My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. ~E. H. Peterson
I'm on the cusp of my journey to Italy. As I think about the adventure and uncertainty ahead, I'm reminded of a dream I had when I was twenty years old. I stood in the open doorway of an airplane, the wind buffeting me as I readied myself to jump. I felt a compilation of anxiety and adrenaline racing through my veins. I was scared. I trembled. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind there was a reservoir of peace, because I knew my instructor was by my side. And I trusted that he had taught me well.
My friend wrote, "Just try and soak up the atmosphere; don't worry about the language." Soon I'm off to Italy, my husband's native country. I'd written to my friend, "I am packed, but emotionally I'm undone, the feelings hanging out of my bags, unkempt and a mess. I've not been able to study the language as much as I'd hoped. I've lost several CDs, and I'm just so tired after work that I struggle with diligent verb conjugation, grammar and vocabulary."
And I've had some disheartening moments in that boot-shaped locale.
On my first trip, I went for an exploratory walk. I was in a residential neighborhood enjoying a sunny day, the houses like giant jolly ranchers stacked next to each other in shades of green, pink and yellow. Tile roofs perched regally in blue skies, pots sat by stone steps filled with bright bursts of red geraniums. A van pulled up beside me, a man alone--handsome and nicely dressed. I wasn't scared. There were children playing in the quaint yards, dogs barking, clothes hanging out to dry. I could hear voices from open windows, everyday life. I thought at first the man might need directions, but as I listened and picked up a few words, it registered in my brain that he thought I was a prostitute. I wasn't dressed provacatively--jeans and a T-shirt, lovely new Italian walking shoes. I felt stunned. I just stood there, paralyzed. I finally managed to say I was an American out for a walk--only a walk. He frowned and actually seemed disappointed, then sped away. I ran back to where Giovanni and I were staying as fast as I could. Later when I told Giovanni about the incident, he said rather nonchalantly, "Oh that neighborhood is known for prostitutes walking around." In some ways, it was kind of a funny story, but in another way, the experience left me feeling anxious and lonely.
I hadn't seen her in months. Only sadness glinted from her eyes. I could hardly meet her blue gaze, the pain almost blinding. "I don't know if you heard. My daughter died of an overdose last year." My mind galloped. I remembered that her daughter was not much past thirty, and she had a young son. My mouth opened, but I was speechless. We were at a book fair. She was volunteering, a glass coffee carafe filled with water secured in one hand, getting ready to brew a pot for the authors gathered. "Oh my God," I managed to whisper. "I had no idea. I'm so very, very sorry." With her free hand she used her ring finger to swipe under both eyes, now pooling with tears, like skies weeping.
When I was eight years old I loved The Beatles. I had a huge crush on Paul McCartney. I guess I still do. In 1963 I'd sit in my pink bedroom, cross-legged on the ecru shag carpet, reminiscent of a poodle-like dog breed, holding the Rubber Soul album and sigh over the handsome faces of the "Fab Four." My dad had disparaging remarks about the long-haired foursome--"Hippies," he said, fingering his neatly trimmed mustache with thumb and forefinger, wearing his gray suit.
I remained transfixed. I'd carefully open my portable record player (the cover was brown faux snakeskin), switch it on, then blow lightly over the needle, loving the sound of my breath echoing through that childhood room, the white French Provencial dresser cluttered with hair ribbons, rubberbands, pennies and a music box with a ballerina that twirled on a spring when I opened the lid.
I liked all the songs, but would place the needle ever so gently over number six on side one. There was that slight hiss as the LP moved smoothly around the turntable before the song began. Michelle, ma belle I need to, I need to, I need to make you see oh, what you mean to me...Paul sang.
What with all my expectations long abandoned
My solitary nature notwithstanding
You're the one who pulled me
Out of that crashlanding
My stunning mystery companion~(Lyrics from Jackson Browne's My Stunning Mystery Companion)
This week the moon seemed to follow me, like some stunning mystery companion. One evening I spent several minutes gazing out my window at its golden orb, like a decanter of light. The inky craters etched on its white face seemed like pictographs--shadows of somthing I could not distinguish. Its simple presence, hanging there in the black night seemed to hold something for me--something I longed for but could not name.
And then that contemplative moment dissolved. I forgot about the moon, and real life swallowed me up. Meetings, deadlines, housework, doctor's appointments and finally taking my car in for its next check-up. I sat waiting to hear how much I would have to pay to keep me safely on the road. And there I sat by another mystery companion. I noted a purple cane was propped against her chair. She waited too for the monetary verdict for her 1992 Ford. I felt curious about this elegant woman. I guessed she was probably over eighty. She wore trendy black horn-rimmed glasses. Her Nike's sported neon-orange laces that matched her Coach bag trimmed in neon-orange leather. Her legs were pipe cleaners, white cotton socks clinging to her frail ankles. She wore a gold wedding band. She clutched a paperback romance novel.