Tag Archives: ocean

Of Beginnings, And Again

1 Jan

This morning, I awoke to Beloved’s voice in my ear. Now, the dreams come in both words and image when I am allowed to sleep naturally. She arrives in the early mornings as once she did on Ocracoke. . . .in the tiny loft bedroom of a yellow cottage on the corner of Fig Tree and Howard. Within my dreaming consciousness, I stood on the right side of an enormous moss and lichen laced live oak, a tree well known to me. M’lady, the enormous live oak on Howard Street.


It is to her I have gone to ask the questions I did not know how to form into speech. Her curved and expansive side is the one I have embraced, hoping wisdom from her deep memory would seep into my consciousness, somehow showing me the way…the path to take. Once upon a time, I curled under the mercy of her shelter, hoping that she would heal me and then open a new heart into seeing. In this shadow state, as I admired the winter sky glowing silvery grey through her leafless limbs, Beloved said to me, “Look beyond the tree”. There, I saw a tiny acorn burnished and  gleaming on the ground. “That is what you have made,” she said. “Now its time to plant and watch it grow.”   For the last three months,  I’ve been blinded by the enormous tree of my life, but it has now birthed a “me” who is complete. In a state of presence, I see the cycle. This small acorn has so much potential and promise…so much wisdom innate within it, the tracings of the tree which grew it lying inside.

But, I sighed. A part of me doesn’t want to start all over…to plant …to tend… to begin the next. “No,” I said to Beloved. “I’m too tired to grow more”.

But perhaps winter is about lying fallow. Resting in the dark in order to gather strength and energy for spring. It seems that way to me today. In many ways, the last three months were one long labor, the pushing and the pain. Moments of wanting to give up and not breathe through what seemed to never come forth.  The building excitement of returning to a sense of home and yet the fear of leaving the dark space of the familiar otherworld.

And some might say that my reticence for this new year and plaints of emotional and spiritual fatigue smack of victimhood. I started 2014 selfish, angry, and frustrated, fighting the way the Universe wanted to shape me at every breath. But I finished this year in surrender and acceptance.  No, not a victim. . . a tired warrior, returned to find tribe and home turned to dust. Like Oisin, love and fate swung a pendant soul out into the timelessness of the otherworld for so long a time that upon his return, they knew him not. The former world had passed away. He eventually fell from his faerie stallion, never able to return to the magical world he had found. The fear of losing the gifts of the journey are ever present in my mind. It worries me that I must stay in the saddle and not fall into decay and loss.

Beloved directs my attention back to M’lady. Now a seed of integrated soul lies awake and expectant. The energy to grow into something beautiful takes both energy within and energy without. Fully waking from this dream, I realize the spark is there within me but the way to light the fire is missing. It takes a communal fire to grow a soul beyond its birth. And as much as I can tend myself, I also need the tending. The hard part, I own… I made the acorn. Now others are needed to help me grow into a beautiful grand old oak that someone else might come to embrace for wisdom, for solace…for love.

At this moment though, I need the quiet rest of winter and to lie expectant for sun and earth and water and air… a call which will open me further.

This year, I have two intentions: To keep a positive open heart and to help shape and belong to loving tribe of friends. So I reached into my tiny bowl of shells from Ocracoke this morning and found one which seemed to speak of the promise of more peaceful waters. By remembering the most beautiful shells are found after the most torrential storms, the space beyond the moment doesn’t hold the apprehension it once did. And the time seems to stretch out beyond the desires of my heart as if I had lifetimes to do all that inspires these wings to flight. May the new year be one of seeking and giving, of peace and love.


 I finished my day in yoga practice with the yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.  As we finished our practice, words of intention flowed as the tides of the shore I love so well. Each inhale and exhale united me to my heart’s home.

May I be Happy. . .

May I be Healthy. . .

May I be Safe. . .

May I live with ease. . .


Happy New Year to the wayfaring souls who bless me by following my journey.

Much gratitude.

Be Loved…..


16 Jan

Small. Today, my soul feels small.

Like I’m still standing on the beach.

In November, sandy brown blowing drifts lay across the flat stretch of the road which took me away from Ocracoke. Mounting over the Oregon Inlet Bridge, seagulls one after the other, like royal sentinels seemed to escort Clarence and I back to the mainland. But since Thanksgiving, not much has moved me. The path dumped me abruptly at my burgundy front door. And though these feet have climbed the choir loft of St. Andrew’s, walked the halls of the Biltmore Estate, rambled through the woods of Wythe County by frozen waterfalls, and now plodded the pavement of Rivermont sidewalks for weeks…something within me just cannot be raked up and carted away. During the falling leaves of October and November, seeking some sort of spiritual center was my goal. I read in my class at Hollins. I learned about mysticism, shamanism, esotericism, connection to the higher self and the spiritual world. In the exploration, artistic thought and playfulness returned. . .the right brained realm began to open.

And I felt hope.

But then the wind blew too much sand over the path. And really, was it taking me where I needed to go? Moments of insight were countered by the cracking of illusions. In my mind, still standing on the sand, a small soul wonders now where to go. When I am lost, I always turn to Joe.

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive

― The Power of Myth

The Ultimate Ordeal perhaps is the realization that none of life has intrinsic purpose, only the one we want to assign ourselves in order to have the motivation to get up each day. To bear living, really living, not just making money, taking care of responsibilities, but having the true courage it takes to embrace the world and know it, takes a lot of energy. And I’m afraid I’m running low. The Universe seems to give a person lesson after lesson and that is the way of it. No real “reward”…no real “Here…you’ve trudged enough…here you go…this one part will be easier than the last.” Life really is perpetual difficulty balanced by moments of enlightenment. But I’ve learned, true meaningful living requires growing, learning, and actively seeking. Not just “what next” but “what else”.

On Christmas Eve at St. Andrew’s, the father said in mass,

“Be not afraid. Rejoice! Always search for joy. . .mere happiness can be ruined by daily trifles…Always look for joy.”

Sitting there on the stairs to the choir loft, overlooking the packed sanctuary, the lack of happiness in my life reared its dragonish head. Happiness? I haven’t been happy in a very long time, but I have experienced joy?

So I decided. I’m giving up looking for happiness.

To let it go means to create a space for something better, something I will not compromise upon.

And in this letting go, the space uncovered contains one primary emotion …I’m mad.

I’m mad that my grandfather died when I was eight and left me.
I’m mad that my mother didn’t have the self resources and maturity to parent well, to teach me how to live a holistically healthy life.
I’m mad that I had to parent her and that she was incapable of understanding me intellectually and emotionally.
I’m mad that no one realized that in the absence of my grandfather, the relationship with my stepfather was emotionally damaging.
I’m mad that my inadequate social education and low self esteem as a young person led me to make poor choices in romantic relationships.
I’m mad that it took me 35 years to discover that I had worth.
I’m mad that men, in general, have been a huge disappointment.
I’m mad that I worked so hard to hone my education, creativity, talents and personality only to realize that the more I grow, the more it isolates me from others.
I’m mad that I am able to nurture other people, to help them to grow, to give them what they need and that isn’t something I get in return.
I’m mad that deep intimacy with anyone other than myself doesn’t seem possible.
I’m mad at God.
I’m mad at me.

Carrying this fills up the space for joy, I know that now. And that being around other people who do not have a sense of what gives real joy and peace prohibits me from healing myself and preparing a space for my own. I’ve often wondered what I’m doing out here…what am I looking for? Why do I persistently fill my spare time with new experiences? Why does the road call to me? Why do I seek activities and people which are slightly frightening, but intriguing?

One answer resounds.

Because I might find some joy.

I know how it feels. Finding it and keeping it is the hardest part.

So my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is this:

1. If an activity doesn’t seem as if it will bring me joy, I’m not doing it.

2. If a connection or relationship doesn’t inspire joy, letting it add to the pile of pain I’m trying to let go of will not further the journey.

3. If something or someone embodies inherent joy, my own grows and is returned. And that is what I ultimately want.

To grow in joy.

That sense of oneness. . .I just need to keep following it.

It shows the way home.

A Full Plate

16 Sep

Have you ever been to a family reunion? Gingham vinyl covered tables are long and piled with homemade delectables so enticing that even though you scoop tiny bites of everything, there is still too much to fit on one plate. That has been my life since Maryland. My plate is overly full. . .so much so that I have been severely ill and struggling to sleep more than four hours a night. I am recouperating from walking pneumonia, an infection that began on the first day of school and lingered until last week.

I traveled anyway in obstinacy. I defied it. I refused to miss school more than a half a day. It laughed at me in its reaper-ish way and then, squeezed my lungs asking,

Howdja like that Wayfarin Lass? You’re taking antibiotics that cure plague for a reason Lil Miss Red.

I am learning quickly that my body has limitations and my drive, while admirable to some will end up hurting me if I do not learn to simply be.

“Give something up” is the message in this first month back to school. I’m faced with tough choices.

I gave up chastising myself about workout routines after going to TRX one evening mid-pneumonia. This was after I had walked a five mile trail in the same week.

My body said No. Stop. Enough. . .Rest.

It scared me.

But I feel soft now, lazy. Having never quite gained momentum back from the summer of traveling and exercise on the fly, I long for my hard leanness to the point of anger. I learned physical discipline, but what I must learn now is spiritual discipline. . .to let go. To balance.

I’ve been confused, musing. My students want more this year. Their skills are weak and I am angry their passiveness. They display a learned helplessness that sends my blood pressure over the edge. I have to learn to let them go and not save them. To let them reap what shallow digging sows, not much. I’ve been behind in grading perpetually because I take their assignments more seriously than they do. That has to end. Their excuses are a dish I can no longer endure.

Maryland was incredible, launching me down a path of retrieving my spirit. During bagpipe tunes and familiar Celtic songs, I had a moments of saying goodbye, watching my former love and my former self part and walk separate ways down a grassy road. I was able to say goodbye to a lot at the Renaissance Faire, and yet hello to much more. In reclaiming that space, I flowered again.

But upon my return, still ill and worried about where next to turn in this spiritual search, I found myself looking back into a program of studies I had started in 2010 at Hollins University. And there, on the list of courses was a Gender and Woman’s Studies class focused on spirituality, myth and the feminine. In less than 24 hours, I was re-enrolled and a student again with my first class only a day away. When the Universe answers, it does so like a lightening bolt. The world is becoming more complicated, yet more simple all at once.

So I face this blog now, after a weekend of confusion over VW bus financing and an aimless trek to see a Civil War Reenactment. Will I even write that novel now? It scares me that that path may have disappeared. I don’t know how, but this space needs to survive, but somehow shift. Changes are coming so quickly that perhaps I’ll only have time to share my observations on the many books I’ll be reading for my class. I still have stories to tell from the road. Like this weekend, when I practically lived out of my vehicle in the Outer Banks due to an AirBnB host who drove me insane with his intrusiveness and one-sided chatter. I had come to the Outer Banks for peace, to be alone with Clarence and to think, to write…to be silent. I paid only for a room, not to spend the weekend with a host who wanted to hostage me into being his “bff”. So I did something I never have before. I packed my car Saturday morning with no idea where to go, no place to stay. But I knew somehow I must find peace and figure it out on the fly. It should be no surprise where I ran, Ocracoke. And surely, it was meant to be. I ran into folks I haven’t seen since December and confirmed that someday the journey will end there, I’m sure.

The uncanny alignment of spiritual path, this class and returning to so many places of old is telling me something. Stay in the moment…do not look forward… do not look back.

Look within.

Remember, it is not September 2010.

It is not October 2011.

It is not December 2012.

This weekend proved that to me. I stopped to get Thai takeout at Thai Moon Restaurant before going back to the ferry and I sat outside at the café tables with Clarence, waiting. He was luring many to soften and chat with me all weekend. That’s his magic. After the AirBnB fiasco, I am now convinced I MUST find a VW bus and someway to pay for it, so that I will have a safe space to stay when I travel. Clarence must come with me. I want to write the stories of the road and of this journey of mine. I have to follow my bliss.

I’m going to put this out there right now to the Universe.

I wish for a VW camper bus so that I can continue writing and learning. I’m a single public school teacher with limited means. It’s my bliss. I have to find a way.

Moon, the owner of the restaurant, came out with my food and squatted to pet Clarence and he did his Clarence thing, lean. She stroked the white crown chakra spot on his head and began to talk in broken English.

“You know”, she said, “I Buddha and Christian, too. . .and I have dream where Buddha say to me that I live on an island and it make me happy…”

She told me an incredible story about how a divine dream revealed to her that she would live and be happy on an island. Her husband, then an alcoholic, found work on Ocracoke, made connections and recovered. Her cooking for everyone there flowered into a successful takeout business. It’s been fifteen years. Her smile shows me that the Universe indeed delivers what is meant “to be”. As I listened to her story and Clarence leaned against her knee, her hand stroked his head so softly as the light began to fade from a sunset over her shoulder in the distance. The knowledge that I was meant to be here at this moment tonight, to be learning these lessons didn’t escape me. I have found bliss: to travel, to learn, to listen to stories. So I will invest my time and money into this education, and a second interdisciplinary Masters degree where I will be able to blend creative and academic courses from a wide variety of interests and also in the road. A place where I have learned more about who I am and the world around me for the last nine months than I have in a lifetime.

I can’t promise that I will post regularly at all anymore, only when I have time or the need to share some tale of the road or my class. Perhaps I’ll need to share a milestone in this journey if I come to one. My little book is continually filling with musings, poem and now sketches. I hope to be able to paint soon; that is something the spirit needs to release in me again. You can follow me on Instagram if you want to know where I’ve been or what the road has delivered visually.Or Facebook via RSS where I regularly send out snippets of life or photos that don’t make it here. My Twitter feed (on the right) will still be active and my schedule of wayfarin will be up to date. I’m not signing off, nor saying goodbye. Only that I need some space on my plate. And I wanted you to know that silence sometimes means more than twice weekly posts. Stories might pile in half notation in my little book for the future, or I might tell you something via Youtube. I’ve been playing with the idea of a vLog. The Universe hasn’t decided yet what will come next…but as soon as I know, so will you.

Thank you for being here.

Thank you for giving me a reason to journey on.

Be Well.

Be Loved.

Living in Shadow

15 Dec

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis

This morning, Beloved woke me early.


Why are you in love with words instead of real people?

The play Shadowlands and the life of C.S. Lewis has been running the perimeter of my brain for weeks and since,  I have been contemplating connection through language. Lewis and his wife Joy Gresham met and came to know each other primarily through letters. Their peculiar relationship has struck me for years. This great man, with the imagination and heart of a child, was perceived through his philosophy and writing by a woman who then took the initiative to pick up a pen and communicate. She saw something in him which intrigued her to the point of action. And in her unflagging patience, they came to know one another, love one another, and then part through her death. Her presence transformed his life, his faith. She was the greatest love of his life and his greatest loss. I have been thinking about the nature of love..What is love? It seems so huge…so immense…so varied …so complex yet again, so simple.

How can you come to love someone through the written word? Are you coming to love a reality or an illusion? I suppose it depends upon what is written. Here lies the difference, I think. In writing of the self there is intimate honesty, a more vulnerable revealing that might be made in the spoken word and therefore, for me anyway, more precious, more deep and sensitive, more honest and ultimately more free. However, words are symbols. They represent a reality that has to be lived eventually. You can’t have a relationship with a text or a letter. Physical presence defines a mature relationship. Otherwise its just too darn easy. There’s not a lot of real investment in a piece of paper or a SMS. You can’t sustain a complex mature relationship when the balance of it is on a page or a screen. But its written word still, symbol, communication from behind the social wall. Is there really an intimate revealing there? Or is it just a manipulation of thoughts and patterns for gain? It is openness or masking?

I think what I have come to realize about love, is that real love does not seek to use someone for itself. Love requires effort and reciprocity. I haven’t come to the point of feeling grateful yet for this crisis. Coming here has put me on a unknown path. I am not thankful yet, but I am sure I will be one day.

So, in coming to learn the nature of connection through the written word I have found a key, sharing. It’s the only thing that replaces loss. Being open and real, holding on to the spirits of our dear ones and feeling their physical nearness. Because life is a gaining and losing, a loving and nothingness, dancing and crying. A dear friend texts me as I write this to tell me of his dancing with his lovely wife to the music of the spheres as the meteors fell last night.

Love is simple. I know that now.

After the Storm

13 Dec

Last night, after Brenda’s revelation, I went home and into myself and what I found, I didn’t like. I found that in compromising myself, in letting others’ behaviors affect me to the point where I do not flow nor feel free to be honest has got to stop, especially when it comes to relationships . If I’m ever going to be completely happy with someone, they have to be privy to the real me from day one, not the abridged version. I tire of hiding the fact that I’m deep, that I feel. I know that I’m different and I’m done with trying to figure out how people feel about me in relationships. I tire of guessing. Is radical honesty too much of a foreign concept for others?

Last night, I finally came apart and it wasn’t pretty. I finally realized there is nothing wrong with me except being a willing victim of some very screwed up men. So now there is nothing left but to surrender. There is nothing left for me to do but just give up and take back my life. I am not eating well. I am not working out well. I’m not sleeping well. I’m just fucking not well. And I am ashamed to be this weak and I hate myself for it. I hate the fact that I have run out of hope and that I have to find some way to face the fact that I just might be exactly the way I am for the rest of my natural life. Single and alone. This is scary for me. At the heart of it comes the fear of rejection and disconnection. If in the process of simply being myself, I come to be more alone, then that is a state which I must learn to accept and find peacefulness within. I often think about what my life will be like after my mother and family have passed away. I will be reliant on the connections of my friends and their families, that thought has given me more than one sleepless night.

I went to the beach yesterday in the rain and wind, and I was reminded of the passage through the dead marshes. It is the valley of the shadow where I pass now. I’m facing something, looking at it,  but swear to God I hope I can find an answer before going back and picking up a life that seems so crazy, so empty. I’ve been holding my breath for years and now I can’t hold it anymore.

I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to be happy and I want to love.

I don’t have to be rich or lead a perfect life. I just want to share my intimate world with a kindred soul. I am alone. I have no children, no siblings…just friends. And honestly, after six days of not letting them know what is up with me on Facebook. It feels like no one is really missing me. I’m in pieces in my pj’s after being up all night. I’m hung over and wondering what the hell I am doing here.

All I can think about is Zillie’s, and the beach, and Brenda, and three words:  Love is simple.

Will this wind wipe away all that remains,
all the shards of shell mixed with grit
blown into crevices of my soul
like a windowless summer cottage after a hurricane?
Will it smooth out the pain,
sand over scratches,
scour half painted and flaking fixes from the last gale
over this well worn house?
Or do I just let waves wear it out under each corner,
wash upon wash,
tearing down the vagrant walls,
the ghost of permanence echoing in its bones?
The halls are filled with shattered shells,
cracked sea homes,
covered in a thin veil of numb powder
like dust on the floor of a house

no one has walked inside of
for fear of collapse

after storm.

Night She Comes, Cloaked

9 Dec

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Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.


Here I sit, in a tiny vintage 30’s cottage on the main street of Ocracoke, at the corner of Howard Street and Fig Tree Lane. I am home. That is the only way to describe this feeling. Home. The trip was a blur. Driving to music entirely wrapped in my thoughts, I could not discern where I was in space. My mind wandered and dreamed. I remembered how I had become used to reading aloud as a passenger on long drives, and had never really noticed the trip. But with every mile, my mind became more clear, my heart filled with a deeper conviction. As Clarence and I boarded the ferry, I knew I want to be fully in the moments as they pass. I have no plans. Furthermore, I don’t want any.

I just want to be…and be fully.

I don’t think I even realized that I would be witness to a sunset until the ferryman said to me, “Should be a nice sunset tonight. You’ll get some good pictures”. So I fished out my camera, got Clar settled, bundled up against the wind, and began to learn how to balance savoring and saving. That has always been a problem for me, trying to record the experience, yet being in it fully at the same time.

The perfection of this night crossing was so overwhelming that I struggled NOT to share it with others via phone. To stay unplugged and keep it within me and let it embrace the edges of this fear. How many pictures of a sunset can you take? And then I thought of the day of the 44 sunsets in the Little Prince.and I asked myself, was he truly sad? How could he be while looking into the face of the Universe? Each sunset, each one is never truly lost. I struggled to watch this beauty, to understand that I was witnessing the Divine.

My words here seem so trite and cliche, so ill befitting this splendor of fire and water. To my left a flock of seven sea birds flew into view, wing to wing, spirit to spirit. And when the great sun, like liquid red gold, dissolved into a wide expansive blue bay, I knew…it is all One. An answer to my pondering of disconnection came. Words and social constructs don’t matter; we are all one in our humanity and we must love one another above all else. It is all that matters. Love is what we take with us into the next world and the next and the next. Yes, humans fail. Yes, they slumber in their souls. Yes, all have turned inward to petty fears and vanities at one time or another. But we must open and allow, letting fire and water balance within us.

I have seen the hand of the Universe today, and it is kind and loving. I know now how Keats may have felt when he wanted to die in the nightingale’s song. Tonight, I could have died without fear in the face of that sunset. All of the sliding planes of the sky in azure, indigo, black, gold, orange, pink, peach, rose, mauve, red, white. All sliding planes of existence.  All of these layers upon layers of light.

Time past, time present all melted into one. Nothing to separate us.

And in the night crossing upon the ferry into the buried world of home, there is now hope in an eye “made quiet by the power of harmony”. There is hope.


Into the Mystic

30 Jun

Mystic Seaport has been on my list for many years, mainly due to one really cheesy 80’s film with Julia Roberts, Mystic Pizza. I don’t know why that film touched me the way it did, but its probably something to do with a romanticized yet pretty true caveat about women. From their friends to their mothers alike, women seem to understand each other infinitely better than men do. It must be our hormones. So, it made all the sense in the world to me that I would be going with my mother to Mystic Seaport to see what I could see and to go back to that land of the 1980’s. I hadn’t traveled with my Mom in years, and I mean YEARS, not since I was a teenager going on excursions to Myrtle Beach.  I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t realize how much about my mother I would understand on that trip. And about her connection to me.

Of the many moments we spent together in Mystic, one principle really made itself evident quite quickly. I am an introvert. As chatty and gregarious as I can be, I need alone time, even in the presence of others, to process my thoughts and my world. Especially in the morning. I am NOT a morning person.

Not.    At.      All.

My mom is an extrovert. Her entire world is processed verbally in connection with someone else and its pretty constant. She also needs the safety of plans. Firm plans. Assured plans, plans that are reaffirmed every five minutes so they don’t change. And she doesn’t trust herself quickly, or her ability to troubleshoot if the first decision goes awry. I’m much more relaxed than my mom, and I practice radical honesty which she isn’t used to. She micromanages because she doesn’t trust that even if something goes wrong it’ll all be okay. On our first day in Mystic, within the first two hours, I made her cry simply over trying to read the map to get to the Mystic Seaport Museum less than five miles from our Bed and Breakfast.

Our first dinner was a struggle. We were seated by the Mystic River at a lovely table. It was amazing and I tend to try to quiet myself and just allow. Usually when I eat with others, I’m so wrapped into conversation that a lot of the experience shifts to connection rather than the moment and my interaction with it. But I needed to feel the river, the sunset and attend to the smells, and sounds, and tastes around me. That’s nearly impossible with Mom when she is uncomfortable. The seating wasn’t right, so she moved chairs, twice. The oil and vinegar for the bread needed parmesan in it whether I wanted it or not. The discussion couldn’t lag. Car horns at the drawbridge were alarming, and scary and bothersome. And, I nearly lost my mind. I wanted that experience so badly and I was being prevented from owning it. When she went to the bathroom, the sun was nearly set. I breathed a sigh over the short reprieve and lost myself in a short thought.

The song came easily and I drifted my heart right back into Brian Hall’s voice and tried to send my spirit up and out onto the river.

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

I had to steal a moment just for myself.

And I suppose I was a bit angry about it and needed to let it go. We walked after dinner and then went across the bridge to an ice cream parlor. Mom has been the queen of “fat free this, sugar free that” for centuries and it took her that long it seemed to decide what she wanted. When she, for the millionth time, forewent the full fat ice cream for the “better for you” kind, when she obviously wanted the real deal, I lost it.

Out loud and in front of the ice cream clerk.

“Mom, I am buying this ice cream for you and if I’m paying for it, you are getting the full fat kind!

I’m not paying for something that has nothing in it, damn it!

Life is short, eat the ice cream you like.

I am not having this mess!…end of story.”

So I told the ice cream clerk to serve her up the full fat kind and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. When the clerk looked at Mom, who was mortified at my outburst, and then to me, she broke. She laughed so hard that all of us got the giggles and began to laugh. That’s all it took.

What I realized more than anything is that my Mom needs me to be the leader, because its in my nature and not hers. She is who she is and I have to love her in her faults and imperfections in the same way she has had to love me for mine. I can’t change her. I have to accept her the way she is. It doesn’t mean I have to drop my personal boundaries, though. My mother will never truly perceive me.  Its not possible. But, she can appreciate me and that will have to be enough.

The next evening we had a more informal dinner at Abbott’s Lobster Pound. I had turned Mom on to mussels and we ordered a big pile of them and crab rolls and corn, popping out a bottle of Riesling of our own at one of the picnic tables on the grounds. We ate and watched the water and talked deeply for the first time in a long time. I was able to tell her how much I loved her, how beautiful she was, and to identify the qualities in her that I admire…. like her ability to be friendly with just about anyone, her creativity in decor, her enviable ability to be just fine living alone, something I am still learning to master. And she teared up and told me how proud she was of me and how many talents I had like writing, teaching, painting, and as she puts it, “being smart”. At that moment, I could really see my mom. I have to love her for her honest attempt at living a good life more than anything else.

So we had great moments and not so great moments for the rest of our trip. I’ll never forget that night at Abbott’s, and how the water wove its way into my relationship with my mom, the past and the present all combined.

And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don’t have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic……

How strange our connections to parents are…half person, half creator, deeply a part of ourselves.

Treading Water

26 Jun

On my first night in Kingston, I wondered how long this ride might last. How long it would be until there was no more adventure in this wave. When the swell would flatten, the wind would die, and I would be treading water once again. I love the waves, the wind, the carrying forward that seems so effortless. In each swell there is the hope of being delivered effortlessly into something that feeds my flame floating upon the deep blue.  I remember staring into the marbled velvet blue- purple of an Oak Bluffs hydrangea and wondering how long this small reward part of my journey would last, of being conscious that it would end.

I been trying to do it right
I been living a lonely life
I been sleepin’ here instead
I been sleepin’ in my bed
I been sleepin’ in my bed

So show me family
All the blood that I will bleed
I don’t know where I belong
I don’t know where I went wrong
But I can write a song

So its back to this place of stillness, of waiting for the next swell and I’m paddling in place, just treading water and that’s okay.

That’s okay.

Casting Backward

22 Jun


Into this ocean a long line cast,
reeling backward
like the silver bullet spray
from cutting prow
against this heart blue ocean.
Whizzing behind me,
the line.
Not sure how long
before a click
stops it,
tugs it
into the blood and flesh
of my chest.
The wind holds
a bare moment
of bowed line snap.
But the blue knows
when to cut 
this taut twine
to the deep,
into the home of all things lost.

— Written on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

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