Thoughts on beauty and other things I notice…

Road Signs.

Driving Highway 89 South from Pittsfield Vermont to the Manchester New Hampshire Airport, after a five-day writing retreat, the sky is cloudless and brilliant blue as only a glorious October day can be. The diamond-shaped yellow road sign “bridge freezes before road” keeps showing up. The statement feels like such a metaphor for life. We get little nudges to move forward or back, or sideways, and if we don’t pay attention- we get them again. It feels that this Vermont portion of the US Interstate is speaking directly to me as I momentarily press on the breaks and my red rental car picks up speed as we descend a hill and cross yet another bridge. There it is again. “Bridge freezes before road,” Four words very matter of fact.   It’s 64 degrees according to the car, the caretaker of the Inn said it’s usually in the 40’s by now, but not today, there’s no likely hood of it freezing as I cross. I sense that there is something here for me and a ¼ down the road the same diamond shape sign appears with one word, “MOOSE.” Below a tinier sign “stay alert.” This freaks me out on this narrow highway that at this moment hugs the cliff. I wonder where on earth the moose would come from and what the hell am I suppose to do if he/she does cross the road? This gal residing in Texas has no experience with this type of wild animal, I’m used to turtles or maybe an armadillo, I haven’t been trained in moose crossings.   I’ve seen one before in... read more

What is magic?

What is magic to me? That was the question I was given. Serendipity, I think. A Skype call on a Saturday with my friend David, who’s suffered a memory loss recently. We start talking about odds and ends catching up, how to get a good design for a business card, something I have been waffling over for a few months. Out of the corner of my eye, I see David’s card; it’s distinctive with a dark black musical clef on grey-blue paper. It’s sitting in my silver slotted holder that I place paperwork in on my desk that I am not ready to hide away yet. His card is the first thing in the front row; I don’t remember it being there yesterday. I can’t believe that it is there just as we are talking about business cards, I haven’t seen his card in over a year. I would bet money on that. I pick it up smiling and hold it in front of my iPad so he can see it- David’s in London, and it is late in the evening in his part of the world. “Like this one?” I ask He looks at it and asks, “What’s that?” “It’s your business card that you gave me when we first met in January two years ago,” I reply. David starts laughing as he grabs his head with his two hands. “Really?” “I don’t recognize it.” He continues to laugh shaking his head. “That is too funny,” I’m laughing too. Too funny is right. I smile so tickled by the fact that the card showed up where it needed... read more

Resistance is my teacher.

“Tell the truth about what’s working and what isn’t.”   This advice is from a financial book I’ve been reading. However, I see it as wisdom to share for any part of my life. I like that the question is balanced. What’s working? What isn’t? Simple, direct, without blame, no value judgment.   My answer surprised me.   Tight underwear.   That’s what’s not working for me right now in my life. It’s not working for me, and it’s very annoying. I have a pair on that I knew were tight, and I still put them on today. I haven’t thrown out the tight underwear in my dresser they continue to hang out there taking up drawer space, daily reminders of change. I’ve gained weight, and the indentations from the waistband around my middle remind me.   I was at the doctor Monday afternoon for my annual physical, within 5 seconds of being in the room the nurse had me step on the scale. I thought maybe I had gone up a few pounds; I knew my clothes were a little tight, but I wasn’t expecting double-digit increase. (Damn) I don’t have a scale at home. I can’t play the game that muscle weighs more than fat, that worked when I was doing daily vinyasa yoga and on my mat 90 minutes a day. That was then, and that isn’t now.   I even wore the tight underwear to my doctor’s appointment. It’s as if I ‘m intentionally putting salt in a wound to punish myself for the changes my body is going through in my peri -menopausal phase.  ... read more

Be Like Water.

“Be Like Water.” That’s what I would tell my yoga class, follow Mother Nature, go with the flow, water moves around obstacles; it is powerful, it melts steel and stone, it’s flexible, it’s fluid, it’s feminine, all beautiful qualities to nurture. Until now. Today I don’t want to be like water, this endless mess courtesy of Harvey that stayed over our city upending lives, creating stress, misery, bringing change for decades to come. I know from previous experience with tropical storms, hurricanes, rip tides, ocean swims that water is powerful, that it is not wise to under estimate Mother Nature. I’ve always known that. The city didn’t underestimate her here in Houston. We knew what was coming, you just can’t imagine it until you experience it and still, you can’t be prepared exactly for what unfolded. I like Mother Nature, her immense power to delight and keep us humble. But I’m not sure I will ever use that phrase again, at least not for a yoga class in Houston. My context has changed, an endless row of red radar screens, counter clockwise spinning feeder bands, jarring emergency alerts of tornado warnings on my iPhone, pictures of people so worse off than me. No, I won’t use that term again. At 9 am this morning, I took my first yoga class since the storm, a yin class, and the instructor, having been through the storm herself was very aware of the mix of emotions that we were all trying to process. I was so relieved to be on my mat with others, to breathe together, an opportunity to relax and... read more

I won’t love you less.

“I won’t love you less”, those were the words A. wrote back.   I didn’t see how she could be so sure; she didn’t know yet what she had agreed to read. How can she say that with such certainty?   We had just ended our call, we hadn’t talked in awhile, and she was responding to a 50-year-old photo that I had luckily found in some papers. I had sent it to her and her brother via email earlier in the week. We are probably 3, 4 and six years old. I always thought it such a great photograph, it made me happy to see it again. There wasn’t any date or name on the back, but I‘m pretty sure it was her dad, my uncle, who took it.   Her response to the image was “I wish I didn’t feel so old!” To me, she and her brother looked the same just younger, much younger, versions of their current selves. Their eyes and the bridges of their noses couldn’t be mistaken 50 years on. I don’t feel old like she does, I just can’t wrap my head around,   “How are we in our 50’s already?”   She added that she had just driven back to Stockholm and that summer was officially over since her kids were returning to work and college. I wanted to touch base and hear about her summer, we talk quarterly, sometimes more depending on what is going on. Usually, without meaning to, it’s a checklist of questions.   How are you? What have you been up to? Anything new going on? How’s... read more


Do my words bruise you?   That’s what the gentleman asked the group of strangers in the story Pádraig Ó Tuama retold to Krista Tippett in an episode of her podcast On Being. I wrote that sentence down on an index card. It was a stark, beautiful image I wanted to hold on to.   Driving home from my road trip a week ago I filled up on gas at the “Toot and Totem” in Dalhart, Texas; the guy in front of me was paying for a cold can of Red Bull. I noticed the cashier. A 60ish petite woman, long brown hair, maybe 5 feet tall, pale skin with the left side of her face mottled by purple, and blue blotches of color, bruises a few days old. I didn’t cringe or feel pity I just witnessed her and wondered, how did that happen? When she printed out my gas receipt, I said “thank you” and left. Was I extra kind because of what I saw? I don’t know. I was respectful; her face made me more present, more grounded in my own body.   Last Saturday, early am, in my attempt to get rid of a muscle cramp in my leg that had caused me to jolt out of bed, I watched myself fall in slow motion unable to catch myself, Wham! Down hard on my left butt cheek and a nanosecond later my head jerks up after a hit to the tray on the coffee table hard enough to crack it. I iced both my head and my glute and went back to bed. Forgetting about... read more