I turn into the driveway
Negotiating easily
Thanks to 12 years practice
Between mailbox and side rock garden

I pull the car halfway up the driveway
But can go no further
My way blocked by the pile of sweet smelling
Wood chips
Higher than the car
Filling the top of the driveway
Waiting for our shovels and wheelbarrow
To disperse them
So they become
Once again
Part of our garden
Lying low on our pathways
As their parent maple tree
Once towered over all
Despite the hollowness in its trunk

I pause in the driveway
Sitting in the driver’s seat
Staring at the wood chip pile
In front of me
And I laugh aloud at the thought
Of plowing the car into that pile
Burying steel in wood

I reach for my purse
Take out my phone
That is also my camera
Open the car door
Step out, putting my
Starbucks grande mocha decaf latte
On the roof of the car
So I can take a picture
Not of the wood chip pile
But of the small brave yellow
Blooming amid the rocks
At the side of the driveway
Blooming as if spring
And not autumn
Were just now, just here
Blooming their yellow promise
Of another spring
Right around winter’s corner

Between wood chips piled high
And Sternbergia blooming low
I am immersed in joy.


My head is loud with words
Too loud
Too often
Too many words

(I never learned the knack
Of wordless wonder)

Who was I, do you suppose,
In my mother’s womb
Before words conquered me?

Who am I, do you suspect,
In my secret soul
Where words delight me?

Who will I be, do you suggest,
In my lifeless grave
When words desert me?

Will I be?
Can I be?
Do I want to be?

Without words

Beyond A Word

A word can bounce around in my
Almost knowing just barely
Scarcely avoiding

A word can fly from my
Almost stopping just barely
Scarcely parting

A word can echo echo through my
Almost joining just barely
Scarcely muttering

But I have yet to find
A single word for
That bird’s shadow
Swinging just barely
Scarcely across our green lawn

Seen, not said, through
My kitchen window
My hands warm in soapy water


from Psalm 113

God is higher than our deepest depths are low

God is brighter than our darkest day is dark

God raises us from the rubble of our troubles

God lifts us from the ashes of our destruction

God comforts our minds, our hearts, our souls

So that we can feel secure and honored, loved and protected

Just when we need it most

When fear and sadness,
Danger and divisions
Threaten to overwhelm us...

God fills our emptiness with Her grace, 
God blesses our sorrows with Her comfort, 
God mourns with us,
With all of Her oft troubled people

Praise God! Amen


All of my friends are mysteries to me.

Wendy’s steady gentleness
That can still speak hard truths when needed

Ann’s proud self-assurance
That hides her too-real insecurity

Norma’s thoughtful faith
That welcomes my many doubts

Carol’s urgent caretaking
That out-strips her diminishing strength

Their lives, their souls are ever mysterious to me
But then so is my own

My writing, my praying
My fractured relationships
With my children and
My sometimes God

No friend is more mysterious to me
Than that God
Whom I am never really sure
Even exists

But whom I talk to daily
Not to seek favors
Or even salvation

Simply because
As mysterious as it is to believe in God
It is impossible not to.

My Heart

My heart wears sundresses
And swimsuits
Biking shorts 
and gardening gloves

My heart wears Woody’s kiss
And Mom’s creeping walk
Texts with my daughter
And Facetime with my grandchildren

My heart wears Afghanistan
And Texas
The unvaccinated 
And the arrogantly ignorant

My heart wears God
That old gray man of my childhood
That gaping hole of my young adulthood
That graced Jesus of my middle years
And the bountiful Lady Wisdom of my old age

My heart wears life
Beating steadily
Through fears and tears
(I remember the panic attack
In the shower
Two days after Bob left)
Through joys and jumbles
(I remember how it leapt up
Watching the puffin’s awkward landing
In the almost arctic waters off Kodiak Island)
Through the mundane and the miraculous
(Right now, this moment, my heart happily wears
My mouth's pleasure in
That golden cherry tomato
Picked this morning)


Hope speaks in silence
When I let my mother tell
With yet more exaggeration 
Some never was version of our past
Happy family
Happy father

Hope speaks in silence When I let my sister-in-law praise her God Her very personal god Who answers her prayers And saves her family Always Even when they are hospitalized Because they didn’t vaccinate (Prosperity gospel? Pre-election? Inerrancy? Prayer warriors?) SSSHHH
Hope speaks in silence When I ignore that Facebook post By a friend who applauds So many things I despise (All lives matter? Pro-life? Homophobic? Sexist?) SSSHHH
Hope speaks in silence Hope that I will learn better How to love Those that I would Too easily Make enemies of HUSH!


The decision begins when I open my eyes
Head on the pillow
Body still 
Sleep still
Under the summer quilt
That quilted illusion of safety

Quietly quietly on my pillow
Not yet awake enough to even stretch
I must decide
How will I live this day
This gift
This increasingly miraculous time
Beyond three score and ten

Shall I start with a dulcimer duet
With my still sleeping husband
Who will not mind my waking him

Shall I start with a whole string quartet
Energetically exercising
Perhaps on my bike
My 27 speed not enough used Fuji Absolute

Shall I drum in my day
With answering emails and paying bills
Neither restful nor beautiful
But somewhat satisfying

What instrument shall I play first
Shall I read or write
Pray or practice the keyboard
Walk the dog
Make a cuppa
Or close my eyes again
Because I am retired
Free of clock discords
Free to choose 
What music to make
To start each day