Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February Chills

Will we ever know what goes through the head of a song bird nesting on a cold night?

Are they furious at the weather? Are they miserable in their lot in life?

Do they fear they won't see morning?

Do the regret the songs they've sung?

Do they lament about the tree they chose, or the flights they mapped to there?

Is there worry for tomorrow, is there pain, is there a conscious feeling when they go numb?

Does a song bird pray to something powerful?

What flashes through their mind as they panic?

And when sun marks their survival, are they thankful?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The silk and satin shimmer of the sea met the dark horizon. The full moon washed it all in a palette of indigos on the edge of black with glowing white water.

I sat in the sand facing the sea. Behind me the empty beach stretched hundreds of yards to a hill topped by Nuevo Lobitos. Lights were few and nothing that could detract or diminish the stars in the sky.

In front of me two sets of footsteps vanished into the sea. Peter and Melissa had gone. I saw their dark wetsuits rise in what my eyes would otherwise never know was the tide. They were dots on an iridescent and restless surface. Now and then they were lifted in a moondance on their boards.

I had told them to go in without me. I wanted the beautiful silence to think. But now I was alone on shore. Stepping into the ocean like this, alone, in the dark was terrifying.

Trusting that I can swim, trusting that below the surface there is nothing that would hurt me, trusting that I am safe.

I stood, left my cover, took a breath then ran at a sprint into the breaking cold tide, swimming strong and straight till I could no longer touch the floor.

I used to run the stairs to escape my fear in the depths of the basement.

The sea is so much more comforting than a basement.

Even in the absence of the familiar lighthouses, lobster shacks and hotels - it was still the sea and I was still in love.

I laughed as the ghostly waves pounded in on me. Peruvian tide is relentless, beautiful and free. Where was everyone? How could this opportunity be left for only me?

I swam alone, and lived to savor how wonderful it was...

Friday, February 19, 2010

the gift of the magi

Before I pulled into the driveway at the farm house my phone was ringing. The boy was never a man of many words and quickly asked for a ride.

I dropped off one child and picked up another.

I know he thinks being taller than me makes him grown, but he will always be a darling child to me.

He wants to drive. He's picking out music for the ride. Asking me if I have heard of this or that all while I am trying to read his style, wondering what kind of man he will be.

I ask why he is going to the mall, "to see a movie" he says.

We are a few blocks away and it hits me.

Its Valentine's Day.

I am heading out to meet a friend and am used to being alone, but he is heading to a date.

If I could have stopped time, I would have.

We made a failed attempt at getting flowers from a gas station.

I couldn't let him walk in without something for her.

Then he admitted he had a card.

"Can I see it?" I asked.

He handed over an unsealed envelope.

I recognized it was salvaged from a set of blank artist sketches in my mother's stationary.

The picture on the front was of a boy fishing.

This is what I know was true. This kid, whom I watched grow up, had exactly twenty-six dollars to his name, he was an hour late to his first Valentine's Day date cause no one could give him a ride, he had no gift, and he was still smiling and kind without a hair standing up in worry.

I opened the card wishing I had anything to give him to make it up to this girl for having to wait for him. How could he choose a card with a boy fishing on it?

In his handwriting (think about it, can you recognize anyone's handwriting anymore? I love my nephew and still this was the first I had seen his adult handwriting) he neatly and simply said;

"I can't believe I caught you! Happy Valentines Day. Love, Pat."

I was thrilled. Laughing I kissed his cheek and pushed him from the car. When he ran inside I turned the corner then put the car in park. I tapped the tears from my eyes and drove to dinner.

I remember waiting for hours for Travis to find a ride so we could walk around the mall broke.

I was realizing how everyone told us we didn't know what love was. We were too young to get it. I thought then, and know now - they were wrong.

When we couldn't give gifts we had to actually tell each other how we felt. We couldn't afford diversions and had to spend time together.

I honestly don't know if I'll ever meet anyone as interesting as I did when I was a teenager. The love notes, the handmade gifts, the stolen sweatshirts.

I was spoiled with the right attention and now my standards are unusually high.

Never forget what you learned at sixteen.

an attic with the light left on

Like a pair of moths.

What we have in common is how incredibly common we are.

Neither of us will ever be mistaken for a butterfly.

We'd never even try that mimicry.

But while you've found a nice batch of wool coats in which to reside.

I keep singeing my wings chasing dreams of bright light.

And we're both quite pleased with ourselves.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Five Minutes


I am constantly wondering what goes on in people's heads. If in a situation where a group needs to come to a consensus, I prefer learning what everyone else wants. I know what I want, no mystery there, I'd rather have a peak at other thoughts.

Being intrigued and fascinated is one of life's greatest highs. The dearest compliment I have is to wish I had five minutes in a friend's head.

And you just don't get that while intoxicated, and everyone knows a sober head has its wits about it and is long since grown expert at preventing intrusion.

If you are lucky, people grace you with a touch of their creativity and with it is a rare invitation. A glimpse behind the curtain at the magic in someone part of your life.

This is that window.

Though - surely, that is not what they may have thought I saw it as.

And to think, it was just a silly little exercise in writing class.

A Memo to the Court In re Goldilocks.

By S.L.H.-B. and R.A.P.

Goldilocks, a helpless infant child, lost and abandoned, stumbled upon an oasis. Scared and not knowing where to turn she entered the deserted shanty looking for safety, warmth and a compassionate mother figure.

Famished and weary she did the only thing a reasonably prudent person would to survive. She ate and slept in desperation.

In the midst of tending to her personal needs after securing her life from her tremendous struggle, she awoke to the sight of three deranged bears hovering over her. Without time to scream, the bears began devouring her.

This innocent girl’s pretty white dress was stained by the dark ruby red of her blood. To her chagrin the skin of her shoulder was peeled off like that of a Clementine, exposing the inner workings of a girl with a would be bright future.