Sunday, February 13, 2011


What a discombobulating week. I feel like I've been on a journey to a far, faraway land--sick, not quite better yet; leaving town next Wednesday night on a red-eye for Boston and two weeks in New Hampshire; neither quite here nor quite there. Very fragile, very vulnerable. I've spent a lot of time in my room, in a kind of twilight half-waking, half-sleeping state.

Yesterday afternoon I went over to my friend Judy's house in Beechwood Canyon. She served me tea and grapes and cheese and crackers and we walked around her unbelievably beautiful garden: clivias, begonias, bromeliads, succulents fuchsias and hydrangeas (not yet in bloom), aloes, rare African bulbs, heliotrope, a branch of wisteria that wasjustbeginning to show purple.

I was so sick I missed Sunday Mass last week! For I think only the third time in 14 years...and then I somehow couldn't get there during the week either. So after Judy's, I drove over to Holy Trinity in Atwater and went to vigil Mass, and I was so grateful, so bowled over by mystery, by beauty, by the fact that any of us are alive and breathing. After the Eucharist, we were all sitting quietly while Father cleaned the vessels and I closed my eyes, and felt so peaceful, and listening to the gentle sounds of the napkin as he wiped the chalice and neatened the altar, I thought of how after supper as kids, as the sun had set and we'd settled in to read or play the piano or watch TV, from the kitchen would come the sounds of my mother doing the dishes...

I've been working hard, maybe too hard, and now I'm spending the time before I leave visiting with friends. How precious my friends are to me! My friend Maudie is having me over to dinner tonight, tomorrow I'll meet Patrick for coffee and then I think my friend Julia and this is good; I'm availing myself of the embrace of hospitality, generosity, love; I'm preparing for my trip so I can bring all that with me...

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

--James Wright, 1927-1980


  1. Something fragile and vulnerable blossoms inside of me as the result of your postings in picture, poem, music and word; a flowering of truth, carrying the faint scent of hope. Strong enough to make me want to say "yes", which surprises, as it breaks through the cover of the protective "no".

  2. Stunning poem. Father and son award winning poets.

    I find it odd(for myself)that more people
    who are not in recovery, have been there for me.

    I don't know how it is with you.
    Strange week for me as well.
    Three friends had close family members die.

    And the priest's sermon today
    was really the sixth step.

  3. Heather, I've been in this weird half-living state before during illness. I hope you come out of it soon. Your insights are rich, though, and what strikes me when I read your the deep and varied and interesting and generous friendships you've cultivated. You are very blessed in this way. It's obvious how God is taking care of you. Hang in there -- full health will be restored soon!


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