Motherhood, Undone

Nest, abandoned, Kelly Salasin, June 2019

There’s a thin line between love & hate. That’s the chorus from an old song, right? But my therapist says something like that too–hate/love–two sides of the same coin.

Both my kids graduated this season–one from high school/the other from college. As I look through the photo albums and the keepsake boxes that I carefully prepared over the years, I think about putting all of it in a pile, outside, dousing it with kerosene, and lighting it on fire.

I share this motherly vision with Aidan as he packs for his interview upstate. “We don’t have kerosene,” he says, as he stops to wrap his arms around me. “But you could use the fuel for the lawnmower.”

I haven’t seen the baby foxes for more than a week. I left for 4 days and somehow they left too.I stare at the rocks every day, waiting for them. I betcha they were fed a Robin for breakfast one morning because she never returned to her nest either.

Maybe I should write fiction instead of memoir. This isn’t about me. This is what it is to have been devoted. To have loved and sacrificed. To have arrived at the other side of the bridge.

We’ve had a good run the four of us. I’m equally determined to be one again. To distill a singular focus. To make a gift of it, this wild & precious life I’ll call my own.


Earth Day withdrawal

I might be sick, but I just slept more than I’ve slept in ages, and my eyes are tender for it, and it’s Earth Day, which is the first day I learned what it was to hold space–by doing–nothing.

25 years ago, I served on the committee planning the very first Earth Day Celebration in my county, but a handful of days ahead of the event, I miscarried, and so I spent it, not coordinating anything, like I did so well, but simply sitting, resting, in the middle of all the action.

I can still feel the odd surrender inside, the portal of new, uncomfortable growth, a band playing in front of me, people moving all about, me, irrelevant.

The older I get the more I respect the wisdom of the weary, the sick, the aged, the disabled.
The more I feel what happens to the Earth is happening to me.

I want to write something poignant today, but my head is too heavy so I’ll simply share my gratitude & respect for all those speaking/marching/shouting/teaching on behalf of the planet–clean, abundant water; pure air; healthy soil–upon which all life depends, and without which so many suffer.


Home in Vermont

“Eccentric,” a college classmate once accused me, “If not for that, you’d be successful.”

This Vermont Life

Almost as soon as I began to set my roots down in Vermont, a quarter-century ago, it began to change me. It wasn’t always pretty, and it was frequently painful, particularly given my level of resistance, and yet, I also gave myself to it–surrendered to these Green Mountains & brooks & black flies & breasts & babies and found myself inspired by the older sisters I never had–first the homesteaders and the healers, then the advocates and the activists, the mystics and the artists--sometimes younger than me, sometimes male, and always among them–fertile permission to live my life as art–which for me means moving forward in the dark of not knowing for sure.

“Eccentric,” a college classmate once accused me, “If not for that, you’d be successful.”

She may have been right, but I wouldn’t have been  “home” in that kind of success.

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MLK & me

dark of the moon…

Kelly & Lila

a long winter’s nap…

oh, that i, capped in my knit hat, could in this cold bed, sleep and sleep and sleep, until spring

until that day when this long dark night of democracy, so strangled of breath and warmth and light, finally flowers in fulfillment of its promise.

but wouldn’t i, in my sleeping, neglect all this sewing of love; and don’t i want to be a seamstress of our democracy? like the stories of Betsy Ross my father told, hoping to lend some icon of inspiration to his eager daughter in a world that offered her none

we lived just down the block from the liberty bell and independence hall where the declaration of our equal nation took flight without a single woman or man of other recognized

how too might i have lent my voice to jefferson’s pen?

my people, also called Jefferson, settled in this nation…

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Women writing their own stories

#meTOO #timesUP #goldenglobes

Chakra Journeys

I’ve been leading these Writing through the Chakra Journeys for women for a handful of years now without being entirely clear of the purpose, even while sensing it somewhere deep inside, particularly as women continue to enroll each season and even return, again and again, shaping their own meaning.

I feel such gratitude for each voice.

This morning, I searched for some clips from last night’s Golden Globe awards because I had heard that the #metoo movement would be front and center.

Although I have never read or watched The Handmaid’s Tale for fear it would be too chilling, I deeply appreciated Elizabeth Moss’s character in the series Madmen–as the secretary who became a copywriter–and so I leaned into her voice as she quoted author Margaret Atwood:

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print.”


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