one.

the western sky is dark right now - slate gray. the eastern sun is making its way over our roof to highlight the big-leaf maple in the front yard. it's covered with moss - utterly and totally covered - and it's beautiful. we tried to "grow" moss on our rocks this winter....i don't know what we were thinking, messing with functions of light and darkness like that.

very seriously contemplating a major change. funny how things we desire have a way of making their way to us, even when we don't make their way straight. i've made so many decisions based upon practicality rather than wide-eyed wonder. each time, i'd apologize to my sense of romance, but point to the checkbook or the mortgage as a rationale for my choice. but somehow, wonder really did win in the end. and though the idealistic part of me hoped this to be true, i still can't quite believe it.

something i'll hold to: mid-december, 5:30pm, it's dark. portland has recently received two inches of snow. the christmas tree is lit and the little one is fussy. i have him in the baby carrier, and we're waltzing around the house while listening to Over the Rhine. i hum to him, we're both calmed by Karin's voice. we sway in front of the living room windows and catch a glimpse of Peter outside, laughing, teaching the three neighbor kids how to build a snow fort. there's a fire in the fireplace and hot chocolate on the stove. and my cup overfloweth.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

back in that saddle

The tulips are pushing their way through our mended soil at the base of the big-leaf maple. We're on the cusp, the edge of spring, our daffodils are earnestly racing to be the first to flower. And they'll win; they always do.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The rhododendron have bundled up their leaves, self-protective. Weather has come down from the north, and I try to bundle up this child as we take a walk. It's cold; feels like it must be in the teens. I put layers upon layers of clothing on him - the sun is out, we must go outside, we will simply dress accordingly. As we make our way up Fremont, I feel the judgmental stares of old ladies, "Why is that child out of doors in weather like this?".

I, apparently, can do no right. I don't swaddle correctly; it's been too long since he's last eaten; why haven't you given him a bath this week; he must be crying because of that cup of coffee you drank this morning; you don't fit into your jeans yet; why on earth are you taking him outside? In the midst of this great hormone let-down, I try to bundle up my emotions, and protect my instinct from well-intended advice. Sometimes it works. Other times, I find myself awake at 3am, compiling a list of mean things people have said. Putting together a pithy, mental version of Operating Instructions.

Regardless, I bundle up my little boy, add a sweater, some woolen mittens, the striped hat Katie knit for him. We're going outside because of the appearance of the sun. I obviously know very little about being a mother, but I do know that my son needs to feel the sun on his face and watch the birds skitter away from the mountain ash as I shut the door. He needs to know what wind sounds like so it doesn't frighten him when it rattles our 85 year-old lead-glass windows at night. Above all, I need to be able to say, "See that, Aiden? That is called a mountain."