My field

My Field      Springtime!               


My field has been sold. See the sold sign? I hate this. I hear it’s going to turn into a retirement complex or something. Whatever. It won’t be the place I’ve loved over these four years, the place I’ve cried buckets, watched the seasons pass through, sat in the flowers and let the view seep into my soul. I’ve painted the view of the mountains; I’ve loved every moment in that field, even when the mud of early morning rain washed into my brand new shoes. I’ll continue to love it as long as I can!


April 18, 2008 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

Grief entries

These are two notes I wrote out to a support group after Russ died. I’ve been meaning to post them here, as a couple of people had asked for them. I remember that after the January 18 one, I couldn’t write at all for a long time, and that was how the grief evolved. It got “worse” in some ways. My sister still talks about the first meal I cooked, two months later, and I stood there, stunned over French Toast, not remembering how to make it. I moved through living like peanut butter, and the effort of putting anything into my mouth for nourishment, even provided to me, seemed just too hard. So here are these:

January 9, 2005

Grief. It’s this state of being, maybe something like being in a foreign country, and I speak only a little of the language, and I blunder along, and really just want to go home. I know that it can be fun, and will be fun, but right now, I’m into this world. It’s not exactly lonely, it’s just internal. It’s definitely not unexpected; in fact, before Russ died, we talked about the teamwork we had in bringing him to death and how I would need him after; but he’s not physically there; no soft warm skin, no cooing voice, just me and the internal, and the flow of tears. I eat a little, and then I’m done. I sleep a little, and the tape player of my mind kicks in playing tapes of the death, of scenes through the years, obsessively trying to remember details. I can’t multi task. I sort of like looking terrible. Russ had cancer, and I have grief. There aren’t any IV’s for this thing, no appointments, just me and my heart and the journey. Everyone says time. I remember that I got Russ to make tally marks for his Boost drinks to be sure he got in the basic nutrition; now I’m thinking I need rudimentary “survival” strategies for myself.

I love getting the books from so many of you…they are HUGE support for me. Words are a connection for me in learning about me, about healing myself. I welcome more books! Be sure your names are in them! I also have really loved the cards. I must say that each one touches me so; I have to sort of wiggle them around to see the words past the tears, and the tears so pour, and that’s a good thing; your acknowledgements affirm me.

I’m going to attach the obituary in case you missed it. Each thing that I do is so hard; I went to The Herald with that picture of Russ, and the Obituary guy Nick, was saying nice things about the writing, about the picture…I couldn’t help but think how any time someone walks through the door with a red face and a wad of Kleenex sets off a call button for Nick to walk out to guide someone like me to a quiet area. Shoot, then I cry by accident on pictures. I give; this is grief.

I’m wondering what to do about this little avenue of info to you; no more emergencies, but so many thoughts. I had thought I would write to you about Russ’ death, which all by itself, was really a beautiful thing, and maybe I will do it.

January 18, 2005

Here’s something I wrote in 1992: “My sadness is like a mushroom. I’m a perfect creature made by God, but I can be so fragile. I grow a lot after “storms,” but it’s not easy. I feel very alone. I feel like collapsing.” I love this thing that I wrote. It fits how I feel now so well; but the odd thing is that I wrote it in response to a pain that I now view as a “nothing.” It’s like the kids who wail over a paper cut that we can barely see; but is the pain legitimate? I think so. Pain is whatever pain is whenever it happens under whatever circumstances. What is worrisome is that the pain can be so big and so serious; I really feel that I have entered into a whole new zone of my life. I wonder if now I will be impervious to the “little pains?” I don’t know. It just really makes a lot more sense to me about those old folks, including my parents, who just always seemed to have quiet wisdom about pain in life. My dad used to look at old pictures of his buddies from the war, all those guys lined up and smiling, and there he would be, quiet. I think I get it now. Does my dad feel joy? Oh, yeah, but he has those silences. I think I’ll be part of that group of people now. Does that mean I’m getting “old” now? Maybe.

So it’s hard to do things. I meant to go to this fabulous dance weekend, which I signed up for about the time Russ was diagnosed; we both thought that certainly he would live much longer than that. He would have wanted me to go, to laugh, to twirl, to flirt, to hear the lively music. But I couldn’t do it. I just simply couldn’t do it. It really is as though I am sick; and it IS a sickness; the soul is trying to rebuild, and it’s hard, and there is nothing really overtly joyous about it. Moments of peace, joy in seeing rainbows or the whales spouting in the bay, but not really people oriented. I keep wondering where the humor is; the humor so many of you appreciated during “our” time—and I think that’s it—there is no “our” any more. I worked very hard for Russ. I poured all that I had into him and his path to death.

I likened the work to giving birth; I never gave birth, and frankly, always hoped to. I wanted children very badly. Sometime in November I realized clearly that I was instead, “giving death.” It’s the same “thankless” struggle and sucking of body and soul for another. Yet the struggle is the heart and soul of living, of the cycle of life. It’s the most significant contribution we can make: Birth. Death. A gift to a person who is on this planet, over whose life we have no ultimate control, yet so desperately needs a love to guide him or her in or out. We clean the path, sweep it lovely and rid the rocks, then the other walks it and I can’t pull him back. The cycle of life. There is no choice.

These days, it’s as though I’ve forgotten that Russ was ever ill. I miss the morning coffees, I miss the laughter, the play with the puppies, the silly talk we had between us and especially the warm embraces. I still go home and call out to him as though he were there. Oh, my mind has so much catching up to do.



April 16, 2008 at 11:31 pm Leave a comment

Rocks Bones and Feathers

This is another excerpt from one of my journals, May 24, 2007:

Yesterday I walked the beach and had an insight about rocks. I LOVE rocks, and I’ve always felt a bit jealous of rocks. How is it that rocks get to be eternal? But then I realized, they are not any more eternal than feathers or bones or shells or any residue of the living, as rocks are the bones of the Earth. They rise up from a molten, living existence deep in the Earth. Then I realized why I love those artifacts of the living so much! They are all bones, they are all remnants and memories of the living.

So me, here, living…I am the human side of the spirits. We move along, all in angst over our human troubles, and one day, all this human stuff will lay on or under the Earth in this relief of What Was.

April 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

Seattle airport, March 2007

I just spotted this little fragment I wrote last year in a trip I made to Seattle:

March 25

I’m looking at a a glass installation at the airport in Seattle. I find it so moving, and it mesmerizes me. People scurry past me; they wonder why I am lingering here. They think I am supposed to get into a line of some sort, but I am swimming in the colors of blue stretching from me into the sky, and prisms of rainbows are dancing on the floor around me. The shape is like an inverted rocket, but it’s the hue of the glass that is getting to me: cobalt blues with spices of reds and amber, and rectangular prisms of clear glass falling like rain. It draws me.


April 15, 2008 at 12:51 am Leave a comment

Dancing to the sun

April 5, 2008 at 6:40 pm Leave a comment

California Poppy

California Poppy


Awakening early,

one petal unfurling lazily over another

like sleepy dangly arms on a Saturday morning

Stretching out to the sun, laden with morning dew

Opening wider and wider to the light

the petals rich with unabashed orange

See through and waving like tissue paper in the wind

Silent, Joyful, Dancing

The red cups at the base of each sheet holding

tenacious, trusting, floppy skirted

sheets of orange in place.

Vulnerable yet resilient

Lace of the Earth

Closing up tight to sleep with the sunset,

spent with the fullness of the day.



April 5, 2008 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

Gray Whale Love

            The spout of a gray whale is shaped like a perfect heart. It’s almost startling how shapely and valentine looking it is. In Monterey, we never see it. It’s always too windy, and the swell of the ocean is too high. The spouts just blow off to one side or another. This morning, I was walking Cholla out on the beach, and there it was. A baby gray whale was in close to shore, bursting soft vapory hearts from its blowhole to me. Each one was so perfectly formed, so happy and gentle, quiet and free out there in the calm bay. I smiled with each heart until she waved at me with her fluke and left to go deep, deep.

            Through the years, I’ve read about the spouts in books, and generally felt that the description and drawings of them were a kind of exaggeration. And then Russ and I did a side trip in Baja out to San Ignacio Lagoon. We were there a bit early for the whale kissing that guide books and travel brochures advertise. The area is protected, so we couldn’t just take out our kayaks and go off on our own. We had to go out in one of the tenders with a small group of people. It was off-season, so there were just a few of us.

            The bay is so calm and still, like the biggest warm bathtub going. It’s no wonder that mama gray whales want to have their babies there. What could be a safer spot? Right away, we saw the hearts hanging in the air around us, and I was thrilled just for that; I didn’t need to get my picture taken of me hugging a gray whale. I got to see the hearts! The folktale was real!

            People got to chatting in the boat, and I did what I usually do; sort of hang my head over to the side, letting myself go far away from others, looking so deeply into the water as I used to do when I was a kid out fishing with my dad. I’d look and look, and I’d like to say that I’d invent stories or resolve the mysteries of life, or talk to the fish, but all I can say is that I’d just look. And that’s what I was doing; observing the changing terrain of the shallows, observing the passing of the little pebbles, the mottled colors of the bottom. I was reveling in the textures and beauty of being there, joined with the stillness of water, the flow of the bottoms. Then my mind crept in so slowly to make sense of it all; what I was looking at was the passing of a whale close and directly under us. The pebbles weren’t pebbles; they were the crustaceans living on the animal. I could see the long smile of her, the eye right under my hand dangling in the water. In a moment, the others spotted it, too…ballena!

 That moment, or vision has stayed with me with perfect clarity through these years. I loved that moment of not knowing what I saw, but feeling its familiarity; being transfixed and lured in willingly with all my senses. With all senses wide open, the gifts of nature and love are exactly in the air and beneath our very hands, moving with color and magic. 




April 3, 2008 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

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