In search of story


Connections: January 11.18

It’s a world of mud

outside my door

sodden, spongey

barren bore.

It’s a sky of mud

dark and flat

spitting drip

and dribble and splat.

No light, no color

etc., et al.

so I turn my eyes

to Southern Cal.

Lifting me

to brilliant blue

this silver bonfire

makes me new.

Or is it wave

or maybe wing?

It doesn’t matter;

the sun’s the thing.

In such an image

the light’s outreach

touches me

in winter’s breach.

This bleak faux spring

is quite escapable

as long as I am



Many thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives and the curator thereof for this wonderfully warming photo.



January 8.18

This conflagration, dear reader, was my birthday cake last night. Today is the actual date (yes, me and Elvis), but last night was the family do. What makes this flaming cake blog-worthy is the arrangement along the far arc of it. If you look closely and use just a little imagination for the emoji candles, you will see (I’ve no doubt) that the 1001011 is my birthday in binary. My family, ladies and gentlemen! Undeterred by the lack of a 7 and a 5, they devised a binary 75! I seemed to be the only one at the table to be slow on the pick-up. Yes, yes, I know what “binary” means, but it is hardly where my brain goes when I don’t have the right candles!

You may note the second cake. My daughter-in-law, in all other ways an exemplary person, does not like frosting. So there is always an angel food cake for her. Full disclosure: no one objects to having a piece with her.

Now to real life: I lay me down last night after a full day which followed one of those rotten sleepless nights. Of course I couldn’t fall asleep. This is partly age, partly my lifelong struggle with insomnia, partly too much binary cake. After about an hour, I drifted off. At 1:20 I was awakened by chirping. Yes, chirping! One of these wretched alarms was chirping! Which one, and what would I do about it in this new house?

You may know, dear reader, that any venture in the wee hours starts with a trip to the bathroom, and that’s where I saw all the blood in my mouth. How long had that been going on? I rinsed and spit and spit and rinsed. It’s this blasted HHT, as you may know if you’ve read my blog for long. It took a few shaky minutes to stop it.

The bleeding stopped but not the chirping. There I was, at 1:30 in the morning, atop a ladder at the top of the stairs, feeling woozy and not at all patient. I couldn’t figure out anything about the rotten thing. So it continued its own happy-birthday song to me. And it continues now with its soothing beepathon.

And so begins my 75th birthday. I have broken my rule of the 300-word blog post limit, which I have abided by almost unfailingly. But it’s my birthday and I’ll write if I want to.




Connections: January 7.18

Behind the brambly trees,

near distant,

the horizon burned,

color of gladiola

I have summer-seen,

but quick to cool,

lost to cinder grey

though I stretched my hand

to stop it —

ashen sky now

ashen snow —

the awning on the swing flaps

like trapped bird,

winter warming laps

at frozen ground,

then ice.




Connections: January 6.18

My dear friend Donna sent me the most amazing news this morning: Today is National I’m-Not-Going-To-Take-It-Any-More Day. And we’re coming to the end of Some-Day-We’ll-Laugh-About-This Week. Did you know, dear reader, of these observances? I did not.

So I am challenged now. What am I not going to take any more? People driving on my back bumper when I’m already going over the speed limit? People who flash their turn signals AFTER they’ve changed lanes? The way a vast population has mistaken opinion for fact and doesn’t seem to care? Click-bait? Computer pop-ups that threaten jail and fines if I don’t call their toll-free number?

The cold truth of the matter is that I have to keep taking all these things I won’t take any more. I cannot change them. And I doubt I will some day laugh about any of them.

But that’s why God gave me mirrors. There’s where I see what I will laugh at. I can be such a doofus.

There are my thoughts in honor of this day and week.

I wish you, dear reader, a properly belligerent I’m-Not-Going-To-Take-It-Any-More Day to end this rueful Some-Day-We’ll-Laugh-About-This Week. In addition, a head-bangingly happy National Bobblehead Day!






Connections: January 5.18

About walls.

As you know, I’m new here. I have lived here not quite two months. Two insane months. My housewarming gift from Mother Nature has been a gorgeous, dangerous cold. She has shut me in.

Being shut in has put me in close communion with my new walls. Have you noticed, dear reader, how walls differ? It isn’t just the color; it’s size and height and the way they join hands or don’t.

My wall jewelry is — ahem — eclectic. My last house was 3400 square feet; this one is 2000. Even I can do that math. Placement must be judicious.

Since I have not had them painted yet, my walls offer particular possibilities. I am Columbus and these walls are the flat unexplored world. I can try this and try that; if it’s awful, I can take it down and the holes which tell the story of my bad ideas will be plugged and painted.

(Would that the history of all my bad ideas were so nicely disclaimed!)

Two days ago I hung three botanical prints I love. They look awful. They were perfect in the same arrangement in my old house. Here, awful. The space is so different. And space must be carefully sculpted. The walls might be flat, but the whole is multi-dimensional. A plain wall can be the best. Or tedious. A beautiful print can be just as tedious. Where do things go? Ah, the cry of the newly-moved.

In the Grand Scheme, my walls do not meet the lowest bars of significance. Perhaps that’s why I am so compelled by them: in some peevish way in an overwhelming world, I decide.