Saturday, March 20, 2010


My car is currently in sickbay, and I am driving my son’s car. It has a stereo system that is more complicated than this one button women can handle, so instead of listening to the radio or a favorite cd, I loose myself in the hum of the motor. The buzz starts in my feet and winds through my body, swallowing every nerve and filling my body with white noise.

Friday morning, that white noise gave birth to Forgiveness.

I have met Forgiveness before.
We argue frequently.
I often refuse to listen to Forgiveness.
It’s too hard.

Forgiveness asks me to pardon anyone who has wronged me.
Forgiveness asks me to do this even when the other person has neither asked for nor earned even an atom of absolution.
Forgiveness asks me to do this even when the other person is a burr in my craw.
Forgiveness asks me to do this especially when the other person is a burr in my craw.

Forgiveness is a tenacious debater.

On Friday, Forgiveness used Perry Mason logic and skill, to lay out an argument that was irrefutable.

“Your anger holds a person in the past and as long as you are holding a person in the past, you are stuck in the past with him. By refusing to let go, you are not allowing him to move forward, and that, of course means, that you cannot move forward either.”


Time to shake off of the seductive embrace of anger and resentment that wraps me in the comforting arms of moral indignation and outrage.

It will take time.
I commit to doing the work.

I am ready to move forward.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Whose Truth?

I have been exploring the idea of Truth and realizing that the more I insist upon my truth the harder it becomes for me to see the Truth.

Take, for example, my children’s father. While I am sure there is good in him, I keep being confronted by the worst in him. I know that, at his core he is filled with Light, and yet, his effect upon me is one of Darkness.

Just when I think that I am at a point where I can co-parent with him in a mutually respectful loving way, he will do something that makes me want to spit on him and scream that he is a fucking narcissistic bastard who is unworthy of breathing the same air as decent folk.

I grab my truth and wave it frantically in front of me, as though it will some how protect me, oblivious to the fact that, in reality, it is the red cloak of the matador, inciting the Darkness.

My truth wants to blame him for the difficulties in my life.
The Truth would praise him for those very same difficulties.

My truth tells me that I am love and forgiveness and he is fear and anger.
The Truth sees that, out of all the souls in the Universe, his was the one who willing to risk my hatred in order to allow me the opportunity to learn and to further my journey toward the Light. My soul weeps with gratitude at his kindness and generosity.

The world is a whole lot lovelier when I am able to step out of my truth and be in the Truth.

I know this with every ounce of my being.
Still, too often,
My truth beckons with beguiling beauty and I follow willingly into the sultry arms of Darkness.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Safe Harbor

I was called to the hospital to respond to a report of a sexual assault.

A young woman had reported a rape. The police took the woman to the hospital for a rape kit and the suspect was detained for questioning. The police talked with each person and the two stories pretty much jibed.

Pretty much…
Except for the narrative about the actual sex act.
The man said it was consensual.
The woman said it was rape.

The man bragged to his friends about how he had just “got sex”.
The woman cried to me about how she had just been assaulted.

The rape kit will prove the sex act occurred.
The legal system must decide whose version of the truth they want to believe.

I am not hopeful that the law will side with the woman.
She was young.
She was homeless.
She was alone.

The police officer shook his head. “Looks like she just needed a way to get hooked up with [social] services,” he opined, effectively shutting the book on her case. “It’s too bad she couldn’t figure out how to do it without wasting all of our time.”

I understand that most police officers join up because they want to protect the public and catch the bad guys. I understand that this particular officer felt disappointed because his hot call was going to require a lot of paperwork and a lot of time and, in the eyes of the law, the suspect in this scenario would probably not be determined to be “bad”.
He felt his time had been “wasted” because police officers are trained to believe that protecting the public means stopping those who threaten our safety.

I am ashamed to say that, on that night, I was tired and I was so ready to leave the hospital and so I simply murmured something like, "Well, she's young." And I shook my head, just as the police officer had done, and I slid back into the room to be with the young woman.

Next time, I will challenge him to take another look.
Next time, I will offer the idea that protecting the public means helping to ensure that all citizens in our community are safe.

That night, this young woman was not safe. She was homeless and alone and scared.
That night, those of us who were there for her, made a difference.

For that moment, she was sheltered.
For that moment, she was not alone.
For that moment, she had people with whom to share her fears.
For that moment, she was safe.

It will be up to others to assist this young woman as she learns to string more moments together.
I have faith that, if the time is right, she will be able to do so.

And I know that it all started with a police officer that took a moment to answer a call to protect the public.
No one can call that wasted time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time to Change

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

I love this!

Yet, when I think about living this, it seems too overwhelming.

Change the world?
Where do I start?
What cause do I pick?

And I freeze. Every time.

And then I see Gandhi’s words in a book, or on a poster, or on someone’s blog and I think, “Wow! Yes! Love that!”

And I chew on them for a while. The words roll around my tongue. Easily. They are bold, yet they have no sharp edges. They are like vanilla ice cream, only chewy. And not store brand vanilla ice cream. They are homemade vanilla ice cream, made with real cream and real vanilla and real sugar.
And I am amazed at the extravagant simplicity.

And then I think…
Change the world?
Where do I start?
What cause do I pick?

And I freeze.

But today, I felt the beginning of a thaw.


The cold front passes and the rain warms.


Crocuses push green tips toward the promise of Spring.


The sun illuminates the edges of the grey sky and, for a moment, I understand.

It is not, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Rather it is, “BE the change you want to see in the world.”

I have been so stuck on change that I have been frozen.
Change feels so big. And so scary. And so chaotic.

But I can Be.

I can breathe.

I can work on making each breath an opportunity to re-create myself in the grandest version of the greatest vision I ever had about myself.

I can look at the world around me and see Nature: the plants, the animals, the water and the sky. All BE-ing exactly what they are meant to BE.

I can remember that I am a human BE-ing.

That, I can do.

That, I can BE.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Finding Young

My sister and I were in her kitchen fixing a salad for dinner. She had just finished tearing lettuce leaves into precise, bite sized pieces and I was cutting cucumbers into very imprecise, misshapen slices. Her husband walked through kitchen on his way to the patio to tend the chicken on the barbeque. When he passed her, he reached out and gently touched the small of her back. She smiled through downcast eyes and responded with an equally quiet caress on his arm that ended when their fingers parted in a soft kiss.

As he left the kitchen, a whisper of mesquite smoked through the door before it shut behind him with a muffled click.

My sister snapped the lid on the salad spinner and paused, shaking her head with a sigh. “I have friends who did not meet their partners until they were in their forties,” she confessed with a slight quiver in her voice, “and it seems sad to me that they never knew each other as young people. One of the things I love most about being married to AJ is that he knew me as a sweet young thing and as long as we are together, a part of me will always remain that sweet young thing to him. I like that. I like that connection to my youth. People who become couples later in life will never have that.”

I’m not sure why my sister chose that moment to share that thought with me, but I know she couldn’t have chosen a worse time to share it.

I had just ended my twenty-year marriage. I was now a single, partnerless parent in her forties. If I ever chose to become a part of a couple again, I would be part of one of those “sad” couples about whom my sister was speaking.

My sister’s words crept into my consciousness and oozed through my body, settling in suffocating silence around my heart. I ached as I mourned the loss of the sweet young thing in me. I felt doomed to a future that could never know the depth and breath of love that my sister enjoyed with her husband.

When I began dating again and found the man with whom I would fall in love, my sister’s words pulsed through my veins with each beat of my heart.

Never young.
Never young.
Never young.

Three years into this “new” relationship, I am realizing that my sister was wrong. While it is true that I was not introduced to my love until the second half of my forties, I have met the young man that he once was.

I have seen the ten year old running down a parched road, brown hair flying, blue eyes wild with excitement, eagerly waving at the passersby with the stray salmon he had just caught in the creek behind the park.

I have met the rebellious teenager, who dreamed of a different life, slept with too many girls and worked every day to help a neighbor, struggling to maintain his farm.

I have mourned with the young man who drove, untethered and alone, to Montana to pick up the body of his best friend and bring him home.

And he…he has watched me grow up.

He has watched as I have discovered a life free from those who would control me. He has witnessed my struggle with the idea of guiding my own destiny. He has been by my side as I have learned how to speak my truth and accept the consequences.

He has shown me the river in the morning and the quiet way the world wakes up when it is freed from the confines of pavement and motors, walls and alarms. He has given me a mountain playground that has allowed me to share my teenaged self with my teenaged children.

Yes, we have grey in our hair and the story of our lives is written plainly on our faces. To the outside world, we have always been old to each other. But we know better. The young in us is not gone, we have simply needed to look deeper to find it.

It is a journey has made all the difference.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


If it is true that all I really have is
moment, then it is vital that
I live
this moment

If I live this moment
then it is important that
I use
this moment
to express my best and truest self
to the world

If I express my best and truest self to the world
then every decision
I make
is right
and my path
is clear

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good to Remember

Help me to remember
I am only light
borrowing this flesh
for one brief moment,
one brief life

-Wendy Brown-Baez-

Good to remember when making decisions.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Went Fishing with My Boy and My Love

I went fishing on Sunday with my boy and my love.

I woke up before the sun and untangled myself from two strong arms and the warm tumble of a goose down comforter. I shivered myself into too many layers of clothes - long underwear, turtleneck, sweats, wool sweater, thick black Carhart coveralls, cotton socks, wool socks and fleece lined waterproof boots.

My irritation grew with each layer.
Long underwear and sweats bunched at my knees. Turtleneck and sweatshirt crept up my arms, leaving my wrists to face the wooly itch of my sweater alone and unprotected. My roomy Carharts decided to masquerade as skinny jeans and the straps hung down my back, tantalizingly out of reach.

“I hate layers!” I whined, stamping my feet in a stunningly good impression of a two year old throwing a tantrum.
“You get cold,” my love reminded me.
“But I’m un-com-for-table,” I argued.
My love sighed. He’s heard this tape before.
“My clothes don’t fit right!” I shouted at the shoulders that shrugged out the door. “FINE!” I grabbed my favorite olive green Pashmina out of my closet and wrapped it around my neck. I may be a stuffed, black denim sausage, but that didn’t mean I had to forego the soft elegance I was born to enjoy.

I clomped down the stairs and was greeted with a smile and a steaming travel mug of coconut chai tea.
My boy grinned from behind his mug of hot chocolate.
The toaster dinged.

Toast was hastily buttered and jammed.
My love grabbed fishing poles.
The dogs were shooed into the garage.
We piled into the car and zoomed into the sunrise.

Less than half an hour later we were navigating through the bramble to our favorite winter fishing spot on the Sandy. The water sparkled past the rocks, rushing around the bend into a diaphanous blanket of fog that had been trapped in the space between night and morning.

My boy baited my hook and we plunked our lines into the water. The current grabbed my line and swept my hook into a dance with the rolling pebbles at the bottom of the river. The dance ended when my hook settled into the quiet eddy just below the drop off.

“Winter steelhead find quiet spots for resting,” my love instructed. “They swim up river in schools and pull off to rest in the slow moving water. If they’re here, that’s where they’ll be.”

With my line set, I settled in for the wait and discovered a dip in the boulder that hugged my round and well-layered rear end perfectly.
My boy sat on the bank above me. Confident that his fingers knew enough to telegraph the unnatural bump that indicates a hungry fish is nosing the bait, he allowed his eyes to wander.
“Mummy, look at this rock,” he exclaimed with an excited grin that showed off his still gappy smile, “it’s orange.”
He pushed it toward me with the toe of his too big canvas fishing boot.
“Wow, it is orange! I wonder how that happened.”
My boy wasn’t listening; he was finding another river rock. This one was smooth and grey, and fairly common looking, but oh, the sound it made when he banged it against the boulder, like a muffled steeple bell glorifying all that is good in this world.

My love stood lure fishing on the bank, ten yards down the river.
Cast and reel, cast and reel.

Each time he threw out his line, he cast years of worry to the river. Within moments, I saw the young boy from Eastern Oregon come to life within the man that I love. When you meet someone in midlife, you miss the childhood moments, the life defining events. When I fish with my love, I am allowed a glimpse into those missed moments and I know him as a child and I understand him more as a man.

We left the river with no fish in our bags, but our hearts were full and our souls were fed.
Definitely a morning well spent.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


“You can tell a man by his hands.”
My mother’s words knock against the edges of my consciousness.
It is so subtle that I don’t even notice them. I don’t even know that this is what I think.

But I can tell you exactly what my father’s hands look like. Because my mother’s words tell me that it is important. That these are the kinds of hands that I should look for in a man. That these are the kinds of hands that will tell me if a man is a “good man”.

My father has ali’i hands, hands of royalty. His fingers are long. His nails are square and perfectly shaped, with lovely half moons at the bottoms and clean white crescents at the tops that stop just a whisper shy of his fingertips. His hands are smooth and the lifelines dance a pleasing pattern across his palms.

I commit his hands to memory, and I notice hands.
And I measure hands.
And I form opinions about a man’s character based upon his hands.

I married a man with my father’s hands.
I divorced that man.

The man I love today, does not have my father’s hands.

The man I love today has the hands of a worker. His fingers are short. His imperfect nails are thick shields, permanently discolored and misshapen. His hands are rough and the lifelines are buried under a crust of chapped, cracked skin.

And yet…

These are the hands that love me.
These are the hands that comfort me when words have no meaning.
These are the hands that melt into my skin and touch my soul.

My body commits these hands to memory.

Yes, mother, you are right.
You can tell a man by his hands.