Friday, July 27, 2012


Have you ever had the pleasure of watching a baby learn to walk?  Those tentative first steps?  The moment they let go and step out.  Hands free.  What are the parents doing?  Are they modeling the walking?  "One foot in front of the other Junior.  That's it.  You pick up your foot like this and then move it forward and put it down."

No.  Probably not.

How about when a baby learns to talk?  The babbles.  The sputtering.  What was mom doing?  Was she bent over him, "Move your jaw Junior.  Lift your tongue now.  Put your lips together and push out some air." 

No.  Probably not.

There's a whole bunch of stuff out there that gets learned just because it gets learned.  They learn it because we live it.  We are not teaching it.  We are doing it.  Are they following our lead or just doing what comes naturally?

Who knows?  It doesn't matter.  It gets done.

The tiny acorn lands where it lands and simply does what it's made to do.  The mighty oak does not stand over it and instruct.  The mighty oak rises in what can only be imagined as a living example of what's supposed to happen.

The things that acorn does not learn from its parent tree are in fact the mightiest of all.  How to grow.  How to root itself firmly as a foundation.  How to spread its branches and look for the sunlight.  How to grow leaves, and house creatures and drop acorns.

What the tiny acorns knows, without having to be told, is how to grow a tree.  And a well tended tree grows.

How to grow a tree is how to grow a life.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


So they set out to build a road.  A road to pave the way.  To pave the way to places that had never been explored.  They packed everything they could think of to help them on their journey.  It was going to be epic.

They had no idea what was out there.  So much ground to cover.  So many challenges to encounter.  Deserts that threatened to lay them bare. Jungles that nearly swallowed them up.  Trees to step around. Animals to run from.  Wide open spaces where it seemed like nothing could possibly grow.  Thick tangled messes where it seemed like nothing could possibly pass.

And there were amazing treasures to behold.  Unobstructed sunsets unlike anything they had ever seen.  Glittering rivers that held more bounty than they could believe.  Amazing scenes that they could never forget.

So they made their way.  To pave the way.  The lot of them with their baggage.  They hauled their equipment for making the way.  Day after day.  And left a ribbon of road stretching out behind them.  That others could follow.

Until one day they came to a huge mountain.  It loomed over them. An immovable obstacle.  And the Captain of the group said, "This is unlike anything we have seen before, but we must pave the way.  We must go forward.  We must go over."

So the men strapped their equipment to their backs.  They loaded their heavy baggage and headed up the mountain to pave the way.  But they could not move ahead.  They lightened their load.  But they still made no progress.  It was one step forward and two steps back.  One of the crew said, "Captain, we are not equipped to climb this mountain.  We do not have the right tools.  We do not have the right experience."

And the Captain proclaimed, "We cannot go over.  But we cannot go back.  We must go around.  Let us find a way around.”

So the group traveled east for days and days.  And the mountains got taller and taller.  And there did not seem to be a way around.  One of the men said to the Captain, "This cannot be the way.  We must go back to where we started and try the other way."

So they retraced their steps to the place where they had first met the obstacle and they tried the western route.  More mountains.  And endless chain of the same overwhelming obstacles met them at each step.  They had traveled for many days and nights when one of the men said, “Captain we have gone so far and we have not made any progress.  We have gone from east to west and side to side.  We have walked for days and days but we have not gone forward.  We have not paved the way.

The Captain was defeated.  He said, “This mountain cannot be conquered.  Maybe this is the end of our journey.  Maybe this is the place we are supposed to be.”

And there was a tiny voice from the back of the group that said, “Captain, there is another way.

“What is this way?  There does not seem to be another way.”

And a young man came forward with a box that read TNT.

“Captain.  This box contains something amazing that will let us go through the mountain.” said the young man.
And the company laughed.
“Boy, you have no experience!” 
“Ha!  What do you know?”
“You have been nowhere.  Done nothing!  This cannot possibly be true.”

“Nobody goes through a mountain.”

And the young man said, “I assure you Captain.  The contents of this box will allow us to go through the mountain.  It will take down parts of this mountain.  It will be destructive and I cannot imagine the perils that await us on the inside, but if we are careful, and we learn as we go, we can make our way through to the other side.”

The Captain said, “Boy!  We have had this box all long and you said nothing?”

“Yessir.   We did not need this box the cross the river.  We did not need this box to cross the desert. The contents of this box would not have made the sunsets more beautiful or helped us to gather the treasures along the way.  We have not needed it yet.  But we have had it all along.  Yes.  And we need it now.”

So they began to go through the mountain.  It was slow.  And it was treacherous.  The men were terrified and the way was dark.  But it was forward.  And that felt good, because they had not been moving forward for a long time.

Before they knew it the first cracks of light began to show.  And the cracks became beams of sun and the beams became spaces to gaze through.  When they finally emerged from the other side of the mountain they looked back on the immovable obstacle that had stalled their progress for so long.  
The Captain proclaimed, “That is one huge mountain.”

And the young man said, “No sir, actually, now it has become just one more thing we had to get through.

What is your mountain?
What have you carried with you all this way 
that will make that mountain 
just one more thing you’ve got to get through?

Monday, July 9, 2012


The truth about coffee...according to me.

It's hot.
It's even good cold.
It's good dressed up fancy.  Or just plain.
It gets me going.
It keeps me going.
I can go without it.  But I prefer not to.
It makes me shake with excitement.
I'd love to have it every day.
It smells wonderful.
Sometimes it makes my head spin so fast I can't even speak correctly.
When asked if I'd like some, I always say, "Yes. Please."
There's a whole lot of things you can add it to...and it makes them even better.
It makes me warm inside.
Sometimes just holding it makes me feel better.
I have no plans to give it up.  Ever.  For any reason.
It fills me up.
Of all the ways to prepare it, I find the French Press to be the most elegant.
It's good in the morning.
It's good in the afternoon.
It's good at night...but it keeps me up way past my bedtime.

The truth about my husband...according to me.

Pretty much all the same things.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I know this woman.  Not terribly well, but I do know her.  I follow her posts on Facebook and I have actually spent time with her.  In person.  
This woman.  This mother, wife, friend.  I rarely see her laugh.  That bubble up, burst out explosion of air that speaks joy without words.  The break in a calm facade that starts with a wrinkle of your nose and sneaks out, head thrown back, that's funny!
It makes me sad that I cannot call to mind a time in our recent history when I recall her laughter.  So.  Sad.  She has funny things in her life, I'm sure.  Happy people.  Time.  
I think perhaps, these days, she is missing the one thing you cannot laugh without.
The following excerpt has been reposted from its original location on in July of 2010 because I found myself writing the same essay all over again.  And that didn't seem necessary.
"You can hold your breath, 
but you cannot pretend you don't breathe."

Even as he speeds back to me I can feel myself clawing towards the surface.  Mouth gaping in a silent scream.  Chest burning, ready to explode with my need for air.  The harder I push the father away it seems.  He's been gone for weeks now...the Father, my partner, my Love, my air... and I've been holding my breath.  Blah, blah, blah...I can function without him here, yes.  But it's not natural.  You can hold your breath.  I can hold my breath.  It is my choice.  My ability.  Yes. 

I'm better at it than I used to be.  That's how it is with learning to hold your breath.  The more you practice, the better you get at it.  The longer you can go without air.  So yes.  I can go longer these days.  I'm better at it.  But it keeps getting harder too.

Because now it's not just me.  It's me and three little girls.  And the part time job.  And the house guests.  And the old black dog.  And the new puppy...what was I thinking?  Oh that's right, I wasn't thinking...thinking is a non-essential function when you're just trying to make your breath last longer.  I've learned that if I stop doing all sorts of cooking, and reading, and shopping, and blogging... while I hold my breath, I can go longer before I start clawing towards the surface.

We do hold our breath sometimes.  We do dip just below the surface for a time and go without the things we need, because by doing that we gain something.  We can be enveloped by that water that lets us fly as long as we know at some point we're going to have to come up for air.  Because that same liquid that supports our unburdened flight, can also become too much.  If we stay too long it can swallow us up just as easily as it lets us fly.  You can take steps to stay beneath the surface, to go without air.  You can learn to live differently.  But even the fish needs air.  If you're going to live, you need air.  You need the things you need.  To be yourself.  And having him here is a big part of being me.
So now he's back, the one I needed, and I'm not holding my breath any longer.  But I'm not breathing easy yet.  No, not yet. Because when you do break the surface, and take the breath you've been dying for, it's not just a breath.  It's a gasp.  Deep.  Frantic maybe.  A bit of taking in as much as you possibly can because you've gone without.  And that can be both good and bad.  It takes some time for my breathing to return to normal when I've gone without air for so long.  I was doing just fine here without him, as unnatural as that was, just fine.  Restricting my movements, less of everything, just so I could make my breath last.  And now my gasping to have my needed one back is a new struggle.  I need him to do all those things I wasn't doing while I survived.  And do them quickly.  Now!  Please.  Faster.  More.  Now that I have my breath back there's no limit to what needs to be done.  Right?  Wrong.  It takes some time for the breathing to return to normal.  Just give it time.  Catch your breath.  Breathe easy because pretty soon you're going to do it again.
"You can hold your breath, 
but you cannot pretend you don't breathe."

...and when you're holding your cannot laugh either.  Exhale my friend.  Exhale.