Saturday, October 31, 2015

Looking for Root Causes

Spring Valley High School
           October 2015
Unsafe in my school
Unsafe at home.  Rage dogs me,
drags me by the hair
targets me, the throw-away kid.
Someone.  Somewhere.  Hear my story.

Sunday, October 18, 2015



White pine in granite
anchored by tenacious roots
straight trunk, weathered bark
limbs outstretched in feathered green
surveys the cascades below.

Monday, October 12, 2015



Adrift on the third 
rock from the sun, we watch
light play the russet
marble suspended in black,
blessed with one luminous edge.

Friday, May 22, 2015


The Himalayas from Nagarkot
In March 2015, we traveled with our friends and students from the University of Rhode Island to take part in the Kingian Nonviolence and Conflict Reconciliation Orientation and Core Training in Nagarkot, Nepal.  

We were introduced to the nonviolence philosophy and education of Martin Luther King, Jr. with students, lawyers, educators, social workers, NGO staff, and military officers from Nepal and other countries in Southasia.

After the training, we joined the URI students on a cultural tour of Nepal and then spent time on our own, exploring Kathmandu and the countryside.

As we learned, nothing in life is the same after Nepal. 
Boudhnath Stupa - Kathmandu
On the way to Bhaktapur
The Peacock Paper Factory - Bhaktapur
Namo Buddha - Edge of the Kathmandu Valley

Boys of the LRI School sing "Imagine" by John Lennon.
Chitwan -- On the Border with India
Guardians of the Road
Three weeks after we returned home, on Saturday April 25, Nepal was hit with a 7.8 earthquake.  The country has been devastated with loss of life, loss of entire villages, homes and workplaces destroyed, cultural and historical sites gone.
 Swayambhunath is now rubble.
Bhaktapur -- a medieval city is a pile of bricks

People we met now live in tents -- no jobs and no homes going into the monsoon season. 

On the way to Paulines Guesthouse -- all buildings destroyed
Paulines Guesthouse has collapsed.
I find myself caught between tragedy and sorrow, and the utter grace of our trip and its timing.   

It's my koan, a paradox for meditation.  Abandon logical reasoning, the Zen master might say to me.  What happens, then?


Chhetrapati Chowk

Five dirt roads converge
like five spokes of a great wheel
steer me to Thamel,
Mithro, the booksellers street,
Swayambhnath and Home.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Cupped hands hold water
a small bowl of memories
cool splash on my face
prayer flags snap and eagles cry
while dreams slip through my cradled fingers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The old Newari man
taps gently at our door
he pours steaming water
from his iron-colored pail
warms the cold night with his smile.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


...When he was young and handsome...

We buried Stella in the field today, under a foot of soil and two feet of snow.  True to our New Hampshire farm, we hit a sizable rock while digging which became his headstone.  He's nestled into a spot near a small grove of trees, where the grass grows tall in summer. Jessup is buried nearby.

Stella the Fella was 15 years old and failing.  We had dragged our feet but finally made an appointment with the vet to put him down. Tuesday morning. We worried about the car trip.  He hated to ride.  We knew the strange place and smells would terrorize him.  We didn't want his life to end that way.

He must have sensed something.  Stella liked his house, his wood stove, his food dish, and his perch on the top of the couch.  He purred like a lion and threw himself on the floor when he was happy to see you.  Hence, he earned the knickname, "Thud".

In his glory days, he retrieved pipe cleaners and burrowed under the scatter rugs.  He chased his sister and got into all kinds of cat trouble.  When our friend took care of him, Stella left her gifts at the door -- a mouse or its parts.  A sponge to clean up water.  Toys.  Balls.  It was uncanny.

Sunday night, four of us went to bed.  Stella was first.  He chose his usual cozy "hole" in the comforter. Throughout the night, I could feel him stretched out at my feet.

On Monday morning, three of us awoke.  Stella had died during the night, quietly and peacefully, near those who loved him.  He had been warm and snuggled into the quilt.  No mess.  No fuss.  Just a simple passing when it was time for him to go.

We cancelled the vet's appointment.  We washed his dishes and blankets.  We sat and reminisced, laughed and sighed.  We miss him --- this old cat who had the grace and good sense to die at home.

Sunday, February 08, 2015


sailors' delight...

The writing I really want to do is a gossamer thing there on my desk, a bit to the left, just beyond reach, just out of my vision -- not at the center but somewhere.  Over there.

My old friend the Critic tells me it’s more about discipline and priorities and “if not now, when”.  But these words send me into hiding where I think too much and wonder too much about what it is I want to say on the page, squarely in view, in the here and now. 

The path writing takes buries itself in journals, emails, project overviews and workshop syllabi.  I write informative pieces, short poems, newsletters, art show posters and blog posts.  I’m even writing paragraphs in Spanish as part of my Thursday night classes.

All good.  All fun.  But still, not from the center.

Another, perhaps deeper and more thoughtful voice reminds me:  “Writing is a way of thinking” and “All writing is still writing”.  So, I shift and let the light play on process and the big picture.  I mess about and love the surprises that come, unexpected and bold.

Inch by inch, a space opens where I can live again with writing as a beginner, a veteran and as one who forever traverses the perilous and mysterious stages in between.