Archive for the ‘roadblocks’ Category

morning tracks in snow

across fresh snow
on the back porch
beg to be captured,
I don’t know why,
the same way
I don’t know why
I had to write down
all that happened,
just so it’s there
the view from my window.

But they’ve caught my attention,
made me wonder.

Have the tracks I was leaving
been erased by what’s happened?
The answer, I think,
lies in my response,
the steps still to come.
It’s all one long story,
the story of a life.

I think I’ll get dressed and go to church and see my people,
the people with the long view.

How It Starts

How It Starts

Real Reason Most Journals are Abandoned

Real Reason Most Journals are Abandoned

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Follow the stone markers,
I’m told.

I go up the dusty barren road
3 times
before I see them,
they blend in so well.

And isn’t that always the way?
There they were
the whole time,
but I was imagining something else,
looking for something different

* * *


Even now, seeing them plain as day,
I hesitate,
stopping to consider, to assess,
looking into the scrub,
whether this can indeed be the way to go.
It looks like a path to nowhere.

I have no reason to trust this,
except it was told to me
by someone who’s made the trek.

* * *

I step off, following.
Piles of rock are all I have to go by.
Stone markers.
A pure faith walk.

There’s something so foreign about it.
Also, freeing.

A slight twist,
a small turn
all of a sudden
there it is
just what I’ve been looking for –
so close by
all along

And isn’t that always the way?






images: Photos from my visit to the Threshold installation at Laity Lodge.

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AN UPDATE on the shade garden, a reminder that even in places where people say nothing will grow, things can happen. Never give up.



the shade garden in 2013


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“How about we choose one a week that we don’t talk about it?”

AFTER WE GIVE HUGS and send them off, the little family…

After the Tangoes are put away
and the Ken doll’s sandal is found laying on a table
and the Matryoshka dolls
are tucked back into each other, safe…

After I take care of the sticky
from the orange juice spill,
and smile,
thinking of the moment the cup tipped
and how much this old table has seen…

I am glad for the friend,
slowed by the storm
on his way from Michigan to North Carolina.
I am glad he accepted our invitation to stay the night,
glad to see his children again –
how much they’ve grown!
I am happy they remembered my house
and where the favorite toys were kept.

I am grateful for our chance to catch up,
to hear his story.
And I’m glad, I think,
we didn’t get into ours.

But mostly I’m glad
they didn’t see me cry.

* * *

SOMETHING’S got to give.

“How about for the new year
we choose one day a week
to not talk about it?” I suggest later.

Because we’ve been talking about it every day for months –
first thought in the morning,
last at night.
table conversation,
car conversation.
We consider it a good day
if no new shoes have dropped.

Heads on pillows,
we sigh long,
every 24 hours, like clockwork,
how we will ever fall asleep.
We always do, though.

Can we do it?
Can we pick one day a week and not talk about it?
Is it possible?
Is it healthy?

We refine the plan:
“If something comes up
we need to discuss, we will,
then choose a different day that week.”

And it feels like progress
’cause somewhere along the line
you have to take back control of your life
and maybe this is a start.

If we’re ever again
going to have a life
not dominated by this crisis,
better start now.

An act of faith that it’s possible. Practicing for it.

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I’VE BEEN LIVING in the midst of a storm
that hit
without warning –

no time to batten hatches,
no time to acquire Band-Aids large enough
to stop the bleeding.

By the time it hit
it was too late for that.

* * *

Already I’ve spent:

sufficient time
beating myself up
for not having seen it coming,

sufficient imagination
on what I might have done,
had I an inkling,

sufficient panic
over who might know,

sufficient tears
washed down the shower drain

sufficient anger

sufficient self-pity
(Is this not the ugliest thing?)

I have also,
as is my tendency,

* * *

I’ve filled a journal.
I’ve gone away to a far place to breathe
and to fall into a river
not once, but twice! –

and to laugh
at the metaphor of baptism
total immersion,
I get it, but do I have to leave here
and go back home?

Yes, that’s always the sticking point, isn’t it?
Whatever the epiphany,
you come up out of the waters
and must go home
and step back into life –
the same life,
but a different you,
you hope.

Legs wobbly,
steps unsure.

I see a one-year-old
get up from a crawl,
stand on two legs
and move forward
like she’s done it many times before.
She hasn’t.

But I have.
Do I have it in me for one more time?

Sometimes, in the midst of a storm
the best we can do
is hold on.

Hold on,
and after that,
have the courage
to go out,
assess the damage
and begin again,
picking up sticks.

I have no confidence in my own ability.
Maybe that’s a good place to start.

Comments disabled. If this post resonated with you today, please share it somewhere or click “like.” Thank you for reading. As always, feel free to email me with any thoughts you have.

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WIDE AWAKE at 3 AM, I stare at the ceiling of our tent. The hot chocolate I enjoyed around the campfire a few hours ago has hit bottom.

We are one of a dozen families camped out around the perimeter of a large field. Our tent is at the extreme opposite end of from the rest rooms. It seemed like a good idea in broad daylight.

Stepping outside the tent, I see the little light bulb that hangs on the washhouse building. In the daylight, it didn’t seemed so far away.

Getting there will be a straight shot across the field, a very dark field on this moonless night, and the longer I stand there contemplating it, the darker it seems. My thoughts mushroom with all manner of ill that could befall me, images of both man and beast.

Spotting the lantern on the table, I light it and squint from its sudden brightness, but when I hold it out to walk, it doesn’t seem very bright at all. There is only sufficient illumination for the next step.

Wishing to see more, I hold the lantern out as far in front of me as I can. Still, all I can see is that next step. If I want to see what comes after that, I need to move forward. So I do.

I take a step.
And then I take another.
And then another.
On the journey across that field, I begin to understand in a new way the psalmist’s words.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.Psalm 119:105.

* * *

This blog is 4 years old today! I launched it in 2008 with the above post “Memorial Day Campout.”

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Today, a post for writers. The rest of you can move along…… :-)

I’ve been working on two major writing projects. I use the term “working” very loosely. Here’s why:

I HAVE BEEN PLAGUED for a long time by a repeating cycle. I am enthusiastic and begin to write, but am soon dogged by the thought, “Who cares about this stuff? Nobody will want to read about this.” And I stop. and it isn’t so much that I stop, but that I am so drained of enthusiasm and energy that I haven’t the oomph to put two words together.

It’s common to writers, I know, this experience.

Call it writer’s block,
call it what you want,
but it’s an awful cycle to be caught in.

I’ve tried everything. Surrounded myself with Post-its filled with words of wisdom from other writers. Reminded myself of the importance of perseverance. Mused the possible causes. Explored even more deeply the root of the negative voices. I’ve taken breathers from writing – eased off, stopped pressing it.

Nothing’s done the trick.
Maybe there is no trick.

Yes, I’ve toyed with quitting. Quitting trying. But still, there in front of my face hangs the story waiting to be told, to be written. (More than one actually.) It doesn’t go away. I start again, newly resolved, all the quotable quotes about applying the seat of pants to the seat of the chair firmly set before me.

I have applied for other types of work, work that will take me away from the writing. Maybe I will be refreshed by that, or at least my time will be taken up by something else and I will stop doing this dance with the writing. Let me be productive and useful somewhere, please!

I was away last week, caught up in a world of Playdoh and toy trains and Superman figures and singing and hide-and-seek. And even while there, lost in a child’s world, I wondered where it would end – the false starts, the failed attempts, the incessant thought that the only thing I have to say is something not worth saying, the only note I have to sing is one not worth singing. And what will I do? What is going to be the end of all this?

* * *

I WOKE TO THE SOUND of freezing rain and snow plows at 4:30 Saturday morning. Me, with a 6-hour drive home in front of me and suitcase packed and waiting by the door. Stuck.

No sense grousing about the weather.

While the rest of the house slept, I coffeed and chatted with my son who’d just returned from a week away. Nice! The Weather Channel’s continuous updates ran quietly in the background. Soon daylight crept in and there was stirring in the far reaches of the house.

Then came the sound of a 3-1/2 year-old’s voice from upstairs. “Grammie! Grammie! I want to show you something!”

Down the stairs he came, calling out. “C’mon, Grammie! I want to show you something and it’s white!” All his speech is in exclamation points these days. He grabbed my hand to take me back up the stairs.

“You can see it from down here, too,” others said, but he wouldn’t hear of it. His mind was set. Up the stairs we went. Up the stairs, down the hall, through the doorway to the corner of the bedroom, to a window that looked out the back of the house.

“LOOK!” he said, pointing. “Snow!”

How important it was to him that I see it out that window, the very window from which he’d first seen it! And I’d been carried up the stairs by his enthusiasm for that view, his belief that it had value and was worth the trip.

And it was! Though I’d been watching the snow and ice for hours, seen it out the guest room and family room windows and even stepped outside the front door to assess conditions and test it under foot, his view really was different from the ones I’d had. It was worth the trip.

Sure, it was simply snow. H2O frozen. Common stuff. Still it was something worth showing someone. Something worth seeing.

A writer must believe the view out his/her window is worth seeing, worth it enough to show someone else. That has been missing for me for quite a long time.

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