Saturday, September 02, 2006

Just So You Know...

Just a note to say I am very weary with the problems I continue to have with Blogger. These issues have been on-going for at least 3 months. I spend hours trying to get photos related to my posts to load into Blogger but have no luck whatsoever! I am inevitably left with a very sour taste and have little interest in blogging or in posting text without the accompanying photography. There have been beautiful flowers in the garden I could not share and wildlife strolling around our property. It took me weeks to get the Oregon post to load properly. I have no patience with these Blogger problems and have gotten no assistance from Blogger other than confirmation they are working on the issues. I may try to find a different host when I have more energy to direct there or close the blog entirely. The fun of posting has been lost in these efforts and frustration. :(

Thursday, July 20, 2006

To Sleep With the Ocean

The central Oregon coast, north of Florence.
Photography made available from our private collection.
See reference note at the end of this post.

My husband and I usually celebrate July 4th with a road trip, not only because we enjoy the summer holiday free from his hectic job, but also because it is the anniversary of our engagement. I remember the July 4th when he kept waiting for the perfect moment to ask me to be his wife. We had a picnic beside the lake at a monastery outside Atlanta where Trappist Monks had built their home 40 years earlier.

Enjoying a peaceful holiday as we talked about the future we'd dreamed of sharing, we watched ducks drifting in the currents of the warm lake that summer afternoon. We played a board game similar to Trivial Pursuit while we ate fresh fruit and chicken wings. We were lazy in the summer heat.

Later we sat quietly together inside the Abbey gazing at the architecture and design, aware of the holiness of this place and moment. We walked the grounds near the store where the monks bake and sell their breads and nurture their beautiful bonsai garden. Though neither of us is traditionally religious, we enjoyed experiencing the contemplative atmosphere in which the monks live their lives and the serenity which bathed us in light and love.

In the evening we dined atop a luxury hotel, watching fireworks through the glass walls as the restaurant slowly revolved, giving us views of the city from every direction. Several firework displays around the city dazzled us that night, all seeming to celebrate our love and the future we had moved toward for two and a half years. I went to sleep happier than I had ever been, wrapped in love and promises of our future.

Since that July, our favorite way of celebrating this holiday is to retreat to the central Oregon coast and sleep with the ocean. We find a room which has a private balcony overhanging the sandy beach, a place where high tides lap the rocks and drizzle sand just below our room. We forget tsunami warnings when we climb into the sound of waves as they tumble to shore. We are hypnotized by the sound of the water, the smell of the ocean air, and the flight of the birds outside our room as morning wakes us.

The gulls visit us each day and eat from our hands. At sunset campfires dot the shore beneath our balcony, and we eagerly anticipate the beautiful light display which will soon shimmer in colorful reflection on the wet sand. Many beachcombers bring along their own personal stash of fireworks to the evening’s orchestra of light. They'll give us our own private show of color glittering the evening sky high above the surf.

We drive the coast during the days, exploring familiar areas again, taking in the seascapes with new eyes, always struck with wonder at the magical hand of nature in some detail we never noticed in the past.

We see old trees hanging above the ocean, wondering how many years they have lived on this earth. We notice the sea stacks of rocks and earth positioned far into the surf, open invitations to breakers which pound them with foaming, salty water.

We watch the sea lather the shore where someone wrote a name, see each letter erased bit by bit in rhythmic motion. Birds travel between shore and rocks, some roosting far out on craggy ledges which overhang the sea. We watch them through the binoculars. We study the tides to learn our best chance for uncovering hidden treasures. We won't disturb tidal pools, but we will take home agates and beautiful rocks left in the sand, some washed smoothe; all beautiful. But, mostly we’ll take home memories of days and nights seasoned with love and tranquility, steeped in the comfort of the constant sea. We are already counting the days until we will sleep once again with the ocean – next month we will head to the northern California coast.

One day we will own property on this coast, a place to retreat each season. In spring, summer and fall we will sleep with the door open to the air, to the smells and sounds of the surging water. We'll watch the winter storms and migrating whales in colder months. It will be ours, the place where we can sleep together with the sea.

All photography from the Oregon coast is from our private collection. Photography from our private collection is protected by copyright and cannot be reproduced, published, or used in any manner without our written permission.
Enlarge each photograph by clicking on the image.

The photograph inside the Abbey, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, is published
with the kind permission of James Behrens, photographer.
It demonstrates the soft light in the aisle which filters
through the stained glass windows.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My Life: A to Z Meme

Grape Vines, Napa Valley, California
Photography from our private collection.

I was tagged by rdl to do the A-Z meme, so here are a few random facts about me and my life.

A - accent: Awwww…bless your heart, honey. Let’s see – as I sit on the veranda drinking my lemonade, I guess I can admit to a bit of a southern drawl.

B - booze: white zinfandel; sparkling white wines; Margarita: on the rocks with salted rim, and frozen with strawberries and sugared rim

C - chore I hate: I don’t like chores, so I don’t do them! ;)

D - dogs/cats: none at the moment – Sheltie and Terrier went to "pupppy heaven" at ages 18 and 15, respectively. :( Miss them very much and will be puppy parents again one day.

E - essential electronics: computer, cell phone and charger

F - favorite perfume/cologne: Carolina Herrera 212

G - gold/silver: gold most often, but occasionally silver

H - hometown: Atlanta, GA

I - insomnia: yes

J - job title: “the happy gardener” but once a social worker and even earlier an English teacher

K - kids: none

L - living arrangements: in a house with my man, surrounded by lush gardens, birds, squirrels, deer, and raccoons - with an occasional nearby bear sighting in spring.

M - most admired trait: sensitivity

N - number of sexual partners: married

O - overnight hospital stays: one at age 3

P - phobia: snakes, shots, germs – anti-bacterial wipes after shopping carts!

Q - quote: Be the change you want to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandhi

R - religion: none – eastern philosophy

S - siblings: one sister

T - time I usually wake up: depends on what time I go to bed – I usually sleep in 4 hour intervals.

U - unusual talent: beautiful gift wrapping

V - vegetable I refuse to eat: none – I even like rutabagas now!

W - worst habit: interrupting people!

X - x-rays: lumbar, left hip, left leg

Y - yummy foods I make: rum cake, home-made veggie soup, spoon cornbread, curried chicken salad

Z - zodiac sign: Virgo

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just Outside Our Door

All photography courtesy of our private collection.

As I witness nature opening her magical doors of color, shape, fragrance, and form I am filled with wonder. No matter how many years I have lived on this earth, it is always the same each spring. I am stunned at the intensity of beauty before me, awed by the design and the mystery of perfect creation. One window closes and another opens. The show is always choreographed in perfect harmony in this splendid season of spring.

This morning I heard the drilling before my eyes could locate him. There he was, red hat sitting high on his head met by the full red scarf draped around his neck, drilling for sap and the insects drawn to it. The red-breasted sap sucker was back in the same tree he sat in on Saturday when my husband went flying out in the chilly rain to get a better view and to try to photograph him. Today I got one shot, not close enough. We need a better lens for zooming. It is thrilling to see this bird's red head contrasting the green leaves, and I am happily content to observe him hard at work.

Yesterday I sat outside as night approached, watching my husband loading his wheelbarrow with his gardening tools, my eye searching for the bird who was singing loudly. Finally I found him on the top limb of our highest evergreen. He was too far away for me to even guess what kind of bird he was. I could only determine his approximate size. I listened carefully. He sang his song, repeating the notes in a rhythmic series. Silence....then he began again. In the distance another voice joined the concert with almost the exact order of notes in similar pitch. The repetition was so pronounced I thought at first an echo was resounding across the elevation. Suddenly wings met air, and I was left alone contemplating this extraordinary language which brings pleasure to my life as each morning unfolds and each evening closes my day. I instinctively move to the courtyard to sit and listen, to observe and take in these wonders which live just outside our door.

Each tulip, sunlit and glowing, takes me fully outside myself as I examine the way the light falls. The sunlight illuminates the petals from the inside out, making them seem almost transparent. The blue irises are blooming now amidst the carpet of candytuft which sprinkles the bank in white trails of flowers. My eyes move toward the ground through the tiny blue lithodora blooms, and I watch an earthworm working the soil, not yet mulched. I am glad for the turning and aeration of the earth that holds our plants and trees. I wonder if the robin will see the worm before he is once again hidden deep within the rich, blackness. I see the butterfly move among the tulip blooms under the weeping cherry and marvel at its beginning. I feel so acutely aware of every nuance of nature as I watch him flicker in the mauve and purple Angeliques. My mind wanders to Shardad Rohani's "Connie's Butterfly" in which the piano truly paints the butterfly's flight. I remember the first time I heard this music and how my body responded.

When I use the sprinkler nozzle to water the hanging basket near the large bird feeder I feel myself excited with anticipation. I know the chickadees will soon hear the water and come rushing to me. They fly directly toward the water and play in the mist, dodging the heavier spray but always getting their feathers wet. It is a game we play on warm days. We have 5 birdbaths on this property, yet the sound of the running water is the real lure for these playful birds. Sometimes as many as 40 chickadees dot the evergreen. Like tiny Christmas ornaments they sit above the feeder. They appear so suddenly I wonder where they were before the sound of the water caught their attention.

Above the magenta lilac bloom a bright periwinkle sky reminds me of other summer days when as a young girl I lay on my back looking up through the treetops. I was mesmerized then, making images of white clouds, watching my art change with the wind. It all felt surreal - my altered state of consciousness, though I didn't know the term as a child. So many "faces" looked down upon me as I gazed reverently above, always intrigued with shapes and movement. I've created a thousand pieces of sky art, each one different, uniquely mine.

Friday we saw our first hummingbirds of the season...3 at once playing in the top of a large cedar, whizzing and darting above the tallest branch, then lower and back up again. My husband was thrilled. He is always wistful to hear about my daily encounters with the tiny natural treasures, encounters which he misses as he busies himself inside an office far from nature's bounty. I see the hummers refuel their small tanks with sugar water in the mornings as I stand at the kitchen sink. Later in the afternoon they will fly in and out of the front rock garden enjoying the perennials we planted. It is a joy I never take for granted. Each sighting is as delightful as the first.

Wisteria hangs now on the arbor in clustered clumps of pale purple which fall in abandon over the trellis. The air is scented as I approach, and I react to the sweet fragrance by moving closer. Sometimes the sheer beauty of this garden overwhelms me. My eye catches the chartreuse blooms of the euphorbia behind the lavender laden arbor, the contrast making each more glorious. We will bring out the glass hummingbird feeders and hang them back in the rock garden since the perennials are not yet ready to nurture our tiny friends. We are happy the wisteria will serve as a temporary paradise during the coming days.

I love the way the oxalis is peeping out of an old tree stump. This clover-looking plant was a St. Patrick' Day gift I bought my husband a few years ago and is now living happily in the stump, rich with nutrients. It has never been more full or beautiful. The clematis at the edge of this bed is filled with blooms now as it winds its way up another arbor. Soon the vine will wrap the legs of the wooden arbor and by summer's end will hang overhead. We will nail a round wooden top to a very low, small tree stump here near the arbor. The stump is still strong and will serve as a base to the squirrel feeder we will mount. This will be a feasting table where corn and nuts are the breakfast buffet we give our precious squirrels. If we get too late a start on the day they place their orders by knocking on the door! Some were born here, none venture very far away, and one, a permanent grazer until dark, never leaves the bottom of the largest birdfeeder. He talks about the early bird getting the worm and laughs all day as he snacks heartily!

If I ever forget for a second the extraordinary beauty of this earth, one step outside our door reminds me that it is always near me, vast and omnipresent. Nature, the greatest artist of all, has painted this place where we live in every color on her palette. My heart sings.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Carman

All photography courtesy of our private collection.

As you read the poem I have selected and see the photographs I have shared, click on each one to enlarge it and take a walk with me through the gardens. The sunlight drapes the tulips in a glittering light which renders the petals almost translucent. See the Royal Star Magnolia's bloom of pure white splendor. There is a tiny spider climbing one of the pink tulip buds...can you see it? The weeping cherry tree is losing its blooms so that it can dress itself in green while the pink and purple tulips dance around it. I see the beginning of a bouquet my husband has planted for me when my eyes find the yellow tulip buds not yet open. The gifts of this garden await my eyes each morning, tulips singing to me through my kitchen window and shining gloriously, speaking to me of love and nature's precious mysteries.

Beauty is always there just waiting to be found.



I heard the spring wind whisper
Above the brushwood fire,
"The world is made forever
Of transport and desire.

"I am the breath of being,
The primal urge of things;
I am the whirl of star dust,
I am the lift of wings.

"I am the splendid impulse
That comes before the thought,
The joy and exaltation
Wherein the life is caught.

"Across the sleeping furrows
I call the buried seed,
And blade and bud and blossom
Awaken at my need.

"Within the dying ashes
I blow the sacred spark,
And make the hearts of lovers
To leap against the dark."


I heard the spring light whisper
Above the dancing stream,
"The world is made forever
In likeness of a dream.

"I am the law of planets,
I am the guide of man;
The evening and the morning
Are fashioned to my plan.

"I tint the dawn with crimson,
I tinge the sea with blue;
My track is in the desert,
My trail is in the dew.

"I paint the hills with color,
And in my magic dome
I light the star of evening
To steer the traveller home.

"Within the house of being,
I feed the lamp of truth
With tales of ancient wisdom
And prophecies of youth."


I heard the spring rain murmur
Above the roadside flower,
"The world is made forever
In melody and power.

"I keep the rhythmic measure
That marks the steps of time,
And all my toil is fashioned
To symmetry and rhyme.

"I plow the untilled upland,
I ripe the seeding grass,
And fill the leafy forest
With music as I pass.

"I hew the raw, rough granite
To loveliness of line,
And when my work is finished,
Behold, it is divine!

"I am the master-builder
In whom the ages trust.
I lift the lost perfection
To blossom from the dust."


Then Earth to them made answer,
As with a slow refrain
Born of the blended voices
Of wind and sun and rain,
"This is the law of being
That links the threefold chain:
The life we give to beauty
Returns to us again."

~William Bliss Carman~

"Earth Voices" is reprinted from April Airs: A Book of New England Lyrics. Bliss Carman. Boston: Small, Maynard and Company, 1916.

Bliss Carman was born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1861 with a maternal ancestry traced back to Ralph Waldo Emerson. He received undergraduate, and graduate degrees in New Brunswick, Canada, leaving to attend Oxford and Edinburgh but did not complete post graduate work there. He returned to New Bruanswick where he taught French and practiced law prior to leaving for Harvard. He did not complete post graduate work at Harvard but moved instead to NYC where he worked as an editor with several periodicals. He published books of essays and volumes of poetry, did notable editorial work on poetry anthologies, and was a successful speaker. He met Mary Perry King and her husband in 1896 and did collaborative work with Mrs. King, writing books on personality development, and work on masques, and intepretive dance. He relocated near this couple in Connecticut and worked with Mrs. King in a summer school program for many years. Carman was treated during the last decade of his life for tuberculosis and died in 1929 in Connecticut. Bliss Carman, the unofficial poet laureate of Canada, was buried in New Brunshwick, Canada.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Savor the Moments

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.
~Robert Frost~

All photography courtesy of our private collection.

The earth awakes and so do I. Spring’s cycle of rebirth stirs me into life again, just like the daffodils and the fragrant hyacinths scenting the air as they sway outside our door. I am drawn to the courtyard each morning like clockwork. Dawn breaks, and light slips quietly across the sky while I tip-toe down the rocky steps, made of natural boulders, and head into the garden’s secret room where bleeding hearts hang down in pink and white droplets next to ferns.

 I move past primroses of every color and an early blooming mauve rhododendron which stands tall and stately between pink lenton roses blooming since February. My eyes move quickly. I check for new green tips, hints of life. The rock garden, only a year old but so full of life, bears witness to the lively movement beneath the rich, brown mulch. Every clump of earth displaced by growth pushing up catches my eye. Old stalks of last year’s treasures remain as markers for our keen observation of new life.

I walk past a mound of heather, full and fuzzy in its purple haze.I see the day lilies and their newly formed leaves, lavender stalks which will soon flower, small azalea buds next to open blossoms. Further down I notice sedum which is now high above the ground, happily transforming into the full succulent plant whose blooms will turn from chartreuse to mauve to cinnamon through the coming months. Stems of Asian lilies are rising now on each side of the Japanese Maple. Campanula is green and full and waiting only for warmer sun to burst into purple blossom. The Cape Fuschias surprised me with their evergreen foliage in winter. The greenery in the cold, wet months was a welcome sight. Soon they will be heavy with butter blooming tubes like honeysuckle. Just below them are the orange Hardy Fuschias which will glow like the tips of burning cigars in the summer light. Both will feed the hummingbirds all season. Beneath the outer limits of the apple tree’s limbs the Euonymous shrubs sit with leaves mottled in green and yellow, veined like marble. They move along the lower garden path and bring yellow light to the perennial garden when the daffodils finish their song.

Large boulders dot this landscape, anointing it with status as I move down the path past the rhododendron heavy with buds, beyond the azaleas about to burst into bloom. Along the trail of bearded iris, their foliage tall and green and pointed, I reach the sword ferns and hydrangeas leafing out now, soon to be huge balls of pink, white, lavender, and blue.

My heart is beating faster as I walk. It is thrilling to see the rebirth of this land we own, this land which my husband loves even more than I do. I see his long arms in each shrub, on every tree trunk that stands proudly, now clean and open to the light from its late winter pruning.
I see his sweat in the green flora peeping forth, remember his placing every plant in these gardens last summer. Back to our courtyard, I gaze out over the landscape and remember him creating these gardens from earth and rock, removing tree trunks long dead, digging out a concrete wall buried long ago under soil, unearthing and removing dead roots, pulling weeds, chopping, shaping. These gardens are the diligent work of my husband, his labor a gift to me. I see his love of this land, his pride in the home we have made where we share our lives. It is like a portrait he is painting, done with love and exactness, with design and purpose.

I am awakened by the birth of spring in these gardens and by the love of this man whose hands untangle the plants’ tightened roots to give them life. These are the same hands which hold mine close and safe and nurture me with tenderness. It is time for me to climb back into the warmth of our bed and savor the moments left for sleep.

Too soon the sun will rise higher in the sky and call him to leave our bed to begin this day.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Hafiz of Shiraz

Photography Credit: "In the Treetops"
from our personal collection

         All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

~ Hafiz~

From: The Subject Tonight is Love
translated by Daniel Ladinsky

The dates of his life are not exact, but it is believed Hafiz of Shiraz, beloved Persian poet, was born in 1320s AD in South Central Iran and lived until about the age of 69. Like Rumi he was one of the great Sufi poets belonging to a spiritual movement seeking truth and wisdom. The Sufi Movement focused on unity, balance, harmony, love, and beauty, with universal arms which were respectful of all religious teachings and beliefs. He used the ghazal, a strict poetic form of expression like the English sonnet, to create his poetry, but it is believed he may not have actually written any of his poems with pen in hand. He likely sang them or recited them aloud. He was the greatest of all lyrical poets but was not as well known in the western world. Hafiz may have composed as many as 693 poems during his life. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Haifz is a poet for poets." His poetry was referred to as the Songs of Hafiz.

Hafiz image: Artwork from cover of
I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz,
by Daniel Ladinsky

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mary, Spun of Golden Sunlight

Mary is a classy woman in Atlanta – a smart woman in her 40s, an animal lover, gardener, a sensitive woman. Mary's life has been dedicated to healing others, and her work in community service and charitable organizations is praised. She is beautiful inside and out, flaxen hair falling about her face in its journey past her shoulders, and wide-open eyes which speak the music of the inner self she carries. When I am in her presence, I sense her heart as if it is a separate party in the room. She wears love on her face. It is liquid in her voice, and it languishes in her body. Words spill off her tongue in tones which soothe those who listen. Humor is her friend, and she uses it to change a mood when hope seems lost amidst pain and fear. Visits to Mary’s office are like trips for ice cream on hot Sunday afternoons – whatever is rustling your reserve can disappear with the first taste.

Mary became my doctor first and my friend as time passed. I went to her in significant pain, feeling hopeless to change the course of events which were playing roulette with my life. I wanted to be worry and pain free. Soon a bride-to-be with a lover who had turned my life upside down with joy and tenderness, I was stuck in a body screaming at me. The love which we shared was such a rich blessing, and I wanted to fully enjoy this time in our lives. I wanted to climb pain-free onto the private yacht where our wedding would take place on a warm summer's night on Puget Sound. I had a busy agenda during the next 6-8 months with a wedding and a relocation to Seattle to plan. My spirits were sinking, anchored somewhere between depression and my chronic pain which burned like a hot iron on tender flesh.

Mary came into the room of our first meeting, radiating cheerfulness with a huge smile that pulled her lips wide. She asked me many questions and carefully listened to every word I spoke. When I finished my tale with chin quivering and tears glistening on my cheeks, Mary put her arms around me, hugged me close, and said she had magic tricks and she knew she could help me. Within the hour she proceeded to move through several modalities of treatment bringing my rigid and ropey muscles to more flexibility. She and I began a treatment regimen that afternoon which continues. Even though we now live in Seattle, we travel 2673 miles twice a year to visit friends and family, and one of the first things on our agenda is to SEE Mary. Time spent with Mary is like revisiting a book you love or listening to a story which soothed you as a child. There is much joy, lots of squeals, giggles, squeezes, and snuggly hugs as soon as my husband and I arrive. He loves her as much as I do.

Since our relocation to Seattle, Mary and I keep in touch by e-mail correspondence, sharing the news of our lives. My husband and I have eagerly awaited her first visit to the Pacific NW. Shortly after we left Atlanta, Mary fell in love with another doctor we also know and love. This news sparked a big celebration for us who were both excited to hear of their joy. How thrilling it has been to see Mary happy and to know she is sharing her life with someone who values her, respects and loves her in every way that she deserves! The glow she wears could compete with the full sun on a beach at high noon as she talks about the rewarding blessings in her life and the joy she finds in each day. She now lives with love and devotion and the enchanting dreams and plans of their tomorrows. A mountain retreat, puppies shared and loved, mutual friends whose joy of this exciting merger could be heard all over town, and finally an office practice together – these things now decorate their lives.

Recently our electricity went out leaving us in total darkness on a windy, late-winter's night early in March. My husband’s cell phone also makes a wireless connection to the internet. I asked him to check my mail while he was online. "A letter from Mary," he said, and I asked him to read it to me. This letter brought the first news that Mary has a brain tumor, an inoperable brain tumor. The words stuck in my mind – eyes fixed upon my husband’s face, searching for some sign that this was not true, registering the words, then searching again. Stunned, I sat in my chair momentarily mute. Hearing that Mary was going through this very scary medical emergency, almost 3,000 miles away, made me long for the Atlanta I had not missed before now. Oh, I had missed the friends, but never the city. Now I wanted the familiar city, wanted to be close enough to feel like I was “close.” I wanted to be able to see Mary with my own eyes.

Since that night, she has had a shunt put into her brain to relieve the pressure. There is no definitive medical plan at this moment while she and her partner research the best alternatives and the best medical facilities to handle this situation. Friends, family, and patients alike have joined together to form a huge network of love and support. Mary is adored by people everywhere. She is a lamp of hope and love in so many people’s lives, a giver of health and promise. It is no wonder she is loved in such huge proportion, an amount that seems to surprise her as she is washed in it daily. She is basking in this love, finding solace when her heart is heavy, watching the detour signs, layering talk about tomorrow with medical terms about tumor shrinkage instead of simply focusing on the mountain cabin they are building. She is focused now on living. She is cared-for and caregiver. Everyone must be worried, but we keep a chin up and a positive attitude. All I know for sure is how my heart feels. It aches at the prospect of this extraordinary woman being in any peril, this woman who has been a savior to so many, whose loving heart has been given away more times than she can count, to so many of us.

Please add Mary to your prayer list, to your thoughts, to your wish list. Send her good energy filled with healing words and images. Imagine her head filled with joy and wisdom in such great proportion that this tumor is pushed away and reduced in power and mass. Join us please in sending loving thoughts and healing energy to this amazing woman, this healing force who has given so much life to so many. She is the wondrous face of hope and love – she is MARY.

Photgraphy, Digital Art, and Rendering shown above are from our private collection.

Art Courtesy of Photographer and Artist, Nguyen Ngoc Danh, Sacramento, California

Golden Threads

Memories of mornings when your blonde hair
shone lustrous, spun like you
of golden threads and sunlight,
dance quietly across my visits with the past,
when pain was constant
and you were there; always there.

Love dressed in such a tiny package then,
vibrant motion, healer that you are.
From every cell the healing trickled out,
while fingers kneading new life
for the needy, coaxed broken
bodies back to whole again.

You walk this earth, with sight projected far
to see beyond what lies upon the path
and let your intuition guide you forward
to nurture spirits, cleanse
the body’s chaos, remove the blocks
which keep the bones ajar.

You’ve been the hope, the dream, the gentle peace
for morning's comfort or in
the evening's light that’s cast upon
the glowing limbs, as redwoods bid goodnight
to one more sun and bid a new
one’s rise for dawn’s release.

With love we come as one to sing your praise
while you are fighting for
your days ahead amidst us all whose lives
you have changed. We reignite
the loving touch you gave and send it
back to heal and light your days.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Sexton


Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.

~ Anne Sexton ~

             1928 - 1974
Anne Sexton, acclaimed confessional poet, was the 1967 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry. A close friend of poet Maxine Kumin, and a colleague and friend of Sylvia Path, Sexton wrote poetry about her life as a woman, her depression and torment. It was poetry that kept her alive: she suffered from mental illness and alcoholism for years, making 2 attmepts on her life. Despite her success as a poet and speaker, she finally did kill herself at age 46 in the garage of her MA home; death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Photography Credit: Anne Sexton Photograph; Rollie McKenna, photographer;
University of Pennsylvania, Photographs of American Poetry Review Records,

Words: How important they are...these utterances which keep us connected and give us language by which we speak, write, teach, learn, invent, search, collaborate, find commonality and differences, create community, share lives, and make love. These most enchanting of tools can become the most hurtful at the turn of a letter or tone. We are always charged with remembering how powerful words can be, how selection is critical to the moment, to the truth, and to the heart.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Wordsworth

Photograph: From our private collection


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

~William Wordsworth~

William Wordsworth, celebrated British poet and England's poet laureate in 1843, was orphaned by age 13 and was largely disinterested in academics. His friendship with Samuel Coleridge, in conjunction with a financial grant bestowed him at a friend's death, marked the beginning of his devotion to poetry. Around 1791 Wordsworth traveled to France and met a woman with whom he had an illegitimate daughter. He supported this child financially though he returned to England in 1792 and later married his childhood friend, fathering 5 children. By the end of his life Wordsworth, the most celebrated poet in the world, was considered primary to the English Romantic movement, characterized by writing which focused largely on relationships with nature.

Wordsworth is buried with his wife, who died 9 years later, at Grasmere churchyard, in Grasmere, Cumbria, the northernmost village in the Lake district of England.
Wordsworth wrote "Daffodils" in 1804, the first poem I remember memorizing as a young student.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Levertov

Photography: Rattlesnake Ridge, Washington,
From our private collection


Brilliant, this day – a young virtuoso of a day.
Morning shadow cut by sharpest scissors,
deft hands. And every prodigy of green –
whether it's ferns or lichens or needles
or impatient points of buds on spindly bushes –
greener than ever before. And the way the conifers
hold new cones to the light for the blessing,
a festive right, and sing the oceanic chant the wind
transcribes for them!
A day that shines in the cold
like a first-prize brass band swinging along
the street
of a coal-dusty village, wholly at odds
with the claims of reasonable gloom.

~ Denise Levertov ~

© 1999 Denise Levertov, from The Great Unknowing: Last Poems

      Denise Levertov, 1923-1997
Born in England, Levertov and her husband emigrated to the US in 1948 where she taught at Brandeis, MIT, Tufts, UW, and Stanford. A celebrated American poet, she published 20 books of poetry. Inspired by Mt. Rainier, she lived in Seattle from 1982 until her death.

            © David Geier Photography