Country Mountains

Country Mountains

Today is my 90th birthday. It might seem confusing since I have been celebrating
this birthday for several days now.

On Saturday, 19 of my family, across three
generations including four great-grandsons, took me out to Tequila Mockingbird for dinner.

Poetry or the lyrics of songs always accompany any occasion in this family of assorted creatives. Just now I pulled out a birthday folder of 2 poems and Lizzie’s comments following each.


I intended to share one poem by Pablo Neruda,
closely related to my own art,when I noticed Lizzie’s comment on the first poem:

The first line made me think of you and how often I say to

you that I long for you to fall in love with yourself, to

remember who you are in your startling beauty and passion.

I push this —and this poem made me realize there is no need

to push this. It happens. It happens. We find that love

when we find it — and until then —we are held in our knowing,

held in patient, loving arms, held in our troubled sleep —

held in our darkness — held in the mountains.”

Here is that first poem:


There is one memory deep inside you,
in the dark country of your life.
It is a small fire burning forever.

Even after all these years
of neglect
the embers of what you have
known rest contented
in their own warmth.

Here in the mountains,
tell me all the things
you have not loved.
Their shadows will tell you
they have not gone,
they became this night
from which you drew away in fear.

Though at the trail’s end,
your heart stammers
with grief and regret
in this
final night
you will lead down at last
and breathe again on the
small campfire of your
only becoming.

And draw about You
the immensity
of the black sky
which loves your fire’s

The deep shadow
that forever
you in its arms.

The low song
of the long
and patient night
that holds you
in your sleep

and stitches
with that impossible light
the dark blanket
from which you were born.


Lizzie ended with ‘held in the mountains’, the mountains of memory
for us being the Catskill mountains in New York State.

I love the next to last stanza: ‘the low song of the long and patient
night that holds you in your sleep,’ —- recalling the sound sleep of
youth and memories of each annual trip up to the “country mountains”.

Thank you, one and all, who are sharing this journey with me.

with love …

Sensual Summer

Painting by Katie Kindilien. katiekindilien
Painting by Katie Kindilien. katiekindilien

According to the calendar we are coasting the curve to Autumn already.
I’l bet you and I are only just getting started to enjoy this delayed season!

So, let it be so, let it be joyous, unplanned, spontaneous, and rich.

Let the words of Mary Oliver give us permission:

“Sixty-seven years, oh Lord, to look at the clouds,
the trees in deep, moist summer,

daisies and morning glories
opening every morning

their small, ecstatic faces —
Or maybe I should just say

How I wish I had a voice
like the meadowlark’s,

sweet, clear, and reliably
slurring all day long

from the fencepost, or the long grass
where it lives

in a tiny but adequate hut
beside the mullein and the everlasting,

the faint pink roses
that have never been improved, but come to bud

then open like little soft sighs
under the meadowlark’s whistle, its breath-praise,

its thrill song, its anthem, its thanks, its
alleluia, Alleluia, oh Lord.”

………………………… MARY OLIVER, quoted in the book,
A Dream of Summer, selected by Robert Atwan, and titled:
While I Am Writing a Poem to Celebrate Summer, the
Meadowlark Begins to Sing.

Open your window early, and take it in.

always with love,

Brilliant Blue World

imageWriter, artist, poet, readers, we all share a way of seeing that inspires a day to contain richness in new ways. In a book on the art of Georgia O’Keefe, a companion piece of writing by Willa Cather showed up.

Let me share this with you:

“The sky was full of motion and
change as the desert beneath it was monotonous
and still — and there was so much sky, more than at sea,
more than anywhere else in the world. The plain
was there, under one’s feet, but what one saw
when one looked about was that

brilliant blue world

of sinking air and moving cloud.”

……………………WILLA CATHER………………………………….

After the momentous weather of yesterday in this eastern part of the U.S.A. to imagine a day of such beauty is an option.

always with love,


imageI have thought of cooking as time-consuming and an
interruption of my day. I am amazed at those who relax
in cooking and find delight in that task!

I’m always grateful to receive the results of cooking,
and so it is with respect for that that I include this
ode to the process:


Peeling, chopping, cutting, mincing, slicing
measuring, pouring, stirring, poaching,
bubbling, frying, turning, simmering, serving.
These are words I cook with.
They are all motion, all process.

I know as I create this meal
there is another cooking going on.
It, too, is all motion, all process —
an inner transformation.
Help me to give myself away
as easily as this carrot, this new potato.
I want my layers to peel away like the onion’s.
I want to be empty and clean
as the universe in a sweet green pepper
with its white star seeds.”

……………GUNILLA NORRIS, from her book,
Being Home, a Book of Meditations. 1991

“white star seeds” indeed. It is in such awareness of
the ordinary beauty of dailiness that we become
the stirring, bubbling personal expression of all
that is lovely and lively in just being alive.

always with love,


image“Wild Oats”, what a funny way to put how we grow up,
live our lives as if that were all there is, and then sum
it up as ‘wild oats’! All along the way I have
looked eagerly ahead to a better time, a joyous reunion
of questions answered. I will know it all.

Perhaps it’s just a turn of the head,
a motion relaxed, and right now is enough.
Let’s see what the poet has to say on this:
“In the language of heaven
the angel said
go make your own garden

I dream I am here
in the morning
and the dream is its own time

Looking into the old well
I see my own face
then another behind it

There I am
morning clouds
in the east wind

No one is in the garden
the autumn daisies
have the day to themselves

All night in the dark valley
the sound of rain arriving
from another time

September when the wind
drops and to us it seems
that the days are waiting

I needed my mistakes
in their own order
to get me here

Here is the full moon
bringing us

I call that singing bird my friend
though I know nothing else about him
and he does not know I exist

What is it that I keep forgetting
now I have lost it again
right here

I have to keep telling myself
why I am going away again
I do not seem to listen

In my youth I believed in somewhere else
I put faith in travel
now I am becoming my own tree.”

……………W. S. MERWIN, from his new book, The Moon Before Morning, 2014

I wish I could tell stories the way a poem is told.
Just a few words sets the scene, carries the story
ahead to a pause that I can handle.

“now I am becoming my own tree.”

I’ll bet I could have said this again and again
starting from being 21 years old. You, too, are here
no matter how soon or far you are in life.

always with love,


My friend Barry Guthertz and four other photographers had
an opening yesterday at a Gallery in Norwalk and the beauty
blew my mind.  Figure of speech, but the deep, dramatic color
of our planet’s places call for that.

I sit here and wonder at seeing color so out of one’s usual realm
and can return to see it again in my mind’s eye.  I found this poem
in a book called, “Everything Waits To Be Noticed” and want to
share it with you:


Still seeking
the tallness of a tree
on which to alight,
the promised olive

emerging from the
vast turbulent waters
of God’s disappointment
slowly, too slowly

the released bird
of our headlong hope
pierces the air
in its searching flight.

Yet again it returns
failing to find footing.

Again we revive it,
tend it,
sing to it of our
yearning for a
long-imagined peace

and with an absurdly
irrational patience
launch it once more
into the blue air,
probing for possibilities.

The rainbow signified
there would be
no more all-cleaning
all-renewing floods

so we shall have
to work piecemeal,
make it on our own,
one dove-delivered
branch at a time.”

……………CAROL A. ARMSTRONG, in her book
of poems, Everything Waits To Be Noticed. 2011

Always love,

Photo by Barry Guthertz. "Valley of the Gods"
Photo by Barry Guthertz. “Valley of the Gods”


How does a new day begin?  How does a new way of life start?
How does it suddenly become apparent that there is a new way,
a new idea, a  new dream?

Perhaps it’s just an awakening.

” In that first
hardly noticed
in which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
and frighteningly
where everything
there is a small
into the day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can live
is too small
for you to live.

What you can live
will make plans
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.

You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Now, looking through
the slanting light
of the morning
window toward
the mountain
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to your
one love?  what shape
waits in the seed
of you to grow
and spread
its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting
in the fertile sea?
In the trees
beyond the house?
In the life
you can imagine
for yourself?
In the open
and lovely
white page
in the waiting desk?”

…………..DAVID WHYTE,  his poem
entitled, What to Remember When Waking,
found in the book, ‘ten poems to change
your life again & again’ by ROGER HOUSDEN.

So we pass it on, one to another, encouraging
the emptiness to take its own form.

always with love,

Photo by Iam Williams
Photo by Iam Williams


I’ve just put down the artist’s book, True Nature, by Barbara Bash.
It’s been my summer daily practice to read a page or two each
morning, first thing.

Right now, this morning, I have left the page where the artist, alone
in the dark woods at night, has summoned the courage to simply
stay there for the moment.

I have had to pause, also, and allow her to be there, not pressing
forward in pages to where she would be out of the woods,
in the clear.

So, here I am. I’ve put the book down as the dawn emerged
outside my window. It’s the Fall Equinox, the end of summer and
the start of Autumn; change of season, change of view. As I sat
there, I looked over at the bookcase, opposite me, and noticed
that I can see the clear under-sides of the shelves as they go up
toward the ceiling.

The higher the go, the more I can see, …they seem so much
deeper. By the time I reach the top shelf, the underside looks
like the sky! There’s a lot more space up on that top shelf than
I had realized.

Is that what expanding consciousness is about, more room at
the top? A sense of those quiet, empty spaces, the underside of
each shelf gave me a new perspective, the art supplies that
crowd the shelves no longer the practical focus.

Today does feel different. I feel quiet, a bit at sea, a real pause.
Maybe all I had to do was share this with you for me to step into
Autumn, a new season, a new beginning.

From where I’m sitting, that looks really empty and full of promise.

with love …


I used to often allow my then-restless-spirit to move
my room around. Each season, my soul really wanted
a new venue, and found one. I love calendars: each
month a new view as I pass by.

Here a poet has expressed a similar approach:


Vision without,
vision within,
both nurture me
as portals of beauty.

With the fire of passion,
I see the world anew.
With the crystal of clarity,
I see my purpose within.

I am on
a voyage of discovery,
discovering my eyes,
discovering my hands
as portals and bearers
of something passed
from the source
to the world.

Each time a thing of beauty passes through me,
I am startled and thrilled and filled with joy.
May I continue to honor the journey
and find ways to share the beauty
through acts of love and generosity.

What goes around comes around.
Blessed Be!

………….CATHY FARRELL, Nov. 19, 2009,
as shared in her art calendar for April, 2011

Later today we will officially welcome the season of
S P R I N G, the Equinox.

Hello, you are most welcome.

with love …


Summer is full upon us, and for several days I have awakened to
golden light falling across my room. I can stretch in its warmth.

How luscious!

“In lush abundance how relieving it is to be stripped
down to essentials, to the bare truth that we are small,
insignificant, and precious. This is what is real.
To this essential poverty all is given.”

……..GUNILLA NORRIS, from A Mystic Garden,
Working with Soil, Attending to Soul.

I want to edit that quote, to eliminate words like

I will keep stripped,
bare truth,
because it is easy to accept those words,
that concept, in a season when each day
we can wear a different, washable THING!

When each day, we slip bare feet in sandals,
and the flip-flap sound is music.

It’s full summer. Very quietly, after days and weeks
of rain and cold fog, summer is here, really here.

I can be in awe of all that is alive.

I can be in natural wonder.

I can know the pace of peace.

Ah, summer.

with love …