Friday, July 28, 2017


It's been one of those weeks.

You'd think it was due to the rapid approach of Fest, but MNRF is the furthest thing from my mind lately....

No, there's been other stuff, hospitals and health-related stuff (not for me, for someone I love), and some crazy shenanigans in the White House, and things that have raised my blood pressure and made me question whether or not I went to sleep one night and woke up in a Stephen King novel. The kind where otherwise intelligent and empathetic people suddenly go off the rails and begin wreaking havoc for no apparent reason. Nothing makes sense! It was REALLY not making sense about this time a year ago, but this is off the charts now....


After a couple days of back-and-forth hospital visits spent in a car full of memories, remembering the past and wondering about the future, studying the physical effects of the passage of Time, and being waaaaay far away in my head, I finally got myself in to the Studio. I opened the door there and saw leaves EVERYwhere -- some awaiting their frames, some spread out on my little table, some raked into a pile on the floor, some in various stages of completion, others sticking out of books and bags and boxes, others decorating the walls. Their mess was everywhere. Their scent was glorious.

Dr. Leo Buscaglia
Walking into the room reminded me of an anecdote once shared on PBS by the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia. He told his audience then of his great love of leaves and how one Autumn friends of his raked up a whole yardful, carried them into his house, and dumped the lot onto his livingroom rug. (The camera was focused on some older ladies in the audience when he said this, and the looks of alarm on their faces was priceless. I was reminded of my mother. In fact, when I recall this particular program now, I sense her in the background behind me, aghast, just like those women. But then he went on to say that all winter long, he and his friends hung out in that livingroom, sitting in piles of leaves. Everyone laughed. The audience ladies giggled uncomfortably, perhaps imagining all the eventual compost. I'll never forget the anecdote, and I can recall that feeling of recognizing a kindred spirit out there in Television Land....)

He loved leaves, too.
After hanging up my backpack and sitting down to work, I found that I didn't know how to begin, where to start. Should I clean the room? Would that make me feel better? Make a list? (Lists always soothe me....) Turn on Public Radio and let Capitol Hill wind me up some more? A class of kids was noisily and animatedly creating art outside my door, so there was no chance to stroll around the classroom and get my bearings. I didn't even feel comfortable using the microwave out there for my tea, in case I disturbed them.

Then I remembered headphones. And the audio book I'd bought at a sale -- 'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper (read it years ago and loved it). And soon I was caught up in the tale, and before I knew it there were gilded leaves in front of me, old and crisp things that were suddenly beyond beautiful. Even the imperfect and overlooked ones were now soothing my soul.

Things weren't perfect by the time I left for the day, but they were definitely better. And I'll take that! I'll take that and run with it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Snapshot of My Afternoon

Tumbledown is in shadow.

A single light illuminates my stovetop where a dozen tiny eggs hardboil in an enamel pan.

Outside, the once busy run is deserted, its hens hunkered down in fresh mounds of straw while trembling leaves overhead give evidence of the gentle rainfall….

And I stand inside at the dark door and watch it as I sip fragrant tea in a favorite cup and enjoy the rumbly thunder.