Babes In Toyland

Winter Landscape, Valley of the Catskills by Charles Herbert Moore (1840-1930)

“…… Magical, merry JOYLAND…
once you pass its portals, you may never return again.”

The sounds of that music echo from my childhood.
New York’s November & December programs on stage
were standard fare in our home. My sister and I put on our white gloves,
carried our little purses, and boarded the train to Grand Central
for the magic of illusion, accompanied by the adults.

Dears, that was many moons ago, yet is this not the season
for the very young?

Who could have said it better than this:

“My heart of silk
is filled with lights
with lost bells,
with lilies and bees.
I will go very far,
farther than these mountains,
farther than the oceans,
way up near the stars,
to ask Christ the Lord
to give back to me
the soul I had as a child,
matured by fairy tales,
with its hat of feathers
and its wooden sword.”


Hearing those words, who could not reclaim that
simplicity of childhood, matured, indeed, as it has through
the years and tears and tears to the fabric of belief.

Yes, Tinker Belle, I believe!

always with love,


I have had such a wonderful week of children’s voices
filling this room with glee and the happiness of their
own creativity, all of them under 10:

My great-grandson, Seamus, who built airplanes of
feathers and poster board; Dianna’s daughter,Ally,
who drew big pictures of undersea dolphins, and
her brother, Dante, who drew lots and lots of little
people, trees and rocks.

So, awaking in the middle of this night, I went looking
for a book on children’s classics, lost my heart to
Ferdinand, to Corduroy, and always to Winnie the Pooh.

So, here’s how one of those stories ends:

“But his arms were so stiff from holding on to the
string of the balloon all that time that they stayed up
straight in the air for more than a week, and
whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had
to blow it off. And I think — but I am not sure —
that THAT is why he was always called Pooh.

‘Is that the end of the story?’ asked Christopher
‘That’s the end of that one. There are others,’
‘About Pooh and me?’
‘And Piglet and Rabbit and all of you. Don’t you
‘I do remember, and then when I try to remember,
I forget.’
‘That day when Pooh and Piglet tried to catch the
Heffalump —–‘
‘They didn’t catch it, did they?’
‘Pooh couldn’t, because he hasn’t any brain. Did
I catch it?’
‘Well, that comes into the story.’

Christopher Robin nodded.

‘I do remember,’he said, ‘only Pooh doesn’t very well,
so that’s why he likes having it told to him again.
Because then it’s a real story and not just a remembering.’
‘That’s just how I feel,’ I said.

Christopher Robin gave a deep sigh, picked his Bear
up by the leg, and walked off to the door, trailing Pooh
behind him. At the door he turned and said, ‘Coming
to see me have my bath?’
‘I might’, I said.
‘I didn’t hurt him when I shot him, did I?’
‘Not a bit.’

He nodded and went out, and in a moment I heard
Winnie-the-Pooh —bump ,bump, bump, —
going up the stairs behind him.”
By A. A. Milne. Original illustrations by
Ernest H. Shepherd

And so it goes. It’s still dark and nighttime. Good idea
to go back to bed.


with love …


That phrase, ‘She’s yar’ is an echo from when I was growing up,
and had a remarkable step-father who loved the old stories of
New England’s sailing ships, from clippers to dories, and those
words meant the vessel had fine, clean lines.

This morning, I looked up the word ‘yar’ in Webster’s dictionary,
and it’s not there. Curious. Did I make this up? Memory has a
way of recall that might be creative!

Along those lines, I have a poem for you:


We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
the intangible air

traveled at speed
round a shaped wing

holds our weight.

So may we, in this life

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,
and look for the true

shape of our own self,
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.”

……… DAVID WHYTE, written for the presentation
of the Collier Trophy to the Boeing Company marking
the introduction of the new 737 passenger jet.

‘Yar’, for sure.

always with love,


As a child, I grew up reading “A Child’s Garden of Verses”,
familiar and wonderful. Now grown up considerably, I read
“A Mystic Garden, Working with Soil, Attending to Soul” by
Gunilla Norris. The familiar words never fail to become
new each year at this time. Just look:

“Daylight comes earlier now that it’s spring. Birds sing
even in the dark. Dormant life stirs in the garden. Inside,
I am stirring, too, waking up from something sleepy and
inert, something that’s held me quiet in the cold.

After a long winter we may feel a new permission.
Isn’t this when the gardening begins to begin? It’s time to
raise the blinds and open the windows as well, to let air in,
even if it’s cold. It’s time for new life to touch our faces
and our inward being.

The light is there. We can ask now to really be awakened.”

……………….. GUNILLA NORRIS, 2006

The tree outside my window has loved these few days of
mist and rain, and the first greenish leaves are pushing

We have new “green” windows that bring in such light,
and frame each morning magically. Will I remember,
next year, that this year the leaves opened on April
Sixteenth? Will I remember that that’s when I really
got myself outside and walked for blocks? Will I be
the new person I long to be, from this spring, beginning

Not a question, just a note.

with love …


My memories of Christmas were so deeply formed in my childhood
that I went searching for an echo that would ring true other than
Babes In Toyland.
I had to go very far back, not only in time but in season:


” Summer brought fireflies in swarms,
They lit our evenings like dreams
we thought we couldn’t have.
We caught them in jars, punched
holes, carried them around for days.

Luminous abdomens that when charged
with air turned bright. Imagine!
mere insects carrying such cargo,
magical caravans flickering beneath
low July skies. We chased them, amazed.

The idea! Those tiny bodies
pulsing phosphorescence.
They made reckless traffic,
signaling, neon flashes forever
into the deepening dusk.

They gave us new faith
in the nasty tonics of childhood,
pungent, murky liquids promising
shining eyes, strong teeth, glowing skin,
and we silently vowed to swallow ever after.
What was the secret of light?
We wanted their brilliance:
small fires hovering,
each tiny explosion
the birth of a new world.”


These few days leading to tonight, Christmas Eve,
have been valleys and peaks! A few moments of
uncertainty and anxiety could have marred the anticipation
of family and fun and childhood re-visited.
Maybe through the grace so abundant at this time of open
hearts, maybe just trusting, I was able to reach out and
ask for help, blind for the moment.

Help came, like the summer fireflies, in tiny explosions,
in light, allowing rebirth of my own capacity to be present
to life. That’s really how it seemed!

All homage to this season of light.

with love …


I am taking enormous liberty with the formal form of Haiku,
so let’s let that just be. In looking for a poem for this morning,
I came across two lines that kept calling to me:

“The cowbells follow one another
Into the distance of the afternoon.”

…..JAMES WRIGHT, from a poem, Lying in a Hammock
at Pine Island, Minnesota.

Just those words transport me to any warm summer’s day
in the Platte Clove valley of the Catskills. So many summers
there as a child, no real literal sense of time, just being.
There was a dairy farm down the County road, and sound
travels far in a valley, surrounded by low mountains.

I do now appreciate the distance of an afternoon.
Sitting here with you on a cold November dawn, I offer these
two lines to you, an invitation to let there be distances in
each day as the year closes, a sweetness in the air.

with love …