Independence Day!

Celebrate independence, freedom
Feels a bit contrived this year
So much threatens our nation
Infighting, violence, politics, greed, disease
Nevertheless, we have survived worse
For deep within our nation
Are planted 
Seeds of democracy
The aspirations of freedom, equality, life, liberty
And the pursuit of happiness
Remain woven into the fabric of our union

Our voices must still ring out
Our hearts have much to be thankful for
Much to rejoice
As we awaken to each new day
In this, which is still, 
The land of the free 
And home of the brave

Neighbor cares for neighbor
People reach out helping hands
Across the street,
Across political, race, and gender lines
Across the pond
Across the world
Our voices must ring out in gratitude for all 
That is good
For all which we are thankful
As we awaken each day
Free to try again
To make our world
Just a little bit kinder
A little bit greener
 And a great deal more loving!


Unreal images of reality
The reflection of the sun
Shimmering on the glass surface
Of the early morning lake
Is exquisite
The silver sparkles spread across the water
Flickering as tiny ripples emerge
The reflection of the sun is beautiful
But it shares no warmth

The pine tree stands sentry at water’s edge
Protecting the land from erosion
Giving home to birds, bugs, squirrels, spiders and more
Dripping sap and needles indiscriminately
Shedding pollen across the lake surface
And all passersby
The pine tree solid and true 
Engages fully in lake life
The gorgeous, the plain and the ugly

The water reflects the image of stalwart pine
At certain times of day
In just the right light
The beauty is mirrored by still water
It is an illusion 
Enjoyed, but not to be relied upon
The ripples come, the storm clouds hover
Night descends
The mirrored image disappears
But the pine remains
In all its battered beauty.

In early years
Image is what I learned
Look “perfect” and you won’t get in trouble
Hide the flaws, be the un-scarred image
Walk the line of perfect
Earn heaven and avoid hell
Punch your card

White first communion dress
White wedding dress
Perfect grades
Perfect attendance
Obeying all the rules
The religion of obedience without question

Life was but a reflection until the clouds thickened
And ripples appeared 
Reality insisted on being acknowledged
As I reached deep within to truth
I was cut by shards of the glass mirror
And risked drowning in the still waters
For reflections have no depth.

My image pontificated
On the evil of abortion
Until a person dear to my heart
Shared with me her abortion story.
She had suffered alone
Not daring to call out to me
My image of perfection
Spoke judgment and intolerance.

Briefly, I glimpsed my false image
I saw how love suffered in the presence of righteousness
I saw the pain and suffering caused
By narrowed vision

My image
As good Catholic
Married forever
Was a thin film as well
As the surface ripples became white caps
I learned to release the lie of the façade
I learned to listen to the Spirit
And choose life for my children and myself
My image, my false self was crumbling
As my true self
And its shadow fought to survive authentically. 

Behind the facades of perfection
Hide imperfect people
Some insisting on inserting their beliefs upon our world
Without regard for lives
Yes, without regard for lives
Without compassion or mercy
Without love for broken and battered humans

Sitting at bedsides of dying people
People who are living from their truest selves
As they are experiencing their bodies failing, dying
Theirs is not a false image
From these wise people I have learned
Love is all that matters
Truth is all that survives
Judge not.
Judge not.


On sunny days
Shadows become apparent for all to see
Walking along
Standing at water’s edge
Darkness passes over me
Momentarily removed from the light,
I look up
A butterfly!
Something else, larger this time
Soars overhead
Casting its shadow across my path
Grateful for the “heads up”
I look skyward
An eagle
A heron
A loon
A merganser
A mallard
Shadows announcing 
Nature’s inhabitants
Shadows giving pause
And cause to look up
Shadows obscuring light
Shadows present with us always
Especially known on sunny days

Cast by the green leaved canopy of the maple
Cooling, giving place for rest

Present on sunny days and moon filled nights
Shadows of ourselves
Holding truth and pain
Maybe secrets unknown to even self
Shadow self
Containing mysteries 
Keys to knowledge
Of fully human self
Shadow self
Our darker side
Shake hands with shadow
Embrace, welcome
Our shadows
Intimate parts of who we are
Always present whether seen or not.

Maybe, if we truly see them
It will give us pause
It will give us cause
To look Up
And understand.


A topic laden with emotion
Soggy with defeat
Or pregnant with possibility

Cease the frenetic pace of life
Curl up on the couch
Lay back in an easy chair
Sip a cup of hot tea
Take a refreshing swig of a cold beer
Read a novel
Take a walk
Retire – Begin leisure time
More moments to call your own
Snuggle with a loved one

However, there can be grief held within the word
Retire--Worn out
Used up 
Put to pasture
Devoid of worth and meaning
Once Contributing so much 
Impacting lives
Earning the esteem of others
Gone ended

Old treads worn thin 
Rolling over that rubber
Day after week
After month
After year
After decade, decade, decade, decade and more

My tread wore thin
I gave all of me
And it was good
I loved my work
I loved it

But now
I can re-tire
Not sit on a shelf
Merely retire my career
Lay down my vocation

No more knuckle clenching drives
Down Route 89 on ice covered roads
No more conflict
No more
Struggling to preserve the “old ways”
Ways of compassion, human kindness, healing
And placing
People before profit.

Time to re-tire
New treads to ride
Windows wide open
Fresh air replacing stagnant
Breathing freely again!!

Time to write that book
To pull it out of the hidden recesses of my brain
The secret chambers of my heart
Where it has waited
Not so patiently
Time to reach people in a different way
Still healing  
Still teaching
Still comforting

Time to nurture life
Grow my Garden of Delight
Nurture the Pollinator Garden
Cook home grown meals
Can summer’s offering to nurture winter days

Time to be present
With my wonderful husband
Our lives joined later in life
We aim to maximize these remaining years

Time to enjoy the grand kids
They are truly
A Joy I do not want to miss out on

Time to relish the children and their spouses
They are not children
But incredible adults
Contributing much to this world

Time to be at the ready
For family, friends, community
Time to relish our magnificent world
This most generous, precious gift
Given by a loving Creator

Time to photograph the beauty
To protect our lakes
To fill my soul with 
The treasures which abound on this most awesome planet 
we get to call home

New priorities
New life
New freedoms, opportunities
The tree of my life
Has been pruned
I marvel in expectation 
As, with gratitude and appreciation,
I watch for spurts of new growth!

Dancing with Joy!

Soul stirring
Heart overflowing

Joy surging from every pore
Swinging arms in gleeful awe
Smile broadcast from cheek to cheek
Head thrown back
with outrageous joy.

The black lab
emerged, obediently, from the car
Every movement controlled
looking to his human for release
she nodded ascent
and his joy erupted!
His tail wagged in eager anticipation
His nose pointed skyward
Sniffing the fresh lake water, the damp earth
then he erupted into dance
circling, leaping and circling some more
He danced with Joy
As he moved toward the water.

My son and I are not dancers
But we danced!
The music as our backdrop
Humble and kind
And visit your grandfather, 
Give a hand up
and always remember to be humble and kind.
I said, "Yes!" to the spin
He declined
But we danced
The poignancy of the moment overwhelmed me with Joy
He had just married
 a most wonderful woman
who truly loves him and he her
Joy and love filled my eyes
as the song ended
the new chapter begins
and to that beginning. . . 
I dance with joy
My son has not merely survived, 
He has thrived
I rejoice in the person he has become
I rejoice in his bride
and I dance circles of joy
in celebration of their 
Forever Union!
See the resemblance??

Still Room for Joy

There is still room for joy

Amidst the weeds

Of violence, disease, and hate

There is still abundant room for joy

People still fall in love

Birds still sing and chirp
Water still bubbles and tumbles

Over rock laden stream bed

Clouds still grace the robin’s egg sky

Leaving wisps of lovely as they fade away

The breeze still blows fresh breaths of air

Cooling tonic for hard working bodies

Loons continue calling

One to the other

In protection and connection

The trees still bow to the wind

Their leaves fluttering joyfully

Children’s eyes continue to light up and dance

 As they chase butterflies in flight.

There is still room for joy

Pause, look around, and listen attentively

Open to the joy

See the brilliant green of new growth on the cypress shrub

The green of hope.

Allow the healing power

Of nature, love and kindness

Expressed in varied ways

To wash aside

If just for a moment

The sadness, strife, hopelessness, worry and fear

Allow the joy to permeate your soul

Making the world a bit brighter

Pushing back the weeds

Making room for joy.

Bridging the Chasm

While on a writer’s retreat
Meeting with creative, intelligent people
Engaging in meaningful discussion
I met a lovely young woman.
As I sat with this woman, warning bells clanged
She spoke of her beliefs
She spoke of her pain of isolation and rejection
And of suffering caused by others’ judgments of her.

Her beliefs were not mine
But I was able to witness her pain
I was able to see her fear
Based upon her beliefs

I was gifted with a glance
Into this woman’s heartfelt angst
As she stoically stood her ground
Against vaccine mandates

I was taken aback and relieved
That I felt compassion
Rather than anger
In defense of my hospital colleagues

I met her heart
Before I listened to her thoughts
Her opinions were not mine
But I was blessed with the grace
To keep my mouth closed
To not “correct” her facts
Insisting on my “facts”
To not judge her person
Based on her opinion
I was blessed with silence
As I listened and heard

I heard her fears
Her hopes
And her suffering 
While stoically standing her ground.

We came together a few times over the weekend
In genuine appreciation for each other
And the gifts we were sharing.
Her ground was not, at first glance my ground

There was a chasm between us
Based upon our beliefs
And opinions
A chasm that could swallow the good, the holy
Residing within each of us
A chasm which has divided our families, towns, and states 
The ravine has been dug by fear
It has been dynamited open
By hate used to create division
Innocent people have fallen prey
To the power of those wishing our world divided
Leaving a void in which power may grow.

Innocent people have clung to their ground
Fearing the cliffs of the chasm
And the stones which are thrown at them

In seeing the beauty and intelligence of this woman
And the pain caused by this divide
I was brought back to the early days of AIDs
The fear, finger pointing and blame scourging our world

I remember “Mark”
The first person at our hospice to die from Kaposi’s Sarcoma
All the staff loved Mark.
Then we learned of AIDs and the connection with Kaposi’s
Mark was our first AIDs patient.
Fear accompanied AIDs
The spirit of Mark helped some of us
Be less afraid.
We were blessed to know
The beauty of the man
Before the fear of the disease took up residence.

So, I wonder, can we bridge this chasm?
Created by fear
Of other opinions, beliefs, politics
Can we see all ground is holy ground?
Can the tree of life 
Join the two halves of the divide?
Understanding does not mean agreeing
Understanding grows from listening
With an open heart
Listening to the person 
Hiding behind the fear
Understanding does not mean agreeing
Understanding can be a building block
A cornerstone to the bridge
The bridge to span the chasm
Unite our ground
And heal the divide

Evil wins
If we do not reach out 
To meet and understand each other
And forego the diatribe.

The hug from my new friend
Was true and gave me hope
That we, the people,
 Might once again 
Stand united.

The Potter’s House

Tom and I decided to take the afternoon off and go somewhere fun together.  Since we both work from home, we can get caught up in working 7 days a week–especially during Tom’s busy season.  He is owner/operator of a business so nearly always working.  We took off to one of our favorite towns less than an hour from our house –Woodstock VT! I had recalled seeing a shop on my way home from Benson VT that I wanted to stop in at with Tom.  I thought it may have been a pottery shop and knew it was a bit north of downtown — Road Trip it was!! We ended up at Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater VT. It was a fabulously serendipitous adventure.

The Potter’s House

Tree of life
Exquisitely created
Creatures perched within the branches
Greeting visitors at the entrance
Riveted to the spot
I sensed the space
as filled with love and hope

Steps slowed, heart peaceful
I wandered in this place of artistic creations
Molded from nature--
Wood and clay
Grain of tree holding center stage
In tables and chests
Breathtaking beauty.
Mugs, teapots
Calling out to be touched
Held, enjoyed.

Venturing on, 
I beheld a potter
Sitting at his wheel
He looked up and smiled. 
Delight of delights 
I was drawn to the side of his wheel
Ready to watch creation.

But he gave more
He gave invitation to throw pottery
To create
To don an apron
And get dirty in clay!
I gave my unrestrained yes!

In the beginning
The lump of clay
Was to be thrown 
In the center of the spinning universe
The potter’s wheel
My novice throw was not quite on the mark
The potter gently re positioned the lump
And it was good.

Bracing arms on table's edge
Standing over top the clay
Centering body
Full attention
Tender, strong touch
I immersed in the craft.
The clay transformed
A tiny bowl emerged
And it was good!
But the clay had more life to give

Step by step
The potter taught me
Then let me
Bring forth 
Even greater beauty
As the bowl grew taller, smoother
The strength of my whole body
Delicately given to one fingertip
As the base of the bowl opened out

Tender touch
Spinning universe
Kind, affirming teacher
Loving, encouraging husband
My spirit filled
With the joy of creation
And human kindness
As I found a bowl in a lump of clay!

Jeremiah 18:1-3

Matt the Potter Teaches

Tender Shoot

I am at a Writer’s Retreat at Mercy By the Sea in CT.  We were given a writing prompt with instruction to choose the paper that “called out to you” and write about it!  We had 10 minutes.  Here is my “offering”!!

Tender Shoots

The fragile green of new life
Bright with possibility and vitality
The green of tender shoots
Emerging from the dark
Exposed now to sun and water
Wind and love
The shoots of promise,
Of anticipation, of life unto death
The green of new grass, new leaves
All eagerly awaiting warmth
And longer days
As they emerge unafraid.

Can we ever return
To that state of new, fresh, and eager?
Can we ever release fear,
Distrust and sadness
And embrace our new growth
Nurture our tender shoots
Receive the Son, the warmth, the light.
Drink the Water of Life?


Good Friday Lamentation


Good Friday

Christians around the world

Recall the crucifixion of Christ

The day is sad, woeful

A sense of lingering doom

Clouds the day

As Death is anticipated


It is not always that way

I have sat beside many people

As they stand watch

Their loved one approaching death

They remain alert in Gethsemane and Upon the hill of Calvary


I have been privileged

To witness much joy

As people share stories;

Laughter segues into tears

And time stands still

As minutes stretch to days

Awaiting the last breath


I have never felt that joy on Good Friday

The joy is always reserved for Easter Sunday

The bells of joy and Hallelujah

Ring Out

“Khrystos Voskres!”

“Voistynu Voskres!”

Christ is Risen

Truly He is Risen


But Jesus was murdered

Hung on a cross to die

Silenced by death

For his seditious act

Of spreading Love.


There is no joyful anticipation

Of violent death

It is not a release from suffering

Nor an ending to a full life well lived

It is life stolen.


I imagine there is no joy to be found

On the battlefield

The demolished cities of Ukraine

Places of such death and destruction

Evil incarnate

The path of a  rampage of hate


So, as we anticipate Christ’s death

As we walk in our minds

The passion story once again

Let us hold in our hearts

All those whose lives are being torn apart

By evil brutality


Let us pray for an end

To their suffering

Let us pray

For conversion of evil

Let us pray for an Easter Resurrection

Within each suffering person

Within our troubled world.