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

Gift of a Gloomy Day

Wearied by warm sun and perfect days
Soft rainfall today refreshes me
I think the birds are happy, too
Singing mid morning in the dripping trees

It’s like a crystal goblet’s ding
Reminding of glass blower’s artistry
Wisdom of Creation knows us well
To drink it in requires yin and yang


Fashion Statement

My once-straight neck stooping
Peering into the mirror
Who is that old woman I spy?
Vaguely familiar I think I do know her
Can it be she is I?

Yesterday friend gave appraisal of me
As one “who is dwelling within my own skin”.
High compliment I received it
And now contemplate it
My settling into vintage-aged years.

Living in harmony with effects of aging
Softens the blow of multiple nuisances
Brought on by years of my being younger.
My body must deal with the natural calamity
Of living a rich life – and then getting old.

A new tool I discover and add to my arsenal
A distinct sharpening of my sense of humor.
My larger belly is wonderful for laughing
Loud, unselfconscious guffaws at my foibles
As I relinquish a measure of dignity.

These days clothes are a problem
Models on the runway just aren’t my shape.
What’s in my closet spans years of styles
I can fashion new looks as things slowly wear out
Survival of the fittest dictates my wardrobe.

Today I live at the pace of now
Finding delight in the scenes out my window.
Accessing new worlds in my writing and reading
On my own magic carpet I travel afar.
I like the view from within my own skin.


Perfectly Imperfect: A Post-Script

The New Year is fast upon us – time to wrap up Christmas loose ends. In a post on Dec. 17 I wrote about accidentally having my out-of-town grandchildren’s gifts which I ordered online shipped to me. I was feeling awful because I feared they would now not receive their presents in time to open them Christmas morning. When the box of gifts finally was delivered to me I realized I was presented with a delightful opportunity. I could open the box and wrap their presents. I have a standing rule not to pay the (ridiculous, I think) fees stores charge for gift wrapping. I give myself latitude to let my grandchildren think bare, unwrapped Christmas gifts are a quirky trait of their grandmother. Now I would have the fun of rummaging around in my wrapping paper drawer and producing glittery ribbon and bright red and green paper and surprising them.

While I was in the drawer I discovered another gift to include in the box destined for my grandchildren. When my three sons were little I made each a felt Christmas stocking from a kit. They were all different because I made them in different years when different kits were available. Though I am not a seamstress I applied myself to attaching sequins, gold braid, felt applique Christmas trees and a felt figure of a child unique to each of the three stockings. The Christmas stocking in my wrapping paper drawer belonged to my son, father of the grandchildren whose toys I was wrapping. His stocking had his name on it, the only stocking with that feature. It had small stuffed figures hanging from crossed sticks like a puppet master’s. The figures were a doll, a hobby-horse and a train engine. For all the years after my sons left home – without the stockings – I have hung them up at Christmas wherever I lived. Even when I did not have a fireplace or a mantle, I found creative ways to hang the stockings. They were a link to my children who were now scattered. When I moved here to be near family I was home again. I gave my two in-town sons their stockings. Now I could mail my son who lives in another city his. I wrapped the last stocking and wrote a tag using the name on the stocking, the name I called him before he went to college and began to use his middle name. I signed it “from the Ghost of Christmas Past”. I took the box to the UPS store to mail, assured it would arrive two days before the holiday. Serendipitously, the cost of the mailing my now brightly wrapped presents was less than paying the stores to gift wrap them. I thought I had come out ahead. The box did arrive on time, but not without another plot twist for me.

While I was tracking the package online, the ASK web site somehow interjected itself into my search and hi-jacked my home page! For three days I tried valiantly to fix things myself to no avail. My apartment is mostly an Internet wasteland, but a young man who understands computers has recently moved in. I called him for help. He cheerfully agreed and fixed it with a few clicks. I was overjoyed! Out of things I caused to go wrong – twice, three good things resulted. And I have made a new friend.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Perfection In the Midst of Imperfection: Lagniappe and Love

Once upon a time almost half a century ago, when my youngest son was two years old, we used to go to a late afternoon Christmas Eve service at our church. The big draw for our three sons was the Kentucky Fried Chicken supper afterward. We mothers enjoyed a break before the harried moments of getting children wide-eyed with excitement to sleep so Santa Claus could arrive. The fathers were happy to be off the hook for a bit before the annual challenge of assembling toys that always came with a part or two missing. Through the years there is one Christmas Eve that remains perpetually fresh in my memory.

We arrived a little late and found seats in the back of the church. While we sang carols, one of my favorite parts of the service, my youngest son quietly slipped beneath the pews and crawled forward several rows until a vigilant parent retrieved him and pointed him back in our direction. When time came for telling the story of the First Christmas the Pastor called the children forward to gather around him at the front of the Sanctuary. The children sat on the floor and looked around with awe at this part of the church usually reserved for grown people, often wearing long black robes. I noticed a child edge away from the group and stealthily begin to climb the circular stair leading upward to the Pulpit. Soon a small head leaned way over the railing, like a sailor leaning out over the sea from a ship’s crows nest. It was my pew-crawling son.

Behind the Pulpit and other Ecclesiastical furniture, there was a tapestry-like wall covering surrounding the Cross. It was a heavenly shade of blue patterned with gold lines forming diamond shapes. At the points of the diamonds there were rosettes completing the design except where one was purposely left off. This was to remind us of the imperfection of humankind. I privately named the missing flower the symbol of “The August Order of the Missing Rosette” and considered myself a charter member. I mentally included my pew-crawling, pulpit-climbing son in its ranks.

This holiday season I’ve had occasion to renew my membership in the “August Order”. I do most of my shopping on-line. I particularly like ordering from Amazon to take advantage of free shipping if I spend a certain amount. I checked with my middle son who lives in another city to see what my two grandchildren wanted as gifts. I went on-line, found just the thing for each child and had them shipped to their address, which is in Amazon’s list of people I frequently send gifts to. Two days ago I received an email from Amazon saying the gifts were on the way – to my address! I couldn’t believe it. I’m certain that I clicked on my son’s address. My stomach sank. Now I’m afraid I can’t get the presents to their house in time for Christmas day. This is bad, but the worse thing is that this is not an isolated incident. It is a feature of aging that I find hard to accept. Doing ridiculous things and laughing about it with my friends “of a certain age” is one thing. Messing up my grandchildren’s Christmas is a whole different matter. I emailed my son about the delay and told him that I guess perfection is just not something possible for vintage-aged people. He replied that to him “my imperfections are just lagniappe (a Louisiana phrase meaning something extra added to a gift). The August Order of the Missing Rosette would be proud of my son and me.