Monday, December 28, 2009

Tea & chocolate

Tea & chocolate
Stretched out on the couch
under my youngest son's blanket
bathed in golden sunlight
not working!
reading a novel
not a great novel
just a story
about a woman
who is not sure which way to turn.
Maybe life is like a garden.
You could design it this way or that
and it would probably be
just fine either way,
there are probably lots of ways
it would be really lovely.
And Nature will come in and do
Her own majestic and messy things,

December 27, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paved with Gold

Ginko leaves on Grammercy Street in November

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Emerald Green

I don't mean to freak you out, but I have a dead hummingbird lying on my nature table. I found it on the pavement outside of Talbot's two weeks ago, where I had gone to buy a new pair of black pants. My old pair, which could go anywhere from work to the opera, had died. I don't know about you, but I really need a good pair of black pants.

Karen, the best saleswoman on the planet, was there because I was praying the whole time I was walking up there that she would be. She's even tinier than I am, knows the merchandise in and out, and has the gift of knowing exactly what I, not a good shopper, should buy. I explained my predicament. She walked several paces to a rack of trousers, plucked off a trim pair-- exactly my size-- and swung them in my direction. "This is it," she said. "You can wear them anywhere, throw them in the machine and they're ready to go. Perfect every time."

Leaving the store triumphant, I noticed a speck of emerald green on the expansive esplanade in front. Emerald is an unusual color, so I was curious and approached the speck. A dead hummingbird, of all things, in the middle of the sea of pavement! My immediate thought was to fish a tissue out of my purse, scoop him up and gently deposit him under a bush. But-- how often do you get to see a hummingbird? If you see them, as soon as you see them, they are gone, out of there, faster than the blink of an eye...

So at first, I stared. At his plumage, shimmering emerald. At his long, needle-thin beak. At the tiny ruff of feathers around his neck-- a circlet for a prince. (I'm guessing this bird was male because male birds seem to get all the gorgeous colors.) How did he come to be in this sea of pavement?

I walked home holding him in the tissue, and soon, when I can bear to let him go, he'll be buried amidst the ferns of my garden, ashes to ashes, green to green, another bit of stardust in this shimmering web of life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Leaves scattered
like runes on the sidewalk
portents, prophesies
glistening, serpentine ribbons
slug trails
telling of the past and
foretelling the fall to come.
And the little black squirrel
filling his belly
with scarlet dogwood berries
relishing this warm
September day.

September 15, 2009

Yes! There are dogwood berries. But look quick,
or they'll all be gone

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I hear someone's spoon

I hear someone’s spoon
clinking on a cereal bowl
craving sustenance
a teenager abroad in the night
stepping away from imming
looking out the window above the sink
into the velvety darkness
should be in bed
not quite done with homework
not quite done with life for the day
ready for more
and his mother’s upstairs
hoping that he gets it
and that it’s everything he hopes for.

January 31, 2008

For Arran, my 17 year old son
who left this week for France.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer Wanes

Summer wanes
but it’s doing it with some
some splash and flair.
Thunder storms crackle,
summer annuals are rich with
flame-colored blooms,
and while the cicadas
are winding down (the husks
of their huge green and black
bodies are sadly starting
to litter the sidewalks)
their confreres the snowy
tree crickets and katydids
are thrumming in the tree tops,
squirrels are scurrying
(there’s a little black one
dashing along my fence
right now), and the farm market
overflows with goodness,
corn, peaches, tomatoes, herbs
and greens, so death
is just a whiff, a note in
the singing symphony so full
of life and juice and the
tap-dancing celebration
that is summer’s end.

August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yoko Ono is Following Me on Twitter

Sunflowers at the farm market

Have you tried Twitter yet? I began tweeting this summer as an experiment, doing research on social networking on behalf of the non-profit I work for. Twitter content can be inane and totally disconnected, as if each person is chatting to the universe with no response, over and over-- “I wish someone would buy me sushi” or, “I’m giving a presentation on 21st century algorithms”.

But there have been some highlights. The way Twitter works is that you find people who’s thoughts interest you, and you follow them. Ditto for others who find your thoughts interesting (or who want you for their sales lists). Then whenever someone you’re following posts a thought, it appears on your list. You might follow the BBC (too many tweets for me), the White House or Number 10 Downing Street. I recently discovered the Joint Chief of Staff is tweeting!

My top 3 highlights so far : A poem of mine was re-tweeted (RT for short, i.e., shared around after I had tweeted it) on Poetry Central, by a medievalist at Yale; Yoko Ono is following me (of course, I ‘followed’ her first); and Greg Mortenson just joined twitter, and is tweeting from Afghanistan! He happened to start the day I finished reading his greatly inspiring book Three Cups of Tea (see previous post). How utterly thrilling! Rather like Mother Theresa tweeting.

Yoko Ono, by the way, tweets lovely things about world peace and love. On August 11th she wrote, “The town is shining, sun, rain, or snow. We live in a beautiful universe. Enjoy the miracle you are part of.”

RT: All you need is love.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

How many people in this world do you truly, deeply admire?

Gren Mortenson has just risen to the top of my list. A few days ago, I finished his utterly amazing and inspiring book Three Cups of Tea, about his work building schools, primarily for girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A mountain climber, he found himself lost on his way down K-2 and wandered into his life’s work—a remote mountain village with girls studying in an outdoor classroom, on bare earth, in the freezing winds. Such will to learn caught at his heart, and he eventually returned with the supplies to build his first school. He’s now built over 130. Dr. Greg, as he is fondly known in the region, constitutes an entire second front in the war on terror and grinding poverty. Educate a woman, save a village. This is the kind of war I want to engage in.

The book itself is one of the best I’ve ever read. The story is totally gripping—a real life heroic narrative. Greg Mortenson, who’s been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, has listened well to his heart, and teaches each of us to do so by example.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Life Experience Waiting for the Bus

I sat on a bench in the shade
in Lenox town square, waiting
for the Peter Pan to Providence.
Two benches down
a noisy family shouted to
each other rather than spoke.
They seemed kind of crude,
even vulgar.
They picked up all their things
and joined me,
kind of engulfed me, a mom,
an unidentified man, and a teenage
girl (who could have been a boy,
with androgynous length hair)
large, wide people, waddling my
way. With an unexpected,
uncalled for sweetness they
took it upon themselves to
ascertain my level of experience
with the Peter Pan bus line,
and to provide me with
all the information necessary for
my comfort as a traveler, most
especially the important fact that
the bus driver on this route is fond of
air conditioning and I might freeze
without a jacket handy.
The girl, who lives in some kind of
home and travels to her real
home on the Peter Pan bus line
Insisted on carrying my heavy
suitcase for me and is not entirely
100% with us, but is as sweet
as can be and
looked so joyous
running back and forth to
the corner to watch for the bus
with her mother’s big old
sweater flapping around
her waist.

April 21, 2008

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Green

Don't you just love the green of summer?
Dream-like and deeply serene...

Images from a recent walk on the canal with Trudy.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning
ripe with the pleasure
of summer and family
books to read
lazy sun
juicy peaches
farm market
neighborhood errands
friendly hellos
smile on me, life,
smile on.

July 26, 2008

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bumping into Leah

She was standing on a busy street corner near a Metro stop looking tentative, traffic roaring by, her white cane probing in an arc around her-- a slightly plump young white woman with pink cheeks and long, wavy brown hair. I wasn’t sure if she needed help and didn’t want to intrude, but I slowed down as I passed just in case. “Excuse me?” she called out. “Could you tell me what street we are on?”

I suggested we walk together, since it turned out we were heading in the same direction. She kept bumping into me as we walked along, quite companionably, searching for the noodle café where she had arranged to meet her boyfriend. I inquired if she was vision impaired, and she was amazingly jolly as she explained that from birth she couldn’t really see, and that it took eight years to establish that she wasn’t stupid or mentally inadequate-- during which time no one knew what to make of her, or do for her, or with her. It was eventually determined that she had a severely and unusually limited range and field of vision. Her mother’s love was her constant solace.

We found our way to the noodle café, where we said goodbye. I continued on with my day savoring the memory of Leah, her warm and sweet sense of humor, and picturing the field and range of her vibrant personality as she navigates through the world, bumping into people and things.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sticky Cool

Sticky Cool

It's a sticky cool summer evening
on the terrace.
One sticks to the chair a little
but there's enough of a breeze
barely a zephyr but enough
to imagine
that one is someplace exotic
especially because the
father and son having dinner
nearby are speaking in a
mysterious language.
So while I wait for my son to
finish baseball practice down
the road I am far away
drinking water on a terrace
urbane and alive
at one with the sticky cool

July 21, 2008

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Bouquet

A summer bouquet from the farm market... for you!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Refreshing Suggestion: Mad Hot Ballroom

Would you like a really sweet, refreshing film to view this summer?

May I suggest a new find from my public library dvd shelf: Mad Hot Ballroom, a 2005 documentary by Cuban-born director Marilyn Agrelo and writer/producer Amy Sewell about a ballroom dance program in the New York City public school system. 11-year old 4th & 5th graders compete for the city-wide prize in ballroom dancing. Agrelo profiles several of the classes competing, and the results are sheer delight-- charming, candid, funny, touching, sizzling, refreshing and inspiring. A winner!

Click here to watch the trailer on youtube:


Ps—what are some of your favorite films?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Raining & Raining

It’s been raining and raining
this summer
and there’s been thunder
rolling over the landscape
and torrential downpours
soaking through shoes
puddles and rivulets
streaming down the sidewalks
and the daring art of dashing
between unpredictable deluges
has been busily practiced
all across town…
Rosenny and I arrived at our
destinations soaked through
to the skin, which is not
fashionable, especially when
it has stopped raining and
everyone else (having driven)
arrived dry as a bone.

June 21, 2009

Sudden puddles!

The moss and lichen like it :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Doing it with love

Gemini Team Member Beth Phillips Mallon
& Renowned Chef/Author Rebecca Katz
backstage at Food As Medicine / CancerGuides II, 2009-
beautiful friends & colleagues

I recently helped create and orchestrate a Center for Mind-Body Medicine training for 500 people, mostly health professionals, held here in Washington, DC. On the last day of the program, numerous people came up and thanked me for my hard work and my part in making the program such a wonderful experience-- so nice! The largest single group of our attendees were physicians. They are so accustomed to very different, considerably more cut-and-dried atmospheres at conferences they attend, so it came as somewhat of a shock to them to find the environment warm and nurturing.

One of them said to me, This is the best medically-oriented program I have attended in my 40 year career. I looked her in the eyes, and out of my lips came the words, There is no law against doing it with love.

Wow... that’s really what I have to say. There is no law against doing it with love, whether it’s the way you work with colleagues, family, friends, community, country, or the world…

In putting this program together, our small staff at the Center formed ourselves into a team. We had a name—‘Gemini’, because we were doing two trainings at once
—Food As Medicine and CancerGuides II. Each of us identified and committed to a role, which we took on and saw to completion, whatever it took to do so. Each of us counted on the other, 1000%. We met weekly and brainstormed, and helped each other troubleshoot rough spots. We worked with creativity and love. The training was made out of this sublime material—and it showed.

In the same way, I have always thought that if you stir the rice with love, that’s what your family will taste. Put the raw rice in the pot, rinse it with water, stir with your hand. Smile as you stir, and think loving thoughts…. The rice will be sweet and nourishing to those you love.

Go, Gemini! Our team at a pre-program planning session / picnic
with microplaners (a great piece of cooking equipment!)
They look like pirates! Or- are those magic wands?

And no planning session would be complete without a bowl of cherries....

There’s no law against doing it with love.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Summertime! and the livin' is easy...

Stars in the summer floral lineup...

Long shadows on the hillside..

Grazing in the grass!

My walk to work down lovely sun-dappled streets...

But now I'm on vacation for 2 weeks. Yippppeeeee!

Happy summer!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Filled with Life

You have to take pictures because they fill you with life.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

This one's for Trudy :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The ineffable fragrance of you

I trod across the hillside
rounded the corner
and was stunned
by the ineffable fragrance
of you.
Suddenly I became all
about finding you,
buried in woodland thicket,
the cause of this glorious infusion,
this piercing, classic, delicious
only-in-springtime aroma.
And there you were, modest
in size and appearance, but
Empress of the lands around
you, and I your slave.

May 28, 2009

The delicious, common, road-side honeysuckle

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Procession of Spring: Late May in the Bishop's Garden

Still exquisite, spring moves majestically toward summer, sharing the luxurious gifts of iris, poppy, peony, alium, salvia, nepeta, along with herbs and leafy greens... Here, a late-May tour of the Bishop's Garden and the glories therein on a recent Saturday.

Salvia, poppies & boxwood


Ladybug friend with Dandelion Greens (?)

Two views of the upper border, with (l to r) aliums, amsonia, salvia & peach-colored iris

The Blue Border near the Gazebo


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all women,
who care for their children, their families and each other...

A dear friend writes, There are times you provide wise guidance to me, like a mother, and for that I am grateful....

And another friend writes, I am so thankful and grateful not only to my own mother, but to the many womyn who have guided my life and made me feel special and loved.

It's such an honor to be a part of their lives! And to be a part of the community of caring women who bring love and integrity to all that they do.

I thank my mother, no longer with us, and my mother-in-law, whom I dearly treasure, for their love and guidance. I thank my beautiful women friends and colleagues, who enrich all around them with their strong and joyous spirits. And I thank Mother Earth, who provides for us all...

Happy Mother's Day!