It is an odd project – to sit down in this little room every day and write. No matter what.

What comes, comes. Like dipping a bucket into a well and hoping you pull up a little container filled with clarity. Reflection.

That’s a shit metaphor. Sorry.

Some days nothing comes on its own. Some days my thoughts are taushetsbelagte, which (nearly) literally means shrouded in silence.

But what is gnawing at me usually finds a way out – indirectly. And it thrills me no end when I hear it speaks to other peoples’ experiences without speaking at all of a specific story. In some ways, it helps me remember the story itself is irrelevant – the (surely there is a good German word for it?)… the ambiance is part our shared human experience.

It helps me remember why I prefer poetry – or the poetry in a story that makes it more than a sequencing of events.

These aren’t the Drakes
you were looking for.

I ran this afternoon between classes, along the creek near the school. Two kilometres out, two in, a shower and back to class. It was on this little stretch of a green lung that I stumbled on a Mandarin duck I mistook for the wood drake I’d gone searching for on Saturday.

That’s how it happens. There’s no point in searching.

I just need to notice when the world turns towards me. And accept what beauty comes.

A Mandarin duck on a Monday afternoon between Theater Production and Theater History. Between a working session and a shower. Then a film version of The Glass Menagerie.

Not one of my students knew who the kjekkis John Malkovich is now. The young man is history.

Because the world is always turning towards us. Spinning under our feet imperceptibly. So stealthily we don’t even realize we are getting carried away with it. 1,000 miles an hour.

I suppose the truth of it would make us throw up.

John Malkovich isn’t relevant for my 2nd year students. Not for Being John Malkovich. But he is relevant enough as a good-looking young man who commands their attention to tell a story of what it is to be squeezed between what someone else wants from you and what you want for yourself.

That grasping –
experience
is always relevant.

My 3rd year students in that working session this morning? Some of them are working on a sequel to The Glass Menagerie. It’s interesting to watch their minds leaping like poetry. Finding what is relevant.

Sometimes it’s a very thin thread of experience. But there is always something…
there.

Some injuries don’t show up on MRIs. Those deep wounds that sever psychological/emotional muscles – like torn tendons. And the only thing to do is leave it alone. Give it time. Get on with life, but move with more caution for a while.

Sometimes I think working so closely with teenagers creates a kind of repetitive injury. All the hurt that your heart tries to absorb causes an inflammatory response that never quite has time to heal.

It’s like dancing under a window ledge with a mattress, worried that you are encouraging the worst possible scenario, but afraid to walk away from something acute and so very, very real.

I know that is a lot of metaphor.

We go on. I don’t know how sometimes.

For a living, I listen eight hours a day to the voices

of the anxious and the sad. I watch their beautiful faces

for some sign that life is more than disaster–

it is always there, the spirit behind the suffering,

the small light that gathers the soul and holds it

beyond the sacrifices of the body. Necessary light.

I bend toward it and blow gently.

– Patricia Fargnoli. From “The Roofmen”.

From her book Necessary Light.

After so many years, this remains one of my favorite poems. And Patricia, one of the people I most admire. Oh, all the hurt in the world. They are special people who can spend their entire days tending to it without breaking or solidifying under the weight of it.


I ran alone this morning, my knee complaining just a little – just enough for me to wrap it for yoga practice afterward. I am learning to pay attention to the warning signals before it turns into full-blown runner’s knee again. That is a kind of progress in regard to the inevitable wearing of my body.

It is all about listening, and adjusting … and continuing.

Last night I had a cramp in the same leg. Alarm bells went off and I wondered if I should go get a d-dimer test. E. laughed, and hugged me. And apologized for laughing. I googled “stress and leg cramps”, and “stress and blood clots”.

I took an aspirin and went to bed.

Trust is such a difficult thing. Losing trust in someone is one thing – maybe worse is knowing someone has lost trust in you.

And it is just weird meta-sh*t when the person you lose trust in is yourself.

This morning things seemed to edge into a familiar groove. E. is home again, and Leonard stuck his cold nose in my face just before the clock went off. Dog bladders make the most urgent alarm clocks.

I let Leonard out to pee,

E. and I pull on wool clothes and running shoes
and head to the lake where our clocks are synced up
again with the crows’ morning congregation.
So loud and so lovely this morning. Lovely
in its own way. Earnest chatter.
Energetic and contagious.
My legs lose a little of their heaviness.

The lake has spilled over its banks,
but is still now. And dark.
A duck laughs.


We passed a man in his mid 70s. A woman somewhat older going in the opposite direction. This means so much to me: this reminder of what the path of the fortunate looks like.

Maybe literally.

After the run, the asana practice. And after the third chaturanga today my left shoulder began complaining again. After meditation and a shower, it started in yet again as I combed my hair. Loudly and unlovely.

I’m realizing that this is a conversation I will be mediating between my body and my id for the rest of my life. It’s weirdly like negotiating with children. Is this unpleasant feeling really “pain”? Or is it just a yellow flag: Be aware.

Take care.

Keep moving.


Every Sunday morning I sat 65 minutes on a smooth, cold pew next to Grandma. Pastor Garanger talked and gesticulated, sometimes mumbled with his eyes closed. Sometimes Grandpa’s breath would catch in his throat to jerk him awake.

I sat still.

There was a lesson lost on me. And there was a lesson under that one: the sitting still.

The “stop your twitching”. The “pay attention”.

The “okay now: just go outside and play”.

Maybe nothing is really lost, since the world circles around in its lopsided orbit.

An evening run. Because
the morning slipped
between a coffee cup
and God-knows-what.
And I need to run.

I’ve showered now and pulled on a wool bra and cashmere lounge pants. There’s nothing like cashmere lounge pants. I own one pair because I stumbled over them – misplaced in rack in an H&M- marked down to affordable.

Is this what it feels like to be wealthy? Wrapped in cashmere?

I had an angora sweater in high school. I bought it myself with the money I’d earned from my first job – selling hot dogs at the local rally-cross track. I knew it was out-of-place in my life: it shrank in the first wash.

But now. … Why don’t I always dress like hugs? I’m a grown woman and should be in full control of these things. I want to be the woman who empties her wardrobe and dresser drawers of all the fast fashion clothes, and fills them with nothing but quality fabrics in neutral colors that tell the world she definitely has all of her soft, yellow ducks in a row.

When I was a teenager we didn’t have ducks. But we had finches in bamboo cages in our mobile home. Some in the living room, some in the my mother’s bedroom in the back of the house. And they would sing to each other. Pitifully.

They make these small bamboo nests to put in the bamboo cages so finches will lay perfect little eggs. We had one hatch once. Have you ever seen a soft, naked, newly-hatched finch? It burns in your mind when it is dead on the newspaper tray at the bottom of the cage.

My point is… I’ve never had my ducks on a row.

These cashmere pants were marked “sleepwear”. Are there really women who sleep in cashmere? I sleep in cotton exercise pants that are too napped to wear in public anymore.

I feel guilty wearing cashmere around the house. It seems decadent. But they were marked “sleepwear” and I wonder if I wear them out (you know, feeling all elegant-like) people with think I’m an idiot for wearing my pj’s to dinner?

I wear them for yoga now. Kind of like dressing up for church. Not for the Holy Spirit, mind you – but for Buddhist idea that we should enjoy the pleasures of the present moment so long as we do so without clinging. And I have no illusion that these cashmere pants will survive the wash more than a few times.

At any rate. Here I sit in bed. Leonard curled beside me, dreaming of chasing hares – small, inaudible barks puffing his cheeks. I’ll have to wake him to send him to his own bed before I turn in for the night.

E. is offshore for a few more days. He may as well be on the moon. And only half the moon is visible tonight.

It’s been raining all week and the lake has flooded its usual banks. The bench roses weirdly from the water, and I stopped to take a photograph. For a moment I thought I’d stop and sit there for a while, watching the moon. But then a man came walking with his two schnauzers, and I was worried he’d think me insane.

And I was wearing my new shoes.

So… there’s that, at least: new, serious-ugly running shoes.

I’m that kind of woman.

I’ve been uneasy running alone in the mornings lately. It’s odd how this fear pops up now and then. I haven’t kept track of when this happens, and think it may well be that it always happens this time of year when it seems the world is suddenly dark at 6 am. Maybe it’s instinctive, and fine, and not paranoid at all to be uncomfortable as the earth so obviously shifts on its axis in relation to the light source.

I remind myself that the trees aren’t dying. They’re making way for new growth.

Odd that we talk about “spring cleaning” – when Autumn seems to be the season when nature sorts through what to keep and what to let go of.

I stopped to take a photograph and the bushes rustled behind me. Wind, or blackbirds, or even a squirrel.

I passed two people at the lake this morning. An older man walking, who diffused my fear with a “God morgen”. Which gave me the momentum to say, “God morgen” to the woman I later ran past farther along the trail. I realized how rare it is for us to greet each other here – it seems we only do this on these dark mornings, maybe an instinctive gesture of comfort?

There have been two murders here in the last half-year. One, still a mystery. I thought about that when I laced my shoes this morning, having finally settled on the trail shoes over the street shoes. I wondered if it mattered if I ran through subdivisions or along the trail. Then I tried to sweep the discussion out of my mind, reminding myself that I’m more like to slip and die in the shower than run into a monster at the lake.

Then I remind myself that is not exactly a productive train of thought either.

I put on my headlamp and a reflector vest, and I gave Leonard a consolation treat as I headed out the door without him. The hound is more interested in dust bunnies than hare, and I’m safer on the run without him skittering between my legs and potentially tripping me every time someone passes us.

Or every time there’s a rustling in the bushes.

There’s a somewhat steep hill about 2 kilometres into my run. Steep enough to force my pulse up when I ascend, and steep enough to challenge me on the way back: trust your body to run down hill. Let go of a false sense of control – trust your instincts, trust your practice, trust the knowledge in your limbs.

Breaking with each step is murder in the knees.