Moments in Memory      

Moments layered in memory
evolve over time,
forming an emotion hued painting of events.
Like art in a gallery
it’s displayed in our minds.
We can skip down paths to our childhood,
visiting with friends long gone
while avoiding dark woodland paths
knowing a snake waits ahead!
Birthdays of yesterday
merge with today,
all colored with love in different shades!
Shopping in a small town,
coffee shared with mom
who traveled onward years ago
infuses our lunch of today;
new memories made richer
by the poignancy of before.

Lakes and fish stories bring Dad close by,
his long, tall shadow
a silhouette against the setting sun.
Still ready to cast a line
and lure a keeper to the shore.
He’s only a step or two away
when I need him, just a step or two away.
Clinking domino tiles in play,
arms reaching in and out to arrange the next move,
form a camaraderie of family,
linking past to present.
I enter the kitchen and see the coat rack
in its familiar place
but my mind still sees his old, tan windbreaker
and wool cap ready to be worn.
A gesture, a glancing gaze, a stance,
bring echoes of him present
in the generations of him here and now.
Images of his navy stride,
hands clasped behind his back,
walk with me down cracked, cement sidewalks
along green city berms.
He’s a step or two ahead now,
just a step or two away.
Embracing a grandchild warm against my skin,
I remember being held in his strong arms,
secure against the shadowy fears, safe.

Life never ends.
We carry it forward within us,
a gift to share and pass on.
Our loved ones are a blink between heartbeats,
a breath or two away, a step or two away.

A worn, brown plaid cookbook
rests on my kitchen counter,
its pages brittle with age.
Notes in the margin
show Mother’s fine handwriting.
My hand touches the page, touches her,
so we begin the recipe again.
My wooden spoon so used to her movements,
picks up a rhythm as I cream butter and sugar.
Her voice in my ears proudly tells
of her mother, how she never needed a recipe
just a pinch of this and that.
To cook with abandon and verve,
how daring it seems!
It’s taken a lifetime to wean myself
of the need for direction, still listening,
still learning.
Thick batter waits to be shaped
into cookies that never last long enough!
All too soon they are cooling on wax paper,
samples eaten in quick, hot bites
assuring tradition upheld!
I fold her apron carefully,
its colors slightly dimmed,
ready for our next visit together
when we’ll work our craft in the kitchen,
misted with memories,
dusted with flour.

Lady Wisteria. 5-31-17

The Lady Wisteria has returned,
gracing us all with her presence.
Flounces of leafy green
laced with tendrils of ribbon
sway gently in the breeze,
hiding her conquest
beneath full skirts.

She towers above all
save the cedar and blue spruce,
confident in herself,
knowing her own ability.
They must stand rooted and firm,
sentries of home and hearth.
She is a dancer following the wind,
seeking with lightest touch
a hold for the next step,
stretching then covering all
with her lacy, flowing gown.

She partners with wind and time,
waltzing with each in turn,
broken hearts and conquests
hidden beneath her trailing train,
bound by vine secure.

Each fall we attempt
to slow her determined progress
clipping and snipping,
to achieve a simple, svelte silhouette,
only to see each spring,
she rises like a Phoenix,
flaunting her beauty once more!

Highland Festival in Alma, MI

The festival always takes place this weekend, and we always try to go with varying degrees of success.  Sometimes, life gets in the way despite your best intentions and you console yourself with the thought that you can go next year when it rolls around again.  This year we got to attend, and it was as wonderful as our memories recalled!

Sunny and warm, we rode the Harley north and east past fields newly planted and green everywhere!  Fortunately traffic was light and the ride too short as we parked the cycle and walked to the opening parade of prerequisite Highland Queens, present and past.  A wagon load of fiddlers passed us and the quality of their music gave me shivers with its beauty!  This is why we come!   Crossing the street to the campus, we hear the pipes calling as they were meant to do, carrying on the wind,  tugging our hearts.  

We found a clan, the Donnachaidh, that it is likely Paul’s ancestor had ties to.  A very friendly clan representative shared some of the smoothest whiskey we have ever had the pleasure of sampling.  Far too rich for a peasant pocket like ours, but I don’t know if it’s possible to accept inferior once having tasted today’s offerings.  Luckily we had plenty of booths to visit while we walked off the effects.  I only had tiny sips which left the lion’s share for Paul.  He didn’t complain, of course, but hasn’t felt this light-headed for years.  Out of practice?

We enjoy the physicality of the Highland games, the hammer throw, the caber toss, the sheaf pitch as we sit on the grass in the sun with the rest of the spectators.  We cheer and clap for those pitting their best efforts to succeed and sympathize when their best isn’t quite enough.  Watching in awe as records are broken and replaced with tomorrow’s challenge, we wonder what our best might have been in our prime,  wonder if we could try it now with conditioning and practice then shake our heads knowing that moment has passed.  We admire those who participate today and make a part of our history come alive, traveling from all over to attend.

Lunch was a treat with hot shepherd’s pie, piping hot, flaky crust and a filling of ground beef, potatoes and peas.   Butter tarts and fern cakes were our dessert followed by water and apples from home.  We spread our blanket (yes, this time we came prepared!) in the shade of a pine tree and ate slowly, savoring each bite while we watched people walk by.  Kilted plaids of all colors,  men and women in period dress mixing with the rest of us in jeans, shorts and skirts.  What a scene to watch unfold!  All the while pipers piped and drummers drummed, the air pulsing with bands and music.  It’s an incredible experience and I’m always a little sad to leave it behind.

We had a perfect ride home taking roads that were lesser traveled, many of the roads we passed had president’s names: Lincoln, Washington, Pierce, Taft, VanBuren.  They flew by as we skimmed the road, feeling as though we could ride forever.  Then we blinked and we were pulling into the drive at the farm.  Home!  It’s a gift to live here and I’m reminded that Paul has gifted me with a piece of my soul in this wondrous day!  It will always be part of us!  It was a grand day!

Beekeeper 5-25-17

Buzzing failed to faze her,
droning lured and lulled her,
pulling her from mother’s care
into the wonders
found in the yard, out there.

Forsaking the butterfly’s beauty,
she spied the honey bee,
dancing lightly, skipping merrily
from flower to flower.

She picked a bouquet of blossoms
hoping to draw them near,
though being stung brought a silver tear
she continued to follow and chase.

It was the honey,
the sweet, golden liquid,
treasured for corn bread, oatmeal and toast.
It pulled her onwards,
a mini pirate in search of treasure.

Momma called her home,
for supper and bedtime,
with stories
of a beekeeper’s life.
Even bees must rest,
mother said, so it must be true.
Daytime play gave way
to nighttime sleep,
returning her
to flowery fields, fairy trees,
and busy bees dreaming
In a golden hive.

Saved Photo

Married in May

Thirty some years past,
they had married in May.
Up on the island
with lilacs in bloom,
they wed each other
in the little stone church,
promising as all lovers do
to honor and cherish
and always be true.

Now in the springtime,
he gathers her flowers:
April’s first delicate blossoms
of dainty apple and pear,
followed by May’s soft purple lilacs
that burst into bloom,
then softly scent the air.

He courts her with flowers
as all lovers do,
but in his own way and time,
following the seasons
that mark time in their life.
Accepting each fragrant bouquet,
she sees he was the gift,
the flowers just wrappings
for love still true
after thirty some years.

My First Book Signing!

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!  The sky was bright blue with light, puffy clouds while the breeze was cool,promising warmth.  Paul and I were up with the birds, prepping for the event!  By nine o’clock, the dining room table, my staging area, was complete.  Fresh picked lilacs in yellow McCoy vases scented the room.  Pumpkin and molasses cookies, tiny sweets, nuts and chips joined the lace tablecloth (that once graced my mother’s table for special events) in  the big tub waiting for the trip to the little red Vibe.  Bookmarks and business cards detailed by Angie Rasmussen of Utah and my precious book ” Everything Has A Beginning” were in their flower printed box from Hobby Lobby.  Usually I get those pretty boxes to hold gifts for others but the rich, floral pattern  in cocoa browns, glowing orange and tangerine had called my name. They were just right for the occasion!

By 10:30 we were at Sozo’s coffee shop in Ionia, busily setting up in the large private room.  It was a little intimidating when I looked at the long, empty table facing a sofa and chairs at the opposite end!  Nonetheless, I’ve been nesting for years, making  cosiness out of chaos so I began unpacking all my provisions.  One of the benefits of being my age is the countless number of family gatherings, showers, graduations and birthday parties I already have under my belt!  I arranged the chairs in a semi-circle and pulled a coffee table in front.  Being grandparents, we had prepared for small ones.  We used wrapping paper to cover the table and set out the crayons.  On to the next step: the author’s table.

It was a standard table, metal legs with a white plastic top draped in black and ready to go but I thought it  needed some help.  Mom’s lace looked just right over the black topped with my little white easel to showcase my book.  By the time we had the food arranged behind me and a couple of mom’s rag rugs laid down in front, it was time to begin.

I’d like to say that I wasn’t nervous but the truthfully this was a huge event for me!  I so sincerely appreciate the family and friends, new and old, that made the effort to come and support me: Mom and sisters-in-law, sisters,  a brother, brother-in-law and cousin, niece and boyfriend,  children and their spouses, grand and great grandchildren,  friends from my coffee group, church and community, book group and last but not least cohorts from my writing group MidMichiganWordGatherers!  They visited, listened while I read, helped eat our cookies and welcomed me into this next phase of my writing career.  They bought all my books, but not to worry, the second shipment is on its way and I have pre-orders for some of those as well.  Thank you is too small a word for what I feel right now!  As you can see, the event demanded I put it in words!  The surprise is that it’s not a poem, my preferred method of writing.  Again, thank you to all who made this day possible, especially my husband, Paul!  He is my heart, and thirty some years ago, he was a new beginning as well!

One Tree Hill 4-27-17

One, single and alone,
left behind or forging ahead.

A tree,
branches budding with spring green,
roots deep and firmly planted,
secure beneath the earth.
Full of height, near out of sight,
scanned against the moving sky tableau,
majesty and marvel in shape and form,
only one.

Hill, a rise of ground, a gentle swell of the earth,
a wave of grasses rolling higher than the rest
but only a footnote to mountain ranges:
Appalachia, Smoky, Blue and Rocky
naming only a few.
Hill, Nature’s hiccup
before the breath-taking mighty tops
abounding in the world.

One tree hill,
perfection in simplicity.

Spring Flowers 2-23-17

He always picked her flowers
from the yard and field nearby,
Sweet smelling lilacs
blooming early in spring,
blossoms from dogwood,
crabapple and pear,
bearing the breath of the fruit
they’d soon become.

When he really wanted to surprise her,
to watch her smile grow ear to ear
he’d stop by local florists
for the flower she held most dear.
Tiny baby rose buds gathered in a cluster
or tea roses long of stem,
either was perfect
if the color was bright, sunny yellow.
Yellow for friendship blooming unaware,
yellow for love growing stronger each year.
As many as his wallet allowed
would fill his arms wrapped in paper,
his joy found watching her face
blush pink with excitement,
her eyes misting with happiness.

The gift was never about the count or cost,
just the look on her face,
eyes wide and cheeks dimpled,
the look of love
given and returned.

I’ve published my first book!

I’ve done it!  I’ve published my first book of thirty poems, illustrated with the art of Kathleen Mooney titled “Everything Has a Beginning”. Available thru me at, in the poetry category or at  , Chimera Design in Lowell, Mi at and the Cottage Shop in Lowell, Mi.

The End 4-13-17

This is the end.
Some supposed it would happen
with a Big Bang,
like the birth of the universe,
in reverse,
explosions and fireworks
breaking through darkness
with shards of blinding brilliance.

Instead, reality disappoints.
The end comes with a blink
and a whisper of sadness
as dreams fade like
flaming coals turning to ash,
cold shadows of gray and black.

There’s a curious weightlessness
as mind separates from body,
lets go.
One observes
as though seeing through clouds,
noting details fuzzily
without really caring.

Words sift through consciousness,
clearly but strangely
lacking value or emphasis,
floating within range of hearing
as if they could be plucked from the air
one by one and placed in a basket
like peaches from yesterday, yesteryear.i

The door slamming shut with finality
brings clarity:
I am alone again as I had once begun.
I have yet to find feelings
much less a way to care
but awareness blooms like pussy willows
in the gray rain of spring,
quietly there outside my window.
Sitting in stillness
I find the end is also a beginning.
An empty green vase calls to be filled
and I move to respond,
realizing with surprise
I have a date with tomorrow.

(Rainy days encourage introspection and the review of memories past. Even emotions thought buried and gone may ghost forward, surprisingly vivid!)