It Doesn’t Take Much

HOPE

One light flickers in the darkness
Tiny spot just I can see
Pushing back the nighttime terrors
Smallest pulse of certainty
One light warms the cold around it
Offers life though new and frail
One spot in the bleak unknowing
Tiny light to pierce the veil
Sit in stillness, watch it dancing
Burning through the shadows dark
One light fighting countless demons
Hope alive in smallest spark

Let the Real Party Begin

MORNING

morning joins the party late
as the deejay calls last dance
stars kick off their heels
dancing barefoot and drunk
some point fingers at the
new girl in her bright dress
saying we have better smiles
and wear couture
but morning doesn’t listen
to their petty slights
she glides into the room
twirling as the music fades
happy in her bright dress
carefree center of attention
unaware that her shy smile
lights the room

Five Years, Who’s Counting

THE AMEN

Was it yesterday I said goodbye
Without saying anything
Too many people crowded your
Bedside, holding your hands
Praying their prayers and yours
I wanted an empty room
The space to breathe along
With you as you breathed
The last of our air
The end of your prayers
In a quiet room I would have
Told you I would miss you
I might have said I loved you
But not with others listening in
So I said goodbye without saying
Anything, holding those words
In a heart already too fragile
Too small to contain the unspoken
The heaviness of a mother’s bond
Finally grown strong at the end
We never said those words, did we
Not out loud
You left us to sweep up the dust
Your dried tears covering our lives
Your heart too fragile to hold
Seven other lives with love
Love braided with hatred
Woven with pain never ending
Your mind so tired laid down
Its memories, setting aside
The us and the you
The life and the lies
And the tears turned to dust
I peer into those dark corners
Sweeping away what I can reach
Tomorrow I’ll try for more
It’s the work of a lifetime
Freeing myself from the dust
Holding my breath and yours
Bearing the weight of feeling
What couldn’t be said
In a crowded room, the
End of our prayers, the amen

Is Prayer a Two-Way Street?

THE THINGS I SAY TO GOD

The things I say to God,
God says to me:
Where have you been?
What have you done?
I’m still here—don’t you see?

The things I say to God,
God says to me:
Don’t give up yet!
Don’t let me go!
There’s nothing you can’t be!

The things I say to God,
God says to me:
I see your face.
I know your love.
We’re one eternally.

Make It Count

THE POWER OF YOUR LIFE

Rise up from your dusty chair
And rinse your tired eyes
Leave the silver tarnished
Ditch the maidenly disguise
There is no need now to whisper
It’s your voice they long to hear
Let them stay to get a glimpse and gather near

Don’t fear the surging power
As your soul ignites to flame
No apologies are needed
When they beg to know your name
It’s your light that pulls them closer
It’s your spirit they all seek
Let it blossom, let it flower, let it speak

The lowly are the mighty
And the meek show all the way
For the lucky ones who notice
They no longer go astray
When you step outside your story
Spinning new enchanting tales
You free the rest from overcrowded jails
Rejoicing in a love that never fails

Time to Breathe

I hadn’t much time, so I had to choose which chore to do before we needed to leave for Kiddo’s next appointment. I chose watering the planters mainly from guilt. The mums were new, but already neglected. It’s been dry here (not California-dry, but dry enough that even the trees are stressed). Being outside usually makes me feel better about life (cleaning toilets is far less therapeutic), and since this month has been particularly stressful, I hoped that those good vibes would carry me through the day.

While I was rolling up the hose, I tuned in for a moment to the thoughts that had been swirling around my mind. There’s a constant stream of chatter that I sometimes get lost in, but other times manage to ignore. It’s almost as though there are two channels broadcasting at the same time. On one, I was thinking about the plants, noticing what needed pruning, what looked stressed, what was dying back. On the other, I was feeling relieved that a new year was starting.

That’s the thought that startled me, making me tune into that stream. What on earth did I mean? Everything in the yard is dying. The grass gave up weeks ago from lack of rain. Most of the perennials have passed, and the trees are starting to drop their leaves. The leaves that have fallen are small and brownish, not the vibrant colors we’ve had other years. Nothing about this yard says new beginning. It’s a winding down to winter. Fall. Everyone knows that. So why am I taking deep breaths and feeling relieved that summer is over? Why am I connecting Fall with a fresh start?

The obvious answer, of course, is that this is a new school year. My granddaughter is home-schooled. In my home. And several people I know, both family and friends, are either teachers or students. I’m neither, but I still bought myself a few new notebooks (Confession: I bought myself a ton of new notebooks. They’re in a bag under my bed. The new pens and markers are in the drawer in the family room, if anyone needs any. There might be a fresh pack of crayons there too. You know—just in case). So, yes, I do equate September with the new school year.

That wasn’t what I was thinking about, though. I was noticing the falling leaves, the dying plants. I was feeling the relief that comes with letting go, with finishing a cycle, with coming in from the sun. The air felt cool and crisp, and even though the sun was bright, it didn’t glare at me. It wasn’t the hot August sun demanding I reach my full potential, finish the race, grab every moment of life I can. It was a softer sun that said it’s okay to take your time. There’s still warmth, but the breezes are cooler. It’s time to breathe deeply and feel the energy build.

Maybe my cycle runs from Fall through Summer. August feels like the last push for the summit. September feels like renewal. There’s still a lot of life this time of year. It’s harvest. My spiritual birth is now when the apples are ripe and pumpkins fill the fields. This is a time of abundance and celebration. This is birth and childhood, right through the holidays. The magic of Halloween, the feast of Thanksgiving, the color and music of Christmas. It’s a time to be aware of family, whatever that means to you. There’s stress, there’s sorrow. But that’s life.

Passing into winter is like entering adolescence. It’s time to bundle up. You wear so many layers it’s hard to tell what you really look like. It can feel endless and dreary and depressing. You’re in a cocoon, just itching to break free. Then spring finally comes: you’re an adult, still young enough to enjoy it and put in the hard work. You prepare the ground for new crops. You mate and smell the flowers. Then summer— exciting and bright until the heat and humidity get you. Until everything starts to wilt. Until you’ve set your fruit for someone else to harvest.

Spring isn’t birth, it’s the prime of life, hit-the-ground-running after a long winter. Shed some of those layers. And summer, well, that’s when you’re stripped bare. Exposed. There’s no escaping the glare of the sun. You can’t hide who you’ve become. The layers are gone. It’s just you in the stark white light of day. So Fall is it for me, the time of year I come alive. This is when I feel hopeful and abundant and thankful for a new day. I decorated the house with pumpkins and leaf garlands and orange lights. I hung friendly, gauzy ghosts from the ceiling beams and hung a bright orange wreath on the door. The yard is full of scarecrows and mums and more pumpkins. It’s a celebration.

This is the time to plant those bulbs and perennials you want to see flourish in the spring. They need time under ground, time to get rooted, before you ever get to see them bloom. There’s life everywhere, like the daisy’s new growth, close to the ground, visible when you cut back the old. This is the beginning of life, all red and orange, smelling of apples and cinnamon. But beginnings aren’t showy, and sometimes aren’t pretty. The old needs to fall away, be cut back, or just allowed to wither and die. Don’t be fooled by what you don’t see. Take a deep breath and welcome a new year, another chance at life.