The Key

The key to my heart is in your hands

You dance and I become still

Forever waiting for your words

To break the silence

With love

And compassion

For it is in knowing yourself

Forgiving yourself

That you know me

In all my varied coats

Technicolor, paisley and plain blue

A beacon to welcome you

In this darkest of realms

Where the rules have not been written

(and never will be)


The Key [part 2]

The moment night shifts to day

dark to light

breath to no breath

sits a point

barely noticeable

take time to listen

and in the listening

a most subtle tone

now a symphony

more delightful

more enduring

than the sweetest sound

sit quietly and find how

the cracks in these cavernous walls

reveal the key to your happiness

and mine


Low Rising [part 6]

September 15, 2014, crescent moon, full tide

Allie wipes her hands on the turpentine soaked rag, the pungent smell of pine stings her nostrils. She dips her brush in, mesmerized by the swirling varnish spiral dissolving into these spirits. Stepping back, she gives the hull a once over, lap-straight lines drawing together in a slow curve to the bow. Lustrous varnish enhancing rich walnut wood grain. This seventh coat of varnish destined to hold up to bleaching sun and salt for at least the next six months.


Low Rising (part 4)


“What’s on the docket today, Allie?”

“I’ve got to finish placing the reef ties on the sail and then run into town for some sandpaper – I’ve run through my fine grit and the hull needs one last coat of varnish before the rains come. Do you need anything from town?”

“Can you pick up a dozen oranges? Peter’s coming by after dinner and I want to give him a gift before he leaves for The Netherlands”

Allie takes a sharp breath in, remembering her last encounter with Peter. His shiny curls delivering sharp contrast to the sun, his bright smile beaconing her closer. Iron casing coating his shins. He was wel[Allie’s father] a sign for the boatyard, one announcing the opening of his restaurant, Raw Oyster, the fruition of 15 years of dreaming and hard work. She was thrilled for him and let him know it as often as she could without pressuring him. And now the time had come to bring his gift into the world. So, on this day, with him looking so proud and joyful, it nearly broke her heart to turn down his offer to partner with him in the business. And yet, she felt betRxed. Had he not been listening to her dreams? Didn’t he know that she was about to go on a journey of a lifetime, one that she had been dreaming of for so many years? How could he put her in this terrible position – to have to choose between one love and another? 

{Music: Low Rising, The Swell Season]

She sighed deeply. Yes, she would pick up the oranges. No, she would not let this ripple destroy their friendship. Allie was not one to walk away from 15 years of love and laughter because of one small oversight. “Was it really all that small?” she wondered, “In all those years how often did he ask about my dreams?” She brushed the thought aside, put on her coat and gave a wink to Moby. “See you for lunch.”

I think this needs to be a web-based novel with embedded links to mini-movies, stills, music, and related websites and social media… ways to make the novel more three-dimensional and interactive for readers.

… and possible sponsors: The Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Hamptons Historical Society (do they exist?), etc. 

Stan [Allie’s father] at the edge of the ocean on Asparagus Beach, Allie thinks back to the time just before her father passed, recalling a series of emails between her and her artist friend, Jx.


Low Rising (part 5)

Note: This one was written with an old friend. He gets credit for his lovely responses.

Hello (she whispered across the open ocean)

Hi to you (he said from under the pines)

(and how are you?)

Fine (she replied amidst Eastend seagrass)

(and you?)

[He] In the woods: Southern heat and damp, grumbly evening rains and tree frogs singling like a New York traffic jam. Drawing at my leisure while looking to the forest for affirmation.

[She] Nice!  I hope the forest whispers back to your soul, reminding you of all that gets forgotten in the busy-ness of life.

Meanwhile, I float above waves of chartreuse seagrass, hair primped and teased by the pull of the bay tide.

Breaking color and other quiet things.

[He] Now that looks like immersive communication indeed (nice toes too).

I’m heading back up the coast tomorrow. Goodbye to the green fields and gracious light that has fed me for these few days. 

See you when I get home?

[She] Yes.

[He] I’m trying to make drawing like dream liquid.

[She] Hmmm. Drawing like dream liquid sounds both sensuous and sublime.  I can’t wait to see (when you are ready to show). And I would love to see some of your older work up close and in person. The computer does not serve the subtle well.

In the meantime, I’m relishing the quiet gesture between trees while drawing and the touch of burnt umber against matte black while painting, moving into silence as I focus on that which is not spoken but stated so clearly. It is good to be back in summer where days are long and languid…

[He] I like the sound of your vision between the trees. Are you on the island still?

Umber and black, earth and ash.

Talk again when home.

[She] Yes still where sea laps shore (until around the 22nd).


Rescuing Cairn [Part 2]

When walking in the woods, I generally keep to the trail, leaving the remainder of the forest to the wild things. But rules are generally meant to be broken when it comes to helping creatures of the wild. This is the story of how I came to know Cairn, tiny creature of the wild wood.

[this is a first draft of a work in progress]

As I walked up the road after lunch one day in late June, I heard what sounded like a cross between a baby’s cry and that of a kid goat coming from the woods along the road. It came twice more and I thought the thought I often have when walking these Pennsylvania trails: “Leave the wild things to the wild.” Anyway, I was running late for a meeting already and any distractions would pose a problem. So I left the wild thing to the wild and kept walking.

An hour later, my work done for the day, I decided to write some poetry ­– a promise I’d made to myself for several weeks now, but failed to keep. This day I was intent on following through because my inner poet was crying for attention. So, as I walked past the tired old gazebo that no one every sits in, I heard another distressed cry from the thick of the woods. My first thought was to leave this wild thing alone as I always do. A second cry came fast this time and I realized that I had no choice but to see what the trouble was. I followed the sound to a rock precipice overlooking a thicket of dense trees and brambles. Looking directly below, I spotted a small porcupine, about the size of a grapefruit, only covered in sharp, black spines. Sensing my presence, it quickly scurried back into a rock cave (I was currently standing on the roof of this small cave). 

Taking the long way around, I chose crossing a thicket of brambles over risking a meeting with the porcupine’s mother. Another cry, more insistent this time, begged me to follow. Moving as quickly as possible over craggy rocks, rushing past sticker bushes intent on grabbing my legs, I managed to skirt past large patches of poison ivy and avoid eye-poking branches as I followed the cry to the boggy valley below.

[{OR use this alternate para to the one above?} More cries pulled me into the thicket. Blackberry thorns scratched my ankles, poison ivy brushed my arms as I pushed back eye-poking branches to clear the view only to find more brambles and branches. Still unable to see much in this mess of forest, the cries directed each step as I stumbled over a jumble of jagged stones.]

I stopped, scanning the rocky floor for any sign of life. Looking toward the road where I’d been standing unscathed just a few moments before, I caught my first glimpse of her tiny head, soft and brown, jutting out above the craggy rocks which bound her to this wild place. Straining her head upward as she let out another cry. The baby deer was clearly stuck and in distress.

Approaching slowly and speaking softly to her, I looked around for signs of her mother, but found only fresh deer droppings where the porcupine had been. The fawn stopped crying and seemed to know instinctively that I was there to help. Touching the bare spot on her forehead and stroking the soft fur of her delicate ears, I eased my other hand alongside her tiny body and into the gap between a boulder and old oak that was holding her tight. Clearly tired from trying to get free, she didn’t seem to have strength to do more than hold on. With her front legs clinging to the edge of the hole and her rear legs pinned close to her sides, there was no room to maneuver her from this tight spot. 

Realizing that she’d probably been stuck there for hours, I worked quickly. Pushing in against the stone that held her, I finally reached her backside, only to discover her haunches soaking in a cold underground stream. Unable to help her out with a nudge from behind, I clawed at tree roots and dark earth with one hand, while holding her backside, hoping to keep her from slipping into the frigid stream below. Cold permeates these woods, even in summer.

[to be continued]


Low Tide, New Moon [part 3]


The sun shifts past the porch beam, instantly lighting up her face. Closing her eyes, she soaks it in, breathing deeply into this moment. She glances over to see Moby’s soft belly turned to greet the sun, his eyes narrowed to a squint, paws sprawled in four directions, soaking it all in. Cats love the sun like no other creature on earth. If there’s one thing that Moby has taught her, it’s how to slow down and breathe into these moments, patiently, like Summer’s unfolding flowers. She reaches over and tickles his belly. He grasps her hands between his front paws, claws carefully tucked away, and licks the top of her hand. Lovely, sandpaper kisses. Her fingers brush the side of his neck and he falls back into a deep reverie. 

Oh, to spend the day lounging on the porch with Moby would be so nice. But today she has work to do, preparations to be made for her first underwater adventure, so this moment of quiet will have to do. She sighs, knowing that she will miss her dear friend, Moby, dearly while she explores the ocean floor, but she feels better knowing that he will be in his favorite place on earth, cared for by her father’s friend, Sarah, for the next month and a half.

On her way to the kitchen, she passes Sarah who glances up from the morning paper.


Low Tide, New Moon, August 4, 2014 [Part 2]


She remembers the story her father told her about his first boat, The Pansy. His stories captivated her like no other. Remembering the glee in his eyes when she asked him to tell it once more, she smiled and imagined his voice. The year was 1931, and Dx picked up her husband’s ink pen with unprecedented determination to draft a letter to her trusty friend Hx. Dx relied on her sister-in-law Hx as a battle axe, a necessary weapon when dealing with her husband, Rx, Sr., on matters of importance. The construction of House #1 was on the horizon, and Dx needed all the help she could get to insure that it would be built with her delicate frame in mind. Dx was demure in nature with willowy arms and a sing-song voice; a perfect match, in her complete oppositeness, to the overbearing presence of [Allie’s grandfather], Rx, Sr. After all, it would be Dx, not Rx, who would be left to mind the children, sea and shore while Rx, Sr. turned rubber into gold traversing East Coast bi-ways as a travelling salesman in his trusty DeSoto.

With a “boxwood” shell, House #1 was built like a barn with vertical planking that seized the sky and rooted the structure to earth in a simplicity that underpinned the luxury to come to these Hampton shores….

“Fold your arms across your chest. Leave nothing sticking out,” commanded Bx one crisp summer morning, “And don’t flay them about!” Cx added to the demands on young [Allie’s father], son of Rx and Dx [Allie’s Family name] of Brooklyn, NY. It was his first year summering on the East End, and disobedience was out of the question to his 4 year old mind as he became the football, skillfully tossed between the lithe arms of brothers Cx and Bx, and their friend Dxx. At four, [Allie’s father] was an early initiate in the [childhood friends of Allie’s father] East End ways.

[A novel start. More to come….]


Rescuing Cairn [Part 5]

 [this is the last installment of a story in progress, last published 26Aug2020]


Cairn is very much alive and well these days, It’s a joy to see her grow bigger each day, to witness her wean from her mother’s milk and begin to explore the world on her own, to watch her run and play and know that I had something to do with her growth and freedom. Cairn taught me the power of loving a wild helpless thing and my encounter with her continues to reveal deep truths about life. 

Cairn taught me how to ask for help in moments of great need and how to hold the space for healing my inner wildness. At times when I find myself stuck in a hole that’s hard to get out of ­– a bog of negative thoughts that can pull me into a cold, dark space­ that I can’t dig myself out of ­­– I call on dear friends, family, and my inner teacher for support. I’ve found that help always arrives when I ask for it, even though it may not come in the shape or form that I wish for. This support breaks up any negative thinking and paves the way to freedom, at least for a while. 

These days, when the world around me feels less than fulfilling, I remember the few precious moments when I held Cairn in my arms and imagine holding myself in the same way – calmly and with lots of caring. I think it must be part of the human condition to wish for loving arms to lift us out of our suffering, to comfort us until we are strong enough to stand on our own once again. I’m glad that I did this for Cairn. I’m ever grateful that my dear friends and family continue to do this for me and hope that I’m able to do as much for them. May we all do as much for each other each and every day.


In Process: Pink Mandala

Here’s a high speed movie of the Pink Mandala build. I like this side view because it shows the stream and play of light on the trees. Next time I’ll bring a tripod for an overhead view. Enjoy!