Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Down the Well of Darkness

I've been sliding through life in a gray zone for many months. It's a sticky kind of slide, though. It stops me in my tracks whenever I get some kind of momentum going in my thoughts or actions. Then I fizzle out and the numbness becomes the gray.

I asked for help from a professional who had connections. She pulled her strings and got me in to see a very important man who used the opportunity to have one of his students take her exam by having her do the interview. I accepted that. After all, his expertise and knowledge would be present observing both of us. 

I guess I appear too normal when I'm gray. My flatness indicated to him that I was stable and didn't need any help. He didn't tell me that himself. I only learned later.

I've lived long enough to know what comes next, and here it is born upon me again. It starts with diffuse dreams of sadness that prevent a full night's sleep. I awaken so early that I ask myself, "What are you doing up?" Before the realization hits me, I feel it in my body. I don't need my rational mind to tell me. There it is, that unrelenting greif that has no reality. 

When they speak of anguish, I think of some poor woman who's husband and child have tragically died. When she learns of it she feels her body turn inside out. That's what I feel, even though my loved ones are healthy and safe and all is well. Yet that inner twistedness wrings me out. It's a wet rag clotting my throat, squeezing out the moisture on the edge of my lashes with no release. If I don't guard my soul like a warrior, I would be on the floor curled, lifeless and dark.

I've learned to ride it out, just like the flat gray numbness. But, it's now flat. It sinks down. And so I hang on to the rope hung over the well of greatness about to swallow me up. Is it my grip on that rope giving me those sensations of ants crawling on my face? Or is it just my face reaching for the sunlight peeping lightly in the high distance? 

I know where this leads. I've been on this journey before, too many times. I want out. But, the slimy walls are lumpy and hard, too straight up to give me impetus to climb. I cannot let go of the rope. I must hang on.

I seek an appointment with the new family doctor. Only one intake behind us, will she believe the desperation I cannot explain? She does, but hesitates. Blood tests must be done first. I must hold on a little longer.


Reflections on Moodiness

It starts with a feeling of numbness. The world is flat and so am I, like in a cartoon. Flat and gray. Even my energy is flat. I cannot conjure up more than a smile when others laugh at something funny. 

I ride along like that, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. But, I always know what comes next. I wait it out, hoping I can pick myself up, hoping it will go away, hoping the sun will break through the fog clouding my brain. 

Occasionally it does clear up and I can feel okay. Sometimes my okay gets to be more than okay and I feel great. In fact I feel wonderful. I can do anything when I feel like that. Yes! The world is round, full and three dimensional. Though, I would most likely tell you at those times, there are more than seven dimensions. That's how my mania goes. 

It also goes a bit sour, too. I get agitated and irritable. I don't bite people's heads off, but I certainly have been known to go for the jugular. I hate myself then. It's a big let down after having been so inflated with my own self adoration and that of others. I've never been able to figure out how I become so popular during those times. I'm still the same person. How did the mania magnetize me?

I've been fortunate that my mania is the "hypo" kind, a low grade sort. Still, today I would trade my present mood for some of the happiness I feel when I'm in that riding high kind of mania I've experienced. 

It's been a while since I've been there creating art, writing stories and poems, doing genealogy, sight seeing, using my camera to catch the nuances of light on color. I miss that part of me. She's so articulate and clever and fully enjoys life.


Oh My Darling

Sitting there reading I feel her eyes staring at me.  Did she bore a hole into my brain the last ten minutes to impress my mind to think of her just then? Or, did she break her reverie the same moment I did? I smile. She winks. I wink back. She winks again. We play this game a lot. Closing both eyes, she stretches her lithe body, and yawns, giving the impression she is bored with me. At the last second she re-opens them to see if I’m still enchanted. Then, petulantly, she sticks her tongue out. I make a similar face. She gets up, comes over to me and sits contentedly in my lap. She’s so enticing! I caress her. I’m so privileged, she chose  to spend her life with me.

Some may think she is ordinary, but to me, she’s beautiful. Yes, she is on the puny side, but, courageous, even tough. Her under-slung jaw gives an exotic pouty look, but can never hide her Mona Lisa smile. Some genetic quirk inherited from her mother, gives her a flat nose. No elegant proboscis, that! Yet, her sea-green eyes. Ah! They hypnotize! The quiver ‘neath my hand when I caress her, I know just where to touch to give her pleasure. What a gratifying responsive creature she is. I can’t keep my hands off her. Which may explain her temperamental behaviour. She’s so independent. She only permits me to touch her when she wants it. Doesn’t matter what I want. If she’s not in the mood, forget it! She’ll reach out and smack my hand. Some of my friends think she’s cruel and I should put her in her place.

I can’t complain though. When I really need her, when I’m sick, she never leaves my side. A devoted nurse; I swear, her very presence is healing! Sometimes I stop breathing momentarily. Apnea, they call it. She gives me a gentle nudge until I awaken, airless, gratefully gasping for breath. I hug her to me and thank her once again for being there to watch out for me. She doesn’t hog the bed or steal the covers from me. If I have a rough night, tossing and turning she’ll get up and go sleep somewhere else, so I can have the bed to myself.

She adores my singing voice and stops whatever she is doing to run to me. Especially if I whistle, her favorite song, “Oh, My Darling, Clementine”. Whenever I go out, she is content to stay at home and waits for me ‘til all hours without complaint. No matter what time it is, she’s right there at the door to warmly greet me. Now, That's devotion! 

However, she sometimes does insist on going with me. At first, it was a little awkward, but now I’ve grown used to it. As I’m ready to go out the door, she sneaks up behind me and jumps on my shoulder. She maintains her balance while I lock up, proceed down the stairs and out the door, through the parking lot, to get into my car. Other times I just have to head her off before she makes the leap. She understands when I tell her. “Not this time, My Darling. Then, she’ll growl and grumble at me, but, she won’t really be angry.

This beguiling female is my cat.

Written 1991 about Keli Clementine 


Remembrance Quilt

The big black garbage bag, shiny and ominous sat in the middle of my living room floor. I looked at my best friend, despair emanating from eyes; a little moist and red, a little blank, a little begging for release.  I was surprised at the immensity of the job before me. How had the simple offer of help turn into this big black lump of death's leftovers? I started toward the bag, and Shirley put her hand up. "No, not yet!"

I stood there on the brink of suspense, waiting for her next move. She walked into the kitchen, turned her back, and said, "Okay, now!"

I felt so bad for her. How would I feel if my son had walked into a train? I wouldn't be as brave as Shirley, fetching his clothing from his closet a thousand miles away while his wife stood by weeping. I thought I should never have made the offer of a "remembrance quilt". It was obviously too soon. But, she told me Marissa was getting rid of her son's belongings, had called the Goodwill to haul them away, even his racing bike, they found at the top of the canyon where he had climbed down to put himself on the track at the most convenient time. I had mentioned making the quilt without thinking there would be an urgency about it. Long after my Grandfather died, I'd made one of his shirts, blue and white, a simple patchwork, a comforting summer quilt, that lost it's way after his wife died. I often wondered who slept under it not knowing the story beneath my hand stitching.

As I opened the bag, I began pulling out the jumble of men's suits and ties, winter sweaters, and jackets. This was going to be challenging, and depressing to say the least. How could I make a sweet remembrance for my best friend out of all these dark colors, this heavy fabric that would suppress her to lie beneath?

Eventually, Shirley slowly entered the living room and sat down on the sofa, dragging the bag over to her. We folded the clothes in silence. As the bag emptied, I was so relieved to discover summer khakis, many different colored shorts, light weight hawaiian print shirts. I was so grateful I could have kissed Wayne's ghost. Then Shirley spoke, "I discovered these in the back of the armoir, hidden in shoe boxes. I didn't understand why he would go to such trouble to hide them away, until the police came to the door. They had found his suicide note. He killed himself because he was troubled about his feelings toward other men and long term knowledge that he was bi-sexual. I couldn't believe it. Wayne has never shown any signs. Marissa and he always seemed so compatible. But, he wrote that he couldn't pretend anymore to be a good Christian. They belonged to that strict church, you know. They never would have approved of these short sleeve shirts, these bright colors. He said he couldn't live with himself, had been planning this a long time."

I swallowed. I couldn't think of anything to say, nothing that would comfort her, nothing that would make any sense, nothing that would undo the damage on top of the pain she already suffered learning her son was dead, committing suicide in a most gruesome way, leaving his body unrecognizable. And now knowing how tortured he had been, not just depressed but living his own kind of private hell.

"If only I would have known. If only he would have told me. He knows I am open minded. Maybe I could have helped him. Maybe I could have... " But, I could see her shaking her head back and forth in realization that there was nothing she could do.


Just for Laughs

The very talented Bobby McFerrin and the Wizard of OZ

The intro is a mild build up.

Have fun!


Old Crone

She stood in the copse of trees breathing in the cedar, wishing for a place to have a flame. Turning, turning to touch the branches, tilting her head back to see the circle of exposed sky. She waited. Not yet. Not yet.

She sat upon the earth drawing circles in the dirt reaching her mind deep down to the bedrock and watched the moon rise over the rooftops. Maybe now.

Standing, her melody rose from her throat in muted tones, only meant for the cedars, to bless them, to thank them for their existence, to ask them to communicate through their roots across the miles of soil until the connection with her willow was created. She waited, watching her breath curl in the cold air. Then, turning the directions she tilted her head and there it was, her sister, her mother, her lover, her soul... the moon in all it's fullness and splendor.

She extended her fingers to the sky pulling down the light, filling herself with Great Spirit until the moon passed beyond the edge of the cedars. In deepest exhilaration and tranquility, she felt herself shrink a little, as she pulled in the reins of her thoughts like fairies dancing around her head. No, not fairies. Too childlike for her. Just give her some sparkles. She's too serious for she has passed beyond summer now.

That was then. This is now. Now she sits quietly on her sofa imagining the soil, imagining the cedars, imagining the moon, even though they are right outside her door. She's peaceful about it. No need to teach anymore. Others are doing that now. Besides, it takes to much energy now. If only she could find the other ones again and sit among them, or maybe on the outskirts when they dance. She could borrow some energy to be present. She could take some energy home with her to last until the next moon.

She's tired now, wants to rest. Her heart is not in it tonight.