Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Dancing Lessons

Many days I feel there is no poetry in the world to explore. The pink stripes in the sky will reappear with Winter. What will they say to me? The patio has gone through its Autumn transformation. The iron furniture has been stored and the pool is empty. Summer was not the same with endless days when the thermometer hit 90. I don’t mind that it is over. Spring is a distant memory.

Four years ago I wrote of my magical experience watching acres of tulip bulbs being plowed under after they bloomed in the Spring. The soft brown fallow fields shared with me their wisdom. Though the fields were bare they were rich with everything necessary to nurture tulips next season. I felt the pull of being fallow. I wanted to empty my life of all that had busied it and let what was already within me bear fruit. I found freedom and an unexpected gift. I could write poetry.

After moving to be near my family, the new roots I put down have taken firm hold. Life at the Greenbriar is good. I believed I was settled-in once and for all. Now the world has changed in ways I have no words to describe. I’ve stepped back to take a longer view. My mind is awakening to old histories and possibilities of new hope for our future. Once more being fallow will allow me room to grow.

A small miracle happened Sunday while we celebrated World Wide Communion at church. The last hymn of the service was “We Are Walking in the Light of God”, an African Freedom Song. The last verse of the hymn reads “We are dancing in the light of God”. As we sang people began to move about. A friend pulled me from my pew. She and I began to dance in the aisle, making it up as we went along. Other people gave us space. I think they were amazed that two seasoned women were so uninhibited. When the music stopped she and I couldn’t stop laughing. I still feel the glow. The world has surprises I never imagined happening when I am alive to the moment. My new way of being fallow dances to a different beat.


Writing 101 – Reflections

Viva change! I chose my writing name in the midst of a season of life changes which afforded no end of inspiration and material for my posts. I would not have thought my stats had anything to contribute to the heart of my blog. I checked them out and discovered an objective view of exactly what I have been writing about. Touche!

Riches of aging, memoir, changing seasons, creative aging are the categories my readers like best. The most clicked tag is poetry. No surprises there. My stats reflect what flows from my muse. Being fallow is another chosen category high on my stats that gets to the root of my creative force.

“Once upon a time” as stories begin, I sat beside a brown fallow field. I was on the cusp of receiving Social Security when I spent a week in a resort by the Pacific Ocean in Carlsbad CA. My room had a balcony that overlooked a huge field where thousands of tulip bulbs bloom every Spring. It must have been a glorious sight but this was June and all I could see was acres of dirt. There were a few workers digging up the last of the tulip stems and bulbs in preparation for next season’s planting.

The fallow field called to me as a spiritual sister. I felt the energy of change – the life force unseen but pulsing. I knew this well within myself. Though I was entering a new phase of life and appeared as one aging, I deeply affirmed the possibility of wonders still ahead. I contemplated the field rich with everything necessary for life as it lay there doing nothing. It was nice to be entering my own fallow season where my creative gifts can bloom in good time.


Writing 101 – Yin and Yang of Writing

Writing and not writing
Balance scale equally
Both necessary
When they’re in sync.

Time to be fallow
Await inspiration
Creative energy
Stirs in my soul.

Writing is joy
Of words cascading
Free from restraining
Of censoring mind.

Re-working, tidying
Tweaking, spell-checking
Follow in progression
Before edits and posting.

Then time to rest
Play and rejoice
Another birthing
A labor of love.


Writer’s Lament: A Haiku

Groans my cluttered brain
Ragbag of ideas half-baked.
Stopped my world, got off.

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Writing 101, Day Twenty: Treasured Gift of Time

There is a time for letting go.
To purge and simplify.
Casting forward once beloved things.
Enriching someone else’s treasure store.

Time to love the sunbeam’s light
Streaming bright as jewels.
Bird-song concert, flowers’ canvas.
Nature’s treasures free of any charge.

Days to be at peace in seat-worn chair passed down.
Soft lighted lamp welcomes the fall of night.
Cup of tea for body’s warmth and cheer.
Comfort now a gift beyond compare.


Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II – At the End of the Yellow Brick Road

A fierce gust of honesty with myself blew me onto this road. Something as simple and true as longing for my family hit me with the realization that if I did not leave my second husband I would regret it at my life’s end. My marriage to him was full of illusions. It was time to look this thing in the eye, take a deep breath, and sally forth.

I landed in an apartment on the fourth floor of The Greenbriar that my daughter-in-law found for me. From my windows in summer I can see the upper branches of an oak tree where squirrels build their nests, the garden patio, and the blue, blue water of the swimming pool. What I like best about the pool, besides getting into it, is the sound of children having fun and the smell of food cooking on the gas grill by the patio tables. The patio in winter has a beauty all its own.

In the apartment lobby there is a round glass table where tenants leave things they don’t want anymore, a sort of impromptu rummage sale where everything is free. I call it the “manna table”. I’ve acquired a beautiful cobalt blue bottle and a Chinese vase that I put on my window ledge. In late December when I was in need of a calendar for the New Year I found an AARP calendar on the table, which now hangs on my kitchen wall. It’s a great place to re-gift things.

I love this place – the view from my windows, the fun of the pool, the whimsical extras like the manna table. (I haven’t told you how all-out the apartment managers go decorating the lobby for the holidays. It’s wild.) My daughter-in-law found me a great place to live. It is a wish come true to be near family. Neither one of us had any idea that I would find a whole life of my own as well.

Shortly after I moved in I joined a group of women who play word games in the afternoon. Most of them moved here after the death of a spouse years ago. I’m practically the baby of the bunch and I was seventy-five when I met them. We’ve all chosen to leave behind houses. We expect to live here for the foreseeable future. That’s a given. We accept ourselves as marvelously gifted with still being alive. We share belly laughs over things we forget that we expect to recall later, and do. We pay little attention to the shape of aging bodies and the accompanying inconveniences. We live in the moment playing our game – flexing broad vocabularies gained from years of reading, creating words, even making up words not in the Scrabble dictionary. We are loose with rules. And we collaborate with each other, in myriad ways. We recognize ourselves as an NORC, or Naturally Occurring Retirement Community. I’m still healthy and able to be independent – for now. When that changes I will not be alone. My family will not be alone either. We will have the love and support of my Greenbriar friends.

I’m amazed to have found a new life for myself. I always believed that there must be something worth while about the last stages of life, or why did they exist? I didn’t imagine the freedom of these years, the audacity of saying what’s on my mind. the joy in small things, the love I experience for the peoples and lands of the earth that overwhelms me, the tears I weep for those who suffer. I am deeply grateful to be alive.


Writing 101, Day Two: A Room With a View or Just a View.

The Carlsbad Flower Fields are fifty acres of land in Carlsbad CA near the Pacific Ocean. Planted in these fields are thousands of tulip bulbs that bloom in March and April every spring. When the tulips bloom it is like a Monet painting come alive. I hadn’t known about the Flower Fields when I booked a week in May at a hotel in Carlsbad so I never saw the fields in bloom. Instead, I experienced the majesty of the fields lying fallow.

My hotel room had a little balcony. It provided me with a front row seat overlooking the fields. I sat there in the presence of the bare earth. Though the time for blooming was over, there was a different beauty in the brown fields now furrowed and awaiting time for the planting of new bulbs. I was overcome with a visceral connection between the brown earth and me. The fields were fallow, but full of promise. The earth possessed everything for the cycle of growth and blooming, fading and resting. The fallow earth was complete in itself with possibilities for creation and beauty. And it had to do nothing.

I breathed in the word fallow like a mantra. For so many years I had been about the busy-ness of life – marriage, children, now grandchildren, work, getting more degrees and changing course to work again, volunteer work. Fallow felt just right for me. It was time to breathe in the simplicity of bearing fruit from what was already planted within me. And to breathe out anxiety about getting things done on a deadline, keeping commitments to so many people and things, loving my family actively and mostly putting my concerns for them first. I think I love all things more deeply now out of fallowness.

Today I can picture the fallow field and feel my own fallowness. I can go to this place and be at peace and altogether alive.


Radiant Beauty

…To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty

Albert Einstein

Several years after I conceived of my intention to become an original I decided it was time to try my wings. A chance arose for me to join a small group travelling to Kenya to see the animals. I decided to spend money from my retirement nest egg on a wonderful adventure now rather than saving it all for an unknown future.

The afternoon we arrived at Maasai Mara Game Preserve we rode out to see the animals who live there. We were treated to the spectacle of the circle of life. We saw mother elephants and giraffes nursing their babies; a mother ostrich frantically running and flapping her wings to deter predators from harming her hidden young; a cheetah stalking its dinner and then streaking like the wind to kill it; a pride of female lions and their young resting in the shade of scraggly vegetation while the king of the animals looked on from a distance; an antelope carcass being picked clean by vultures. Rain fell on the dull brown grass, followed by a rainbow. A carpet of bright flowers appeared the next day.

Before daybreak the next morning I was sitting on the back porch of my sleeping quarters. Everything was dark and still, yet I knew there were animals near by because I had seen them the day before. The sounds of insects and small creatures broke the silence. Other animals joined the symphony one by one. Only the very large animals kept silent. The world was waking up and I was present! I felt the wonder, beauty and powerful energy of creation. I sensed that creation was there before me and happened without me. I was only a spectator lucky enough to have bought a ticket for the show.