Sunday, May 26, 2019

Last Christmas Eve

Last Christmas Eve 2018

     Were almost passed it, right? You and I just walked to the river and I jabbered on about all the things you used to do here, the things we shared and I did feel you. I felt light and lifted, thank you darlin, you are still such a good son.

     My mind is so weak and I lose focus. but nonetheless your presence was strong and warm. I told you about Irene and I reminded you that Chris and Kenzie love you; told you all the stuff I am mad about-and you listened. You know my heart and the ebb and flow of my imperfect soul.

     I said you and I were never going to lose each other and I felt the certainty that turns a wish into reality. I said, "You are the strongest, most loyal person that I ever met.....and once you and I love, we never let go. It is our natures. That combination keeps us tight through all the ups and downs and in betweens. Through eternity. Who knows what our incarnation will be next, baby?

    We might be in a tribe together on an island off Africa, spearing annoying Christian intruders. We might be in a pod of whales pluming the depths where humans cannot go. We may be the smallest and most intricate lacewings buzzing about in the night together on some random back porch and then sleeping all day in the cracked skin of an old oak tree. We might be twin wallabies arriving together and sharing some warm mother's pouch-bit feet pushing out and then endless pounding play on a red clay savanna....We might be mother and son again, or two soldiers in a Hummer telling dirty jokes and hating the war; two astronauts, two canyon wrens with fantastic mud mansions constantly colored with the reflections of the water below.

     Where ever we end up next, we will be closer than ever because of the tears that have marked this particular life. Not that often do two souls figure out how to keep hands clasped on different planes of consciousness-not many still speak to each other so clearly or hear so well as you and I. this is at least something, right baby? And as I slowly shake off my shroud, perhaps there are even more angles to our love yet to be seen.



Monday, May 20, 2019

The Bubble

 Inside the Bubble

I live inside a bubble, safe and lonely in equal measure. Inside the transparent, 
almost invisible walls.
Unperturbed, insulated, managing my disappointment.

I unplug my phone
Sit on my couch with exactly 2 cushions behind me
Consume myself with activities of varying levels of productivity...(being productive is safe)
I mentally check, "where are my dogs? what will I eat for dinner? how do I schedule my week as 
               to be busy, but not too busy? who should I talk to and who avoid because their words are                 razor cuts to me....
Sometimes I don't bath for days in my bubble.
 I sometimes only feel able to love Kenzie, Hudson, Chris, and my dogs.

Then I wake up and have a moment of knowing I need to do something, so I push against and through the rubbery edge and reengage a bit; I go meet a friend, step out and allow a little hope of a future to dribble in around me, even though that darkness inside whispers:

 "this is just a story, nothing means anything and nothing is real. 
Everyone else believes their lives are real
and mean something 
and lead somewhere..." 

And so I pull back to my bubble
Back to my cocoon
Back to my cell.

Henry David Thoreau was erroneously reported to have said: "We are all living lives of quiet desperation, and die with their song still inside them."  What he really said in Walden was this: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." 

That's a little more hopeful; that is something I can still hold on to....that I will not be one who dies with my song unsung. Right now, the love of my daughter and son and grandson, my clients, this beautiful world, a few friends and family and my damn all that still register in me.  I sigh and remember the great mystery of Love with a big "L"..... which is literally all I am certain of when I think of God.

 Love still lives in me, weak and tired, and that means God is still there too.

It is why I recently started going back to church (though it makes me feel more lonely sometimes), it is why I went out with a man this week (which was scary and unsettling) and it is why I have not locked the door on my cell and thrown the key out of reach. 

I still sometimes get a tiny glimmer of a spark of memory of my previous excitement for life-barely visible to the naked eye-more a feeling than a visual....and I remember what Matthew Arnold suggested in The Buried Life:

"But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
there arises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force,
In tracking out our true, original course;

A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us 
To know
Whence our lives come and where they go....."

I haven't given up on God;  I am trying to trust in the insanely optimistic hope that maybe He really is real and He might pluck me up and out of my silly cycle of desperation. Lend me a Hand indeed. And maybe He really does have you safely in his nest, too, my precious boy. I pray that God will show me how much He loves me; that I can maybe share that love with a few other dreamers today, and that, if nothing else maybe I can surrender and love Him back a little bit. Not as an observer watching a show, but as something or someone who is a thriving part of something real. I have used up all my own bullets and I can do nothing anymore without God. 

 God......invisible, indiscernible, 
almost inaudible God.

 Squint my eye and I miss Him, God.

Travis from Solstice (your friend) texted me that, when he died of an OD at 18 and was revived after 10 minutes he told the doctors he wanted to go back. He had the awareness that "EVERYTHING  OVER THERE IS PERFECT AND CONNECTED" which rang like a bell in my heart when he told me. That would be nice.

Maybe God's reassurances are all still woven into the tapestry of my bubble.....of my buried and broken life? And even though He bestowed in me a churning, restless, (no fractured) heart and a fragile will..... an equally strong drum beat that is my own desire keep exploring the corners and stay desperate and safely buried, or not.

I love you,


Friday, April 5, 2019


I've changed Ian.

That's probably not a happy development for the people in my life. In fact, close friends pull away every day. I used to be a certain way, but I look out at them with different eyes and all the colors have changed. People can see it and and I feel it, and it is no use trying to stop. 

I don't want to stop. The flow of my river has been altered and I am out of my banks, pulling trees and soil and earth along with me. Who knows what this flood will do. 

On one level, I feel cold and robotic. I don't very much care about my people's losses, daily grinds, needs, desires, loves, hates.....I sit and listen and generally pretend to be nice; pretend to care; ask the right questions, cough up enough words to keep some sense of personal connection alive. I still feel love for them, I think, just so little depth or connection to what was.

But I really don't care. Not that I really wish anyone harm, I don't.....but the compassion and effort I used to put into friendships and family seems spent, lost, void. This is especially true of my oldest friends. I just stare from inside dead eyes, at whatever they want to vent about and feel numbness. And I know they know. I know they sense it. Even that doesn't bother me. If I am dead honest, I guess I think most of their life problems are their own damned fault and are so terribly trivial. It is exhausting to listen and to try to kindle giving a shit. When their chatter turns, as it always does to their kids, grand kids, family issues, I feel a now familiar clinching inside; as if I am holding on as the roller coaster goes over another hill;  then I drop, and my stomach flips and wait for the feeling to pass and to be OK again. 

I stop myself from yelling, "Shut the fuck up", but I do think it. A lot.

It is not everyone, funny thing is that some of my new friends who didn't even know you seem to understand how to listen and they still stir compassion and love in me. Chris, Kenzie, my clients, and a couple of my family are still immune from my wrath, too. I still love and care how they are doing. I don't know why.  

Now that I have offered you that terrible, heartless confession, I want to say this is not what I really want to talk about. Either these people will hang on,  help carry the weight of this for a while or they will not. The river will wash away what and who should not be in my life and I am not really worried about it. I wait with fascination.

I want to tell you what the new course of my river has found. I want to talk about you and about WHOLENESS. As sure as my heart has dimmed toward these old, familiar humans, a  different fire is being stoked. I am being pulled toward this with such a fury. 

Lisa Duncan told me one night over some beer that you were the most WHOLE person she had ever known. She was talking about how confident you were in being yourself; how singular you were in your passions; how steady and true you were to that which you loved. Loyal, fearless, (over confident), and clear. You could not suffer fools, bless you. I loved that she choose that word. I felt the truth of it. You were not always nice or polite, you were not the absolute smartest person I've ever met, you weren't even the easiest kid to raise....We both know this is true, but it doesn't matter, because, by God, you were WHOLE.

You were skin, fruit, seeds, pit and thorns all at once, and all the time. Complete, real, total. You were WHOLE.

I loved that about you then, and I love it about you now. I knew what you believed and you wore your attitudes and convictions like armor. Like your very own skin.

The Wholeness of you resonates in me....

It was everywhere in your eyes, and determined purse of your lips.

Remember when you dove into a pile of 5th grade boys when you were 4 years old to protect a frog from their stoning it to death? I feel like that....Or the time you rescued the field mouse from the river, or got into a fight over some stupid kid killing a lizard?  Like the way you laid your entire 7 year old body across Bailey's grave and wept into the earth and yelled at heaven in sadness and rage......Yep.....

I don't give a shit if I hurt someone's feelings by telling them the truth, but I will chase a fly around my house an hour to liberate it outside. More than ever I seem obsessed and focused on the tiniest beauties of God's creation; intricate and little. I want them all to have at least a shot at life and I spend a (possibly irrational) amount of time preoccupied with advocating for bugs and bees, and dogs, skunks, and spiders...even plants and weeds and little webby whatevers. 

I am more like you; becoming less patient, more brave, more honest, and devoted to the natural world with a fierceness that surprises even me. Some doors are closing as this door swings erratically toward who the hell knows what.......

Small lives have stolen my heart, and they fill the hole you left gaping.

It is such a comfort. 

I mean, I could not save you, but I can still save some of the other small ones that you loved. A few more of them can have a shot.

And I know you see and smile and maybe shoot your middle finger up at people who don't understand that this is holy work.

loving life on the macro level.

Someone said on TV this morning that all we can do is continue to love the things you loved, and do the things you wanted to do. I believe it.

If this God you and I shared and loved and believed in is real, then all those moments of you being brave and real and imperfectly perfect, live on in the ether of this place. I smell it like ozone in our yard and on the river. It gives me such comfort. 

Biggun, please, oh please keep sending me signs that fuel this fire in me. I promise to keep my eyes open and carry on your passions, especially those that the fucking drugs muted in you. I promise to keep trying to be more WHOLE.   

Love you,



Thursday, March 28, 2019

Feather Sacrament

Feather Sacrament, Just so

     A single feather that fell slowly in front of me while I walked the pups and talked to you today; asking for "something",
      Some touch
      Or feeling
      Or sense of you.

      No bird in sight, just the crispy Fall wind moving leaves around.  Just a plain feather that fell, just so, right in front of me, defying the wind.
      Phoebe stopped her playing
       And picked it up
       One quick soft move

      I accepted it from her with a bowed head and felt a great swelling of thanks in my heart that comes from our Father. 
       Like a communion wafer,
       A feather sacrament, 
       Just so.


                                                                                                            I love you,

Monday, February 11, 2019



Dear Ian,

     Yesterday I was walking our dogs by the river. I know the trail so well I could name each brier and clump of winter grass. The sun was bright and we tromped along and the strange abundance of the recent rains was evident. Such odd lushness for the winter. 
      In a place it was not meant to be was a large new box taped shut and thrown into the woods. So waxy and clean that it must have been from a Christmas gift...a BBQ grill or something , but now tossed out and in the path of our morning walk. Imprisoned inside, and given a slow death sentence was a skunk, she was silent and still in there, her smell the only clue that she might still be alive. She had tried to escape, gnawing a small hole there and poking her claws through in other places, but the waxy newness of the box was too strong.  Well I am sure you know what I did, Ian.... I tore the tape loose, pulled open the top and moved back slowly. Maybe the skunk still had some life in her, maybe she could find her way to the water nearby, was all I could think of at the time. Funny, it never occurred to me that I might get sprayed. You see, that's is what happens when we find ourselves and our hidden courage; when we are sure of what to do. The decision makes it self and we act. I feel so few moments of courage anymore that the punch of my own decisiveness was a shock. 

 being so near the river she could smell the water,
through the small chewed hole.... 
   locked away helpless and thirsty.
 Imagine that. 

    After catching a glimpse of her inside, nose crammed in the furthest corner and still as death,  we left her alone for a while; and me and the dogs moved away and left her alone.  Coming back later to find she had indeed escaped, leaving nothing but a pile of dry fur and her scent behind. 
      It was a victory and it satisfied me to the point of a smile. I felt you . I thought of you and all the big and small bit of life we have saved and tried to save in the years we had together. A baby armadillo, countless stunned birds, lizards, turtles, baby mice, kittens, and of course, some stray people, too. Those moments are more real to me now than almost anything else I can see or touch or imagine.  You and I brought out the courage in each other, and for that I am so grateful, baby.         Walking home I thought about the irony of that. Our mutual folly that things can be saved; that may well be the only reason we walk this ground in this life. As for the skunk, who shall forever more be known as Grace,  though she was indeed left to die in a shitty and cruel way, as fate would have it, she has  likely landed in a sweet new home; one I am most happy to share. This is not the end of the story......

    Coming home and sitting to reflect on all this on my back porch;  a hundred birds swarming my feeders, another thing happened.

 From above the canopy of oaks, my red shouldered hawk dipped down from above and scared the whole flock into chaos. I heard the slam as a cedar waxwing hit my bedroom window and broke her neck. She was the most beautiful bird I have ever seen, and I felt the intimacy of holding such wild and perfect life briefly in my hand.  I carried her to a a high spot as blood gurgled in her pretty throat. She was dying.
     And so my loving and brave boy,  the circle goes round and round; some live by strange happenstance and some die in crazy and cruel unpredictability.
     I wish so much that
you were the skunk and not the bird. Maybe you are.......

I miss you,


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Free Will

Free Will

     I remember thinking years ago, 
before all of this fell upon my heart, 
before the end 
before this unwanted beginning,
that free will seems a lot like natural selection to me.

 Natural Selection, that strangely 
Tricky and perplexing endowment
of our loving God.
Bringing order to chaos and chaos to order in equal measure.
He uses the math
To bring destruction, diversity and hope to diminishing
Lines of life.


William Blake found his way back into my brain lately; his strange and haunting words, his belief that God is really just us in our purest form, before we decided we were separate; before differences in translation and silly pride fractured the Whole. God who now elects to draw us all back together by the paradox of free will. Natural selection of the soul?

If natural selection can give, over the vastness of seemingly infinite time, a moth such exquisite camouflage as to trick the eye of the hungry other; give her one more chance to breath another day, than.....

Free Will do?

In the shortness of my limited, broken and bruised mind, all free will seems to do is hurt. It drives a refusal to do thing in ways that generally work pretty well; ways that make sense. Instead of listening to reason, we leap as our heart tells us to leap. We cheat, we lie, we envy, stray, drink, lash out at those we love and generally wander all over the fucking place instead of sticking with the whisperings of our Source....

Free will is ultimately what sent your mind in such a wild and ungovernable direction, baby. It took you toward such a terrible plunge. Free will was your final act as a human being on this good Earth. 
Free will took you away from me.

And free will is at the core of every seemingly stupid and destructive thing I have ever done, too, Ian. Every mistake, every single one.  And here is the rub. Every human inhales and exhales according to uncountable small and large acts of free will. Pure rebellion and pandemonium  if you look at it from the ant's view, in each moment. 

But if I zoom back out the the owl's eye view, far above the ant hill, then William Blake's words begin to stir something else. Our Source, Poetic Genius (as he calls God), seems to have bestowed a measure of chaos, of free will, upon our minds and the minds of every human ever born. As essential to our walk as our eyes and ears and our beating hearts. Free will bestowed on me and also given to you, my precious boy.

We are the moths, slowly over the vastness of many incarnations, gradually changing color to synchronize ourselves with some universal rhythm...some plan. Our God perhaps uses this seeming curse to pump newness through our veins, save us when we reach the end...Infinite choice and variance, colors always changing. In a crazy way, His love allowing us to make the next choice for better or worse.

  As for me, my changing is different from yours. I have become a recluse. Though I long to be in a loving tribe, in a family, I pull away according to the quite whisperings of my own free will.  I cry and wander in my own solitary way. I wonder if this self imposed exile is, too, fueled by God? I, like you, resist doing the things that would make my life much easier. I resist taking that road. It is hard and lonely, and sometimes oddly satisfying. It does not serve logic very well, or my loved ones, I suspect. It drives a wedge between me and this life that I have come to not even know anymore.

Damn I hope 
I am the first rabbit pup

Born white
As an ice age is unfolding
And not a sad abomination.
From my tribe
For reasons I don't know.
Only God knows.

And what about you? Well, I don't get to know where your free will took you or why it  moved you to go. My heart says that you simply and suddenly raised your hands high in the sky; a  tall, blonde and beautiful young conductor with baton in hand, and motioned the beginning of your final song.

It was not in the grip of madness, I say no to that..... so would William Blake, and so you have told me. You were not mad or insane. I think you were heeding some inner math, some deeply knit instinct God given and God-permitted, and final.

Some quiet thing within you, perhaps unknown even to you, that moved you to change colors and proceed down a different path that any of us wanted you to go. I guess we must all learn to find our way on this spiritual walk, on this lonely  and inexplicably confusing walk.

I wish I knew why.

I wish I had had more time to learn the grand  and infinite workings of you, Ian. All I hope, as W. Blake suggests,  is that our God is a good God; that He means us good, and each step we take in variance and wondrous free will is moving us back home.... toward Love.

I love you,

Saturday, January 19, 2019




January is a quiet, cold business. there's a pair of Common Golden Eyes that have taken up home in our river. Just two-a mating pair- very shy, they fly down or upstream the moment we go outside. I am so grateful that our place is their place, too. It makes me feel a bit of life is back.

Almost every day the dogs and I walk downstream to the dam, through the overgrown briers and tufted tall grass. It is unexpectedly lovely. You and I probably walked this way some, but mainly I remember, we took the dry road of the river bed. Past boulders and along rock shelves, within the lap of the river's absent course. 

I remember your feet dangling as you sat on the shelf, dirty Velcro-closing shoes swinging back and forth as you examined some treasure found. We would walk along the bank and peak into big and small holes searching for the toad or such that lived there.  We would go as far as the secret hole in the dam and look in, or we would rescue minnows from the puddles before making our way back home. Always there were the treasures bunched in sweaty little hands. The dry river was a blessing, a womb of life for you and I.

The river is full now, so Phoebe and Henry and I walk above in the tall grass. It has become my meditation place. Water has returned. 

I read the word "winnowing" this morning....its all about getting rid of what you do not need. Throwing seeds in the air to let the wind take what I cannot use, or what sticks in my throat. Paring things down to the most essential, the most true. Yes, I am winnowing as I walk the grassy path, thinking of the things in my life that are of no use; not authentic, not real enough. It is a sort of fasting-not letting so much as one inauthentic word take root in me....I walk and pray for only the real and true in this life to find me. I bat the lies and untrue ways of this broken world aside as I go. Get simpler, get away from anything and anyone who adds weight that I cannot carry.

This means that people are few in my life now. I find that I avoid them more, except when desperate grief consumes me and I just have to talk. So much that comes out of everyone's mouth no longer fits....seems almost as if they are speaking a foreign tongue. 

Words of chaff.

Solitude seems to be a strange and necessary condition for my winnowing. The only time I feel more lonely than in my solitude is when I am with others. It is an odd business, grief.  I find that the different language my heart is speaking makes me more alone. Almost no one is able to translate my desperate grief into words they can take in and hold. 

Summarizing and translating my pain to people is exhausting. They ask how I am doing or make small talk, but I find I struggle to try to capture the authentic way this feels. So I push away, or I pretend, or I step into the vault.

It's a problem, Ian. I don't know how to tackle it, but my walks through the fields and woods brings me closer to Source and closer to you. It comforts me.

 I wonder
 all this solitude

I am not really lonely for more people, I am lonely for someone human to love; someone to give love to. My deep need to love has been slammed to the ground. Fate has his boot on my throat and will not let me up again to love someone. I am like a Border Collie, bred to herd, bred to work, to be busy moving sheep from here to there. Then put in a yard alone and I feel I am going crazy....digging up shrubs and chewing at the fence, running in circles and generally going crazy at the maddening denial of instinct. 

I met your friend Izzy. She was crying as she served me a Dr. Pepper at the drive through at Dairy Queen. She said she remembered me reading to your 7th grade class, and remembered how much you loved me doing that. 

Like that dog sentenced to a caged life, 
I will never get to be that Mom again. 

The grassy fields where I walk and winnow 
help ease the pain of this damned feeling.

And at least,
 the fence is gone
 for a bit.


                                                                                                         Your Mom