Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Respite in OK

Last week, we went on our first real vacation with Noelle (not counting Arkansas when she was in my belly) to Lake Murray, Oklahoma.

We were pleasantly surprised. We had an uneventful two hour drive there and back, and Noelle seemed as excited as we were to be there. She ran around outside and inside, like a puppy in new territory. We pulled the mattress from the bedroom to the living room floor, and we all slept wonderfully there.

We went on trails, we ate on the picnic table in the cool evening, we went into Ardmore to see the historic district. Basically, we did alot of what Stephen and I would have done before, except now we had our little one to show this big, beautiful world.

I really love traveling, even just a couple hours away. It is just so refreshing for me. I took notice of myself actually skipping everywhere. And then when we come home, it is like our little place is somewhere very familiar from long ago. So that I am thinking things like "I remember this street" or "I remember these flowers", or "I remember these books". Only two nights away and it feels as if we have been away for many months. We even wonder what the neighbors have been up to since we have been gone sooo long.

To describe Oklahoma, the word I keep coming back to is Wild. There are animals everywhere, and the forests are clean and quiet. There were few people there when we were, so it truly felt that sometimes we were in the wilderness. Geese clamored overhead as we hiked in the mornings. Deer bounded out of sight. A bright green snake slithered down a tree to get a closer look.

A deer track.

The dirt was the color of flame.

The sky was open and blue.

You could almost imagine the Kickapoo warriors stealing silently through the forest to see what the Whiteskins were up to.

It was lovely.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Wall

One morning there were two women standing on either side of a wall. They yelled to each other what a wall looked like.

"Mine is bright red and tall."

"Mine is bright green."

Each was confused over this. Wasn't a wall always red? Or always green?

And what was better? Red or green?

Then one yelled to the other:

"Let us climb over our walls, so that we may see each other true, not separated such as this."

And so they climbed. And met each other face to face at the top of the very same wall, painted red on one side, and green on the other.

My sister and I had an argument this morning. I won't say which side was which, but basically there were two arguments, and we were banging our heads trying to understand the other and have the other understand us. It went something along the lines of this:

"Everyone loves their child as much as the other, and this love is perfect. We all do our best that we know at the time and we cannot ask of ourselves any more than this."

The other side: 'There are different qualities of love, and it is in being able to see when we are not loving our children the best that we can then move ourselves to love more and better and grow spiritually. We can always love better."

And as I look at these two arguments, I realize they are two sides of one whole truth: Love is perfect, but we often love imperfectly. We always do our best, which is all we can ask of ourselves, but we can always do better. This is the nature of our human existence.

And so I climb that wall to meet my sister face to face, to realize we were standing on two sides of the same wall.

My Niece and Nephew

I have a very special niece and nephew.

They are kind and funny, and so much fun to be around.

I watch them with Noelle, their tenderness, their genuine love of playing with her.

I catch Cole making faces at her and she is doubled over with smiles and laughter.

I catch Kaylee gently brushing her hair away from her face, and Noelle doing the same to her in return.

How could these things not bring joy to this mother's heart?

I love that Noelle loves them, but I love being with them too, just us. I love hearing their stories and seeing them smile.

I love seeing them growing into individual people with different interests and talents.

Kaylee always pulling up stool to climb at the top of and declare

"Hello everyone, I'm Kaylee. We're going to have a show today."

Will one day, decades from now, this same scene unfold for me as I sit gray-haired, watching my niece at her new job?

Or Cole, who brings pictures of people praying for answers and Indian spirits plummeting out of the sky to bring them those answers. He wears his soul on his sleeve.

Will one day, decades from now, I sit at a table with him, drinking coffee, discussing his latest idea inspired by a certain poet he is reading?

I only know that right now I am so enjoying watching these two little souls walk their path and am so grateful to be walking parts of it with them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

First Tomato Blossom

A speck of Life

Gives an eternity

Of Pride

How is it

I can feel so much


Over this tiny,




To have a hand in the creation

and nurturing of Life


Overtakes me.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I awake
To birds Singing
Sunlight Pouring
Trees Hiding
Our little place
Where you greet Me
With Hugs
And Kisses
And Heart Melting
So Beautiful
They could Paint
The Whole World
With Joy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I am dedicating a new series of poetry to one of the newest passions of my life, which has been developing since Noelle's birth and my exit from the institution of education in this country, unschooling myself.

School comes from a Greek word which means "leisure", because the first school consisted of young Greek males strolling among gardens, talking to wise philosophers about the bigger questions of life. When I came across this I had to read it several times because it was shockingly apparent how far from this original intention we have come.

Or was this ever the intention, here?

There are many things I could say about the institution of schooling, but one thing I find at odds with my current life is that it attempts to break things into subjects, declaring false boundaries that leave children (or people) naming themselves as a "math person" or an "artist".

Unschooling involves dissolving these illusionary boundaries to find the all encompassing energy of the universe which envelopes paradoxes to make one beautiful, complete whole.

Poetic Math.

Artistic Science.

Creative Logic.

And all this beautiful, ripe fruit of learning cannot and will not be vacuum sealed into a textbook that has become so dull I cannot imagine a more spirit breaking job than editing these monstrosities.

It must remain living, breathing, and free -- books written by those passionate about their work, who can see the life and beauty in what they are doing.

Simply, it must remain whole.

This first poem is a dedication to what I feel as I walk this path.

The Spring

When I was young

I drank from a Spring

That spilled down

From the Hills

It was clear

And cool

And I felt

Born Again

After drinking

One day a Woman came

To say it was time

To leave the Hills

For the Spring

I had drank from

For so long

Could no longer

Sustain me.

She said I must come with her

To the place

where they make

Healthy water

Fortified and Modified

With Enzymes and Minerals

She seemed Nice

at least not Mean

And she talked

Like she Knew

what she said

And so I left my


And the Spring

And she gave me

a Plastic Bottle


With water

That was better

than the Spring's

You know,

Full of extra Vitamins

and Minerals

That could sustain me

It tasted stale

and was warm

But I drank anyway

And because I was lonely

in this Big New Place

I did what I was told

So I could bathe in the warmth

Of a Smile

Or Kind Word

I still occasionally hiked

through the Hills to

The Spring

For fun

I still felt Reborn

After Drinking

Very different from the tiredness

I felt after the Woman's Water

Time went by

And I believed she

Was Right

This Water must be

the Answer to Everlasting Life

And so I drank and drank

And became so waterlogged

That I never felt Thirst anymore

But my mouth was always


As if

My thirst was never fully


And as time passed

I no longer went to the Hills

I could not bear the thought

of Water

After so much drinking all day

And so I forgot the way

and there was just an Echo

of a memory

of a magical stream

that could renew Life

One day


And Lazy

With their dead, altered


Sickened by the

Hollow Praise

Handed out only

To those

Who Obey

I took a walk

And wandered

Into some Lush



There I found a sparkling



Singing sweetly

To the Trees

And something in me

Woke up


And I drank

And the Vitality of this


Washed away the plastic taste

And my mouth did not feel


Any longer

But Cool

And Wet

And suddenly I Knew

This Spring

was the only thing

I had ever needed

Would ever need.

And on that Day

By the Spring

In the Hills

I became

Young again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I read recently that the word paradise comes from an Iranian phrase which means "walled garden."

I was thinking this as Stephen and Noelle and I walked through our neighborhood garden, adorned for Love in all its Spring blossoms.

And I realized I wanted to capture these moments because one day, we may no longer live a couple of blocks from our walled paradise, and we may think that our minds have played a trick on us, that there never was or could be such a paradise.

This place, well there is something magical about it. It was designed with an artist's passion by a famous painter from England.

The story is quite romantic, really. He met the love of his life in New York, and she told him if he wanted to marry her he had to come live in Weatherford, Tx, next to her mother. Can you imagine this? A worldly painter who had painted the monarchs of London, rubbed elbows with the exclusive members of England's social circle, and he comes to live in a little cow town in Texas, all for Love.

The garden is a mosaic of tiny paintings, each nook and corner painted just so with the masterful stroke of an artistic genius. Each niche brimming with the life nurtured by the passion of a man devoted to his garden. With only 4 acres, one feels as if they have found a labyrinth of secret coves and enchanted havens.

Today, I captured some of these living masterpieces.

Fish In Stone


Morning By the Pond

Water Irises

For awhile I had thought I would stop bringing my camera because I must have taken pictures of everything several times over. The wonderful thing is, I notice something different every time I go. This time it was the fish drawn into the stone with pebbles.

Everywhere one looks in this garden there is evidence of blooming, the blooming of nature herself, the blooming of the human soul into its most refined expression of Beauty.

And to behold this, well it is wonderfully inspiring to see what our souls in commune with Nature can do. We are capable of so much love, so much goodness.

We are capable of Paradise.

Beyond the Rainbow: Poppy


At Once

Elegant and Robust

Lusty red

I ache to see fields

Of you

And then remember...

Growing in these fields

Are the seeds of violence

And destruction

And I wonder...

How can so much


Come from such


Saturday, April 18, 2009

In the Garden

Little feet
With earth

Some might say
You need a bath

I say
In your stained

There is no honor
In denying
Your Roots.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


"And ye shall know the truth , and

The truth shall set you free."

John 8:32

There is a strong desire in me, now, for truth. To give it and receive it. Not meanness, or unsolicited advice -- I think those things might actually decrease if I allow myself to give the truth when asked.

Stephen and I are practicing this by telling each other anything that comes up that we realized we have been less than honest about in the past, or to catch ourselves being less than honest in the present.

It just feels…liberating. A sort of prison is constructed from dishonesty. It may afford some protection, but at a price. How can one make an authentic and free decision with a false reality as its foundation?

It seems truth is more intricate, more fragile than I once believed. That subtle, almost imperceptible world of motivation, fear, love, needs and wants plays itself out in this material world, the truth masquerading in so many colors, flowing and mixing, until it can barely be perceived.

I grasp at it, and it seems to fall like water through my fingers. I don’t know the best way to find it, to know it. I have only found the ways that are unreliable at best.

One can make assumptions, and, as is usually the case when our linear logic is applied to the infinite complexity of this world, it usually brings one far from the whole truth.

Perhaps you can ask someone directly why they do or say something. But still, this is too simple. What is in their mind when they say the word "Love"? "God?" "Guidance"? "Permissive"? "Authority?" The same thing that is in your mind?

An example: I have seen families that are highly structured where the children say "sir" and "ma'am", and there are many rules and routines that are followed. But within that structure is a full and everpresent love and acceptance. And so the children thrive.

And then there is another family where few rules are made and children are given latitude to do as they wish, explore the world at their desire, but yet you sense that perhaps this is because the parents don't want to invest the time and energy into their children, and so they let them run free. And the children don't seem to be doing well.

And of course there is the traditional authoritarian family where there are rules and a lack of compassion.

And the beautiful free family where there is love and acceptance, and from that grows a desire to allow children to become who they are meant to be with few restrictions.

And of course, there is every variation on this.

So where does the truth hide itself? How are we to raise our children?

It seems it can only be decided by each person, by knowing themselves and their heart. And as is the way with the beautiful diversity of humankind, it will be different for each person, and will evolve with their lives. But it is their truth, and because of that little detail, it is sacred.

This ownership of my own destiny is allowing me to free myself of the demeaning practice of judgement. And as judgement wanes, freedom waxes. And truth and freedom seem to find each other.

And so, in this spirit, I have decided to write about whatever I feel like writing about on this blog. I have all my life worried about offending people with my opinions, but I find myself in complete confusion over this now, as how can anyone ever really be offended by another's opinion?

An opinion is in essence someone else's truth, forged by their experience in life, and to be offended by this is to be offended by their life, in all its strange and exotic beauty, and to be offended by their willingness to live their life and their destiny with authenticity.

And doesn’t it always seem that today’s golden truth, is tomorrow’s discarded illusion? Just as yesterday’s illusion becomes today’s truth.

So, whether I am feeling joyful or frustrated, controversial or accepting, I am going to make every attempt to tell my truth, in all its shimmering, wavering, ambiguous glory.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Flower Child

Every morning Noelle and Stephen take a walk. I will be in the kitchen, or bedroom, and they will come bustling in, hair windblown, cheeks red.

And Noelle always has flowers for me. She will see me and smile, and thrust her little arm out to me, a carefully held bouquet of wildflowers in her sweet little hands. She hands them to me and then throws herself in my arms and we smell them together.

I have often thought that when I leave this life, this image, Noelle smiling with her hand full of flowers, will be the heaven greeting me.

But there is something else that warms my breast when I see her so smitten with wildflowers, or gathering sticks, or gripping tightly to a rock.

I see that she is making this earth her home.

One of my deepest hopes for Noelle is that when she is grown she will feel she belongs to this world, and it in turn belongs to her. That it will care for her, and in turn she for it.

My hope is that when I can no longer cradle her in my arms, she will feel cradled by the earth and the warmth of the sun; and when my warm breath no longer falls on her, she will feel the breeze soothing her; and when I can no longer sing her lullabies, she will hear the sweet songs of the birds, and know it is for her.

I want her to know that her mother, who gave birth to her, thought her the light of her life, but even more than that, the Creator that gave birth to her mother and her mother's mother, and on and on, feels the same way. That every breeze, every song, is for her, from that which gave her life. She is not a random person floating in the oblivion of this world, whose life is formed by the whim of chance. She is a child of her mother, and a child of this earth, and both cherish and love her with all the energy of this universe.

When I see her light up at a flower, or push her hands deep in the dirt, there is something in me that knows she will be okay in this life, because no matter what happens, the earth will always be firm under her feet, the sun warm on her face, the moon lighting up the darkness, the stars reminding her of galaxies far away, the seasons coming and going.

And of course, there will always be flowers to smell.