Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Once upon a time this little fella came to live at our houseand today he turned five.

We adore you*

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Present -- yet another lesson

Yesterday, Silas stayed home from school with pink eye, so the three of us went to my favorite beach. Rain stained the horizon in vertical rays and the clouds to the north loomed deep purple. The entire beach at high tide was covered with debris -- scraps of kelp, bamboo, sticks, trash -- and where we played a little stream cut across the beach to the ocean. The kids sloshed in the muddy sand, slid down edge of the bank, made fishing poles from long pieces of bamboo with wads of kelp "whales" hanging off the end. I tried to run around as much as they did to stay warm. After a while, though, the wind shifted and blew cold through our clothes. I felt myself grow antsy. Immediately I felt distracted and a little impatient, and my mind began to climb through the rest of the day ahead. At one point I said, "Eden, you have dance today!" -- some indirect attempt to turn her attention from the beach, back to the world at the top of the hill where there was heat. And without turning around, as she bent to pick up another handful of sticks she said, "But right now we are throwing things into the water!!!!"

And so you are, little one, and so you are.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Poem for the Morning

The Moment
by Marie Howe

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when, nothing


no what-have-I-to-do-today-list

maybe half a moment

the rush of traffic stops.

The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be

slows to silence,

the white cotton curtains hanging still.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Word of Warfare (Curtains)

Journeying through loss last summer blew a lot of our smog away; these days, Ben and I move through life pretty eye-to-eye. As we navigate newness -- house, school district, church -- our combativeness softens quickly to kindness and we seem to be striking compromises with surprising ease. The word "maturing" has crossed my mind a time or two.

But then a Saturday rolls along and we make a move toward finalizing window treatments. Our little blissful harmony is smacked with harsh tones and utter impatience and at the end of the weekend, we still have no conclusions. Window coverings are not a part of decorating that thrill me, especially window coverings for a house we're renting. Or shall I say paying for window coverings in a house we are renting does not thrill me. So 2 1/2 months into living in this little pink house, we still have vinyl blinds, circa 1980 with a strip of flower trim at the bottom and a mauve tassel, hanging from wobbly braces.

And every weekend, we brew near each other about the unfinished-ness. It is the simple collision of approaches: bang it all out in an hour vs. wait to find what you want. And though the frustrations make sense, curtains seem a ridiculous Achilles tendon (though these battles are never really about the curtains, are they?)

And so as I sit in the living room wishing I'd climbed into bed two hours ago, I listen to the rain pat and splatter, quiet, and pour. Rain clears smog, too. Maybe tonight it will wash out ours.

This morning I sat with the front page section for twice as long as usual because the world is bubbling. And then tonight I sat in a room with lit windows beaming at a dark street and bubbled about blinds. *sigh*

Next week I head east to breathe wet Spring blossoms, and hopefully by then the curtains will have quieted and perspective will have righted itself again. Already Ben is giving me a half smile across the room. That's a start.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Looking out From the Couch

Wow, February 24th was the last time I wrote. Nearly a month ago, perhaps my longest pause. And now, how does one begin?

In light of whatever notable events have transpired inside these walls -- Silas eating mango that "tastes like joy," Eden naming a butterfly in a jar Panda Puffs, Silas naming his early birthday blue beta fish Rainbow Boy -- outside these walls the world is changing. Changing as I sit on my couch, changing as I plan Silas's birthday party with Ben, as I watch my favorite youtube video, as I walk around the bay, as I battled with tantrums, as I make tea in my kitchen. The face of the middle east is changing, the landscape of Japan, so many thousands of lives -- changed, destroyed.

I just read a letter from a friend of a friend living in Japan who said as of Wednesday night there were still earthquakes every 15 minutes and a constant rumbling in the earth. I wonder why I haven't read this in any papers. Her account was so much quieter than the shaky videos of the relentless wave plowing through neighborhoods and overturning cars, it was even tinged with gratitude for how kind people have been to one another, and of course also saturated with the devastation...

And this is life, right? Holding these tensions in our small hands: the intimate and the public, the immediate and the global, the finite and the infinite, the physical and the spiritual. It's easy to consume, and be consumed by, one or the other. But to hold both at once, to allow for them to settled equally deeply into our gut, maybe that's why we're here.