Natural Woman

Sometimes I feel like retirement has allowed me to become appallingly lazy. But really, it is just revealing to me what life might have been like all along if I had been able to obey the preferences and rhythms of my human self.

Most people can’t afford to live like natural human beings but, instead, we have to be superhuman. We have to do more than we are built to do, exceed our capacity, and live with the consequent stress. Continue reading

A skiff of Advent grace


Sometimes all it takes is a skiff of snow to turn unfinished tasks like a pile of undistributed rocks into a feature in a larger beauty.

I’ve been looking for daily beauty and this morning’s snow, so light it might have been frost, obliged. Just enough to glorify the bare, brown earth, highlighting the bas relief of leaves and pebbles and sticks and mud. Even the concrete apron in front of the garage sparkles.

The daily beauty quest is one I’ve taken on for Advent. Continue reading

Flower music


Yesterday I dreamed of being part of a thrilling, inventive choir that derived its music from plants. Somehow we read the plants as if they were musical notations.

This dream was no doubt inspired by Sunday’s memorial service for my friend, Karena, who passed away the day I was flying to Congo in early July. I had taken a role in caring for her during her four weeks in hospice at home and I had a role in the memorial service, as well. Continue reading

High priest of chocolate

Chocolate holy man Eladio Pop shows off a prize cacao tree to tourists.

Chocolate holy man Eladio Pop shows off a prize cacao tree to tourists.

The cacao farm was not our first choice for an excursion but Ian, our host at Hickatee Cottages in Punta Gorda, Belize, brought it up a few times on the evening we arrived, as we were planning our activities for the next three days, and so I finally asked him exactly what tours he recommended. He quickly said, “The cacao farm, Blue Creek Cave, the Mayan ruins of Lubaantum, and Rio Bianco waterfall. You can do all that in two days and I’ll get you the best guide. Then you can take a day to explore Punta Gorda itself.” Continue reading

Celebrating compromise

trees verticalThe snow has been here for so long that I feel like we need more vocabulary for it, like the people of the north do. Light and fluffy, heavy and wet, settled snow, crusted snow, plowed snow, dirty snow, melting snow. Patterns of snow melt. Do you notice that it melts first around the bases of trees? A pocket for each tree, perforating the puffy snow duvet like knots in a comforter. It must be because the dark color of the trees absorbs what little sunlight there is, heating a bit, prompting the first melt.

Sunlight. The days are longer and the temperatures bump up now and then, but not enough to bring spring. One longs for real sun, real warmth. I just dawdled away an entire week planning a vacation in the tropics. It helped me get through the latest blizzard. Continue reading

Dead cats

A dream this morning between 6 and 7. Vic and I are at home but it is my childhood home. We are looking after some children. Toys are scattered everywhere. I am sitting at a table reading. Suddenly I feel Lalo on my lap, real as life although I know he is dead. I pet him and he stretches in pleasure, turning almost upside down, sliding down between my legs. Continue reading

My solar guy

Sometimes the best thing about church is community, a pool of friends and acquaintances who share the burdens, joys, and responsibilities of life and who unite often in common cause. Building that kind of community, however, requires work. You can’t pay pastors and leaders to do it all because then it’s not community; it’s spectator church. Because that kind of church does not feed our souls, Vic and I find ourselves taking on assignments and responsibilities in whatever church we attend. Continue reading


It was not a good morning. First there were the reminders of my late beloved kitty-cat, put to sleep yesterday after 19 years with us. As my daughter said, that’s as long as raising a child and, indeed, I was experiencing empty-nest syndrome as well as grief this morning. Little stutter-clutches at my chest as I poured milk in my tea and didn’t pour any for Lalo, started the vacuum cleaner and momentarily worried about scaring him, hesitated before I set my laptop down on his favorite chair by the woodstove. Continue reading