topless

the author, fifty years ago

After walking the dirt half-mile from the highway, he arrives in the house, drops his backpack and removes his shirt, saying that the temperature was higher today than it was supposed to be. (In the chill of the early June morning, he chose to wear a long sleeve shirt to school.)

“Lately, I resent men going topless,” I say.

“Do you want me to put it back on,” he asks.

I don’t.

I remember my mother’s scoldings as a girl: “Put a shirt on!”

And later, about the age my son is now: “Put a bra on!”

The accumulation of shame.

As the temperatures rise in these Green Mountains, I feel anger rise in me when I see men walking the road–aged men and young men like my son–each one topless–as if all the space in the world is theirs, without a care for who might rape them.

the author, 30 years ago
Advertisements

a solstice blessing on families reunited

The bare spot where the kits once played. June 2018.

Late this spring when the skies grew dark and the cloud cover heavy and children were ripped from their parents arms, I took a dramatic fall an came down with a chest cold, and something else–in the middle of the darkest night–the mother fox (or was it the father?) barked incessantly outside our bedroom balcony doors; This after I spent a worrisome string of days looking & listening & hoping & calling & finally crooning the lullaby that I’d sung that morning when I saw the first of their four pups (and it fell to sleep to the sound of my voice), and still, the space where the babes frolicked and rested remained… empty.

Could it be that this barking was a keening call, like my Twitter feed, swelled by a chorus of voices, each one sounding the same sour note, until that horrific practice was brought to an end…

And although we don’t know how these broken families will be restored, or how great the toll on their lives, or how deep the shame on our generation (poisoning babies in Flint, paying unlivable wages, watching television while the earth changes)… The Longest Day has arrived.

I wake to the sounds of squealing, and while their kitten-like bodies are thinner than they were before, and they won’t let me close like they did when I first photographed them, they are here, curled up beside one another in the sun on the rock outcropping outside my writing door.

May we each make good medicine of whatever strength, power and will we possess.

the invitation to remember

Gray’s Beach. Cape Cod. Waiting on the full moon. May 2018

The month of May brought a new meditation to my days. to my first waking thoughts. to each challenge that presents itself along the way

As soon as i think: PROBLEM (which is evidently quite often)
i pivot.
and say instead:

What is the invitation?

What is the invitation right here?

But now it’s a week into june, and I realize that I’ve already forgotten.

Laundry, the surprise


At some point in the Aging/Accumulation process, I lost my capacity to recollect previous days’ events.

As such questions like: “How was your weekend/vacation/winter,” are real stumpers.

Which meant that emptying my laundry basket this morning at the end of a long week served as a surprise, revealing as it did, what I had already forgotten.

Oh right! I drove to the ocean & back.

Oh right! I led a YogaDance Event.

What was even more surprising, given our longstanding antagonism, was the role Laundry played in boosting my spirits on this dreary Monday morning.

Not even summer…

Weeping Beech in spring

Songs about September already make me wince.
The red of the maple buds on the hillside catch in my chest.
It’s not even Solstice yet.
This must be what it is to grow old
To know the ending, inside
the beginning…
To feel the loss
embraced by the gift.

Possum

I’m afraid of easy,
Suspicious of effortless,
Terrified of sudden.

I like to earn it.
With struggle.
Suffering.
Angst.

Even the simplest things.

Otherwise,
it’s not fair.

Otherwise,
I’m apart
instead of among.

Otherwise
I’m at risk.

Which is to say,
I’m happiest,
In retrospect.

The safest way to play.

The past is past.
Preserved.
Protected.
Untouchable.
Unseen.

~

(“happiest in retrospect” line from: TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT by Maria Semple.)

On Turning 55

Michael McGurk

If 50 was raising the timber frame; 55 was me climbing the timbers & tacking an evergreen branch to its peak. (That happened. There was no photo.)

“50 is the old age of youth,” it is said, “And the youth of old age.”

And it’s true. The fifties are all that.

Or is it just me?

I lost Lila at 55. She had more than a dozen grandbabies by then. But with time’s passing, it seems impossibly young to have been taken.

My older sister died last summer at 55 too and just a few years before her—my aunt.

My mother had 2 years on the 2 of them, alive until 57.

Which is to say—While the sun is shining, I’m making hay.