Final Swing

We have all been there…watching the sky turn darker and knowing that any moment the dinner bell will ring and we will have stop reaching our toes to the sky, soon to wash up and help put dinner on the table. Those final swings are often the best, you feel the wind in your hair and the chill in the air more on the swing or two after the bell.

For you it might be the last sunset of a trip to the beach, the last present under the tree, the last few drops of your mom’s perfume that has long stopped being manufactured, or holding someone’s hand as you wait for the final breath. We often experience some regret for loosing track of all the sunsets or moments before this last one. For years my husband worked on an oncology ward. He passed some of the many lessons he learned from his patients on to us. Most people don’t suffer on their death beds wishing they had worked more, or saying “so glad we skipped the hike in the woods with our small children to organize the garage.” He often punctuates a family outing, telling us someday something will separate all of us. Far from being dark or morbid, I have come to take these reminders like a snooze button on an alarm, allowing me to continue what I was doing with a new awareness that opens me to the gift. Perhaps if you are quiet, you can hear the dinner bell ring….

The Gift of a Perfect Afternoon

We decided this year before Christmas to focus on giving each the gift of our presence to each other. We tried to slow down, and enjoy our time. I am grateful to my husband for creating many moments to do this. Sometimes the idea of packing another picnic made me groan, but it was ALWAYS worth it.

Here was a perfect afternoon, our schedule was full of nothing in particular. We visited one of our favorite parks to do nothing. there was no trail to conquer before dark, or sports game to watch or practice…just time to be. Be together. We strolled, played a little ping pong, we snuggled together under a blanket and read a book, snacked on an apple, and my favorite…people watched. I waited for the light to land on this reader, who was wearing a suit, had wonderful posture, and a beautiful head.

Freezing Feeding

20131212-140020.jpgThis is Lisa, a woman after my own heart. She has raised chickens in the hostile climate and conditions of Northern New Mexico for years and cares for them greatly. She fights off coyotes, bobcats and badgers, as well as sub-freezing winter temperatures, to protect her flock. Here she is feeding her flock a recent 20 degree morning.

20131207-140910.jpgMy friend Rick sent me a small photo and the above story describing Lisa. I started with a underpainting in a warm, grey violet because it sets a great overcast mood. The photo was small, so it was fun to fill in the fuzzy areas with color from my imagination. I intentionally left the hens as a blocked in mass of colors. If you have ever fed chickens, you know they never would sit still long enough to capture their beauty (at least mine won’t). I like how blobs of color allow them to move in my mind.

Monday’s Washday


A clothesline was a news forecast,
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep,
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link,
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by,
To spend a night or two.
For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”,
And towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”,
With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby’s birth,
From folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could,
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You’d know how much they’d grown!
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “On vacation now”,
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged,
With not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon,
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.
But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home,
Is anybody’s guess!
I really miss that way of life,
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best…
By what hung out on that line.

(Author unknown)

Karate Girl

I distinctly remember the cold, rainy afternoon that I met this delightful, young lady. She was very much a little girl at the time. We were camping in Leadville, CO and she spent an afternoon playing in our campsite with our two year old son. He left no puddle un-splashed and she skipped and frolicked and sang in the loveliest soft voice. She seemed so tall and full of poise. I attributed these traits to the 5 year age difference and the fact that she is a girl not a rowdy little boy. Here we are a decade later, and it turns out she still sings like a bird and she turned into a very beautiful, very tall teenager who is still full of poise. She can also sweat, and spar and hold her own in a martial arts fight against any rowdy boy. My guess is by the end of the day I will need to change the color of this belt from brown to black. I am so proud of you Taylor, good luck today.