Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poem: Moondance International Film Festival

Mondance International Film Festival

I'm off to Moondance one more time,
No chance to think or find a rhyme,
My brain and body, both are fried,
But through the day I'll try to glide.
I'll do my job with cheer and smile.
I even might some friend beguile.
It really is a lot of fun,
But that's all, folks, I've got to run.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Prose: Rainbow Lake

The blue dragonflies skim across Rainbow Lake. A small one lands on my bare, wet toe. I thank him for his visit.
I had just waded into the cold mountain water and allowed it to rush energy up my spine.
Now that I’m quiet enough sitting on the sandy shore, a small bird twitters to me from a tangle of bushes nearby.
I hear the creek across the lake that feeds into it, rushing over boulders and tree roots to get here.
I too have meandered over dead tree poles placed across the rushing stream beds, in at least four places on my hike in. Not a morning stroll, but so worth the time and effort.
I watch the dragonflies in their mating dance over the small grasses along the edge of the lake. A small bluish-purple butterfly dances by my right shoulder again and again. Maybe it thinks I am an exotic flower in my crimson shirt. It’s nice to feel exotic at 63 to something. Jyoti


The lake is revealing itself slowly through a heavy mist this morning.  Quietly. The water holds itself waiting for a breeze to ruffle its surface. Sounds are muffled.  A lone runner jogs by making a schuuk–schuuk sound on the stoney path that leads into town.  Two crows walk back and forth along the dock looking important with their chests pushed forward as they carry on a cawing conversation.  

Most of the summer people have gone leaving only a few stragglers like me to watch autumn creep forward.  Already there is a chill in the morning air and I have caught glimpses of red in the maple forests.  Sumac on the roadside is turning.  The humming birds are leaving for their long journey south and the days are notably shorter and nights longer. It is time to go.

Goodbye lake.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zevon's Gift

This weekend I was given an incredible and unexpected gift. It was not a gift the giver was totally ready to give but the circumstance was not to be avoided.

It began with a phone call at 8:45 in the morning from a dear friend of mine, an accomplished horse woman who has spent her entire life in the company of horses. There was an edge to her voice that hinted of urgency. “Zevon is colicky and I can’t get a hold of my vet. Can you call yours and see how fast he can get over here?” “Of course,” I replied, already flipping through my day timer.
“Is Richard home this morning”, I inquired, wondering if she was dealing with this by herself. Not that she isn’t competent to deal with the situation; she’s told me dozens of colic stories and helped me out a couple of times with my own horse. “He’s here. He’s out riding horses. He’s not really helping me.” There was that tone again. Her housemate Richard knows as much about horses as Molly, but I thought she might need a girl friend. I told her I would come up for a little while.

On an impulse I threw a tamale in the microwave and took it with me for the short drive to her house. I prayed between bites as I hurried down the country roads. I have never seen a full blown colic before and I was as curious as I was worried.

I have known Zevon for several years. He is a handsome fellow, a tall dark bay gelding with a friendly face. A few years ago he came to my house to babysit my little mare when I was between house mates and Lakota had lost her herd. Horses are herd animals, most prefer not to be alone ~ they are too vulnerable. As Zevon liked the ladies, he took his new assignment in stride. He was a natural born leader and took control of every herd he was in. Zevon had been retired by the time I met him so I never saw him under saddle, but I knew that in their 28 years together, he and Molly had covered many, many miles.

He was laying down in his stall when I got there and Richard, still riding, waved me that direction. Molly, of course, was right there and brought me up to speed. She had talked with her vet and she was on her way now. Molly told me how every thing had appeared fine this morning, but he had deteriorated quickly. Zevon would lie still and then kick his legs and swing his head around to look at his stomach. He would sometimes try to stand up and end up sitting with his front legs straight in front of him like a trick pony, but this was not a show any of us wanted to watch.

The vet arrived and she was marvelous. She told Molly that she was very concerned with the situation, especially as Zevon was not a young horse. She left us with medications and a time line to follow. At one point in the early afternoon it appeared that Zevon had turned the corner. Richard, Molly and I commented over and over how much better he appeared to be feeling. We walked with him, stroked his beautiful neck and gave him sponge baths. But our optimism was short lived and Zevon grew more restless as his pain intensified.

It was time for Molly to make the hardest decision an animal owner ever faces. With tears in her eyes she looked at Richard. Through the years I have heard them discuss this very moment. She always told him, “I am going to have trouble making that call when it’s time. I need you to be honest with me and tell me the truth.” Even though the words strangled her, she squeaked out the question. Richard studied the toe of his boot and nodded. I drifted back and tried to get a grip on my trembling chin; I had no intention of making this harder for my dear friend. The call was made, the vet was on her way and we each paid homage to this marvelous horse, an outstandingly gorgeous being.

As I drove home later that day I thought what a precious gift Zevon and Molly had given me. When it is our time, I hope that Lakota and I have friends holding us up, to ease us through the transition. What a marvelous example they had presented me ~ filled with Love and Grief and Grace and Tears and Tenderness. Such a gift.

* annette

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Finer Food

Only cicadas keep the night from total silence, calls from the hot earth through the blackness of the new moon. They sing a tune, an ancient song of continuity. The deepening silence and rhythm rock me back into one of those times when you slip though the barrier of “normal” into the magic of another time and place. When what is always there but not seen appears to us. When something in our brain slides over to let our awareness peer into the makings of a finer world. Not finer in better, though it may be thought so, but finer in a more delicate, softer, subtler sense.

It was here I one time found myself listening to the celestial sounds of the end of day. I was in the woods of an upstate New York town. Walking quietly with heart open when it felt like I moved through a doorway. In the fading light all things were coming alive in a way I’d never imagined possible. It was as if every creature, branch, twig, rock and all things present started to sing. Each one had a different song. It was subtle at first, but slowly came to a building of unique vibrations till a crescendo of heavenly voices all blended their song for me to bathe in. I stood transfixed by the experience. I felt like I was being fed a food far finer then any I had ever taken in. I drank and drank, inhaling the sounds in a way I can not describe. I don’t know how long I stood there. It was well after dark when the quiet had returned, when I must have slipped back through the doorway to the more familiar world. I walked back to the house wondering what that was. Realizing that my thoughts about it would never match the moment I decided to not think about it but just satiate in it, like the effects of a good meal. Deep appreciation settled into my bones. Just then I noticed the fireflies dancing in the dark.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Essay- Learning to Thin & Prune

I have always loved the tangle of a garden gone wild—no boundaries, no empty spaces, filled with flower, branch and leaf. I have enjoyed throwing out seeds, letting plants grow where they will. They knew best the conditions that allow them to flourish. And I didn’t have to decide. Not surprisingly, my life has been this way too. I go with the flow, allowing circumstances and those around me decide what will happen in my life, grow in my garden.

One way to look at it is that I am very adaptable and appreciative.

Another way to look at it is that I lack will power and vision for my own life. Even my houseplants have had free rein.

But finally urged on by my husband’s fear that my plants would overrun the house, I have learned to cut them back and trim them to the size and shape that I prefer. They continue to flourish under the rulership of my scissors. I’ve even been able to get rid of plants I don’t really want anymore.

Having a vegetable garden this year has given me practice at thinning things out, so that beans and greens will grow to their full potential rather than be stunted by being too crowded. This seems to coincide with a new knowing in me of what I can prune to make room for new growth in my life. I am trimming those gnarled, twisted and barren old branches back, saving the growing ends to sprout into new plants that I might keep or give away as gifts. And I’m thinning out my activities—making choices about what I want to be bigger and more fruitful in the garden of my life.

by Terra

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Musing: The Night's Cry

The Night’s Cry

Last night, as I tucked my grandson into his favorite place to sleep in my house, on the chaise in my treehouse room, surrounded by the ferns and vines, with the window by his head open to the deck, I became aware of a rhythmic sound somewhere outside. It was something between a squeaky hinge and the cry of a small being, a child or an animal.

An hour later, as I went up to bed, I heard it again. It was so persistent, every second, as if on the exhalation of a breath. I often hear the sounds of the wild life coming down to the ponds to water, or some animal‘s cry as it meets a predatorial match, but this was different. There was no change in the tone or frequency. What was it? The question and the sound faded into the consciousness of sleep.

I awoke at four this morning as the persistent sound invaded my drowsy awareness. It was still going on. Now, I was sure that it was indeed some animal in distress. Not that the cry had changed, more that it had remained completely the same. Many thoughts of rescue flooded my mind. Should I go out with a flashlight and track down the source of the distress? How would I find it in the woods without endangering myself? Should I wear gloves in case it was frightened and would try to bite me? No, I would have to wait until the day began to brighten and I could go about the land without foolish risks.

I lay in bed listening and praying for the speedy demise of whatever was in pain. It was relentless in its cry and I could not shut it out. Then I began to hear a subtle waiver in the strength of the sound. Some of the force seemed to go out of it. After a while, my vigil was over and the darkness became silent. I began to open up the Reiki codes, as I do every morning when transitioning into waking consciousness. As I went through the positions, I was holding the healing for the suffering beings everywhere on this planet this morning.

May we all find peace today.

Prema Rose

Friday, August 22, 2008


“Do you want to give Jyoti a hug?” Chris said to his daughter Kai, almost three years old.

She came immediately over to me, small dollie dangling from her hand that I had just given her, and hugged my legs before I could bend down to embrace her.

Rather than change the moment, I just leaned over and kissed the top of her brown curls and whispered, “Maybe I’ll see you again if you and your family come to Colorado.”

She was still and quiet as she disengaged from the hug, and I began slowly to rub her back, gliding my hand up and down over her raspberry-colored shirt.

I was surprised when she didn’t move, with people all around us talking about the drive home they would have…she, her dad, and her mom, Sonya my granddaughter.

She remained still, allowing me to slowly touch her back, as if for a moment in time, she knew how deeply touched I was to meet her, my great granddaughter, for the first time.

Three months earlier I had met her mother for the first time, and now I was being visited by their whole family of three in southern California where I had come for just this occasion.

I was filled with feelings, suddenly tears just seeping into my eyes. I was surprised by all of it, and just kept up that slow movement as she allowed my touch.

And then it was over. A bustling of goodbyes, hugs and movement toward their car.

I stood there, feelings gently held, realizing the bonding that had just taken place, and grateful for it.

Her brown curls, so like her dad’s…so like my own…remain an image in my memory. Just like her sweet face!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Essay: I DO KNOW

I know that I know. I am tired of pretending that I don’t. I DO KNOW.

It has been easier in the past to get all twitter-pated and run around like a chicken with my head cut off; to wring my hands in despair and plead ignorance or innocence. It is not true. I DO KNOW.

I do believe in the existence of a Creator force ~ God/Goddess ~ the Great Mystery ~ call it what you will it makes no difference. I am not in charge but I am one walking/talking/participating member. I am never alone.

For years in my fumbling attempts at meditation I kept hearing the message, “Be still and know that I am God”. It helped me feel calmer but I always questioned, “Who is this ‘I’ … the deliverer of the message or am I truly created in the image of God like the good book says?” Weaving their east with my west.

In herb school we used to joke around that we would need to hear something 17 times before we actually got it. Well I guess I read the book, sat at the feet, and heard it again for the 17th time. I am now ready to acknowledge the truth. It is an on-line dialogue and the connection is always open. I get it.

Ask for guidance. Slow down. Take a breath. Reach inside. (Even as i write this i am concerned of the consequences of these brash declarations. Who is writing this? ) I pray for the strength to accept the responsibility.

I do know………
I know nothing……….
I am “I”.
I know.

* annette

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


My husband’s aorta had burst while he was backpacking in Yellowstone Park. It was dusk as he was trout fishing in a stream and had just caught a fish. He fell back into the water, but got up to release his fish, giving him life, both of them I think. The aneurysm had cut off the blood flow into his left leg, causing him to have to learn how to walk again. He was two weeks in Montana in intensive care and two weeks in Boulder in a rehab hospital. During the time he was rehabbing I went to visit a man who channeled Jonah, an ancient being with a thick accent. The man’s wife had to be present to help translate the thick accent. Nothing had been mentioned about my husband’s condition as he lay in the hospital, but Jonah picked up on a very old past life we had had together. My husband had been my physically deformed child in his left leg. To get around in his limited life, he held on to my left leg and I pulled him around. This was a huge dynamic we were still carrying out in this life, how I organized and kept this life flowing and moving for him. Jonah said profoundly, “this marriage was never meant to be permanent, if you stay married, you will both be dead in l0 years.” This was something I knew to be true on some deep level of my being, but feelings of low self-worth always negated them. I left the reading laughing and crying at the same time. I was laughing because my feelings had been validated and crying because I was also heartbroken.

I finally got the courage to end the marriage, the most difficult task I’ve ever had to do in this life. My husband died about l4 years after the reading, never truly understanding why I had had to leave.

Soon after that reading I had a bodywork session with one of the greats in our town. When I went in I had felt a twinge in my left lower abdomen, it persisted, until finally I mentioned it to the therapist. He asked me if he could put his hands on the area. As soon as he did I started seeing the past life of me pulling my husband, as a little boy, around with my left leg. Now understand, I had never experienced “seeing” a past life before myself. This one was so clear, I felt the torment and heartache of that life. The therapist went on to see a more complete picture of how my husband in that life had been my mother in this life. He had found out I had an affair with another man and stabbed me with a hook into my reproductive organs. Interestingly, in this lifetime I was given the trauma of being sexually abused in my early years as my mother was close by, in her ignorance, choosing not to see or protect me. Was this characteristic a carry-over, a still unconscious anger from long before.

Having the gift of becoming aware of this one particular past-life has been part of my unfolding as a whole person in present time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Memoir- Visits to the Land of Dementia - #1

Mary looks to be about 80 years old. She sits demurely in a corner wing-back chair. Her dark brown eyes peer at the other residents of the Memory Unit. She’s wearing her favorite yellow sweat suit.

I see that she’s fumbling with something in her hands and I kneel down beside her, to approach her on her level. She is playing with a green plastic ring, the kind you’d get inside of one of those little plastic globes from a gumball machine. She’s trying to get it on her ring finger—but it only fits her pinky and that’s not the right one.
“This isn’t the one I had. This one is too small.”

I realize that she’s missing her wedding & engagement rings. She must have worn them for over 50 years. Now they’re not on her familiar finger. Being new to the unit, I don’t know why or how long they’ve been gone. And she can’t tell me—she doesn’t remember. How many times do I play with and touch my own wedding & engagement rings, out of habit? It must be yet another empty gap in her life to not feel them on her finger.

I ask her if she was talking about her wedding rings, and show her mine to be sure that she gets the picture. As soon as she sees my rings she starts trying to get them off my finger.

“It’s mine—why do you have it?” she asks.
“No this is one is mine. My husband gave it to me. This one is mine.”
“I don’t care WHO gave it to you. It’s mine, take it off and give it to me.”

Her fierce yet feeble attempts to get my rings tear at my heart more than my fingers. Maybe her family removed the rings so that no one would steal them or they wouldn’t get lost. Or maybe they were already passed down the family, used to engage a new generation in marriage.

“I’ll try to find your ring for you.” I tell her. I disengage, getting her reinterested in the plastic ring for now. I want her to have a ring she can wear, that will feel like her wedding ring—but not mine!

by Terra

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Memoir: The Ballet

Memoir: The Ballet

Ever since can remember, I wanted to be in the theater. Not just sitting in a theater, but performing on the stage. My first love was, like so many little girls, with ballet. After I experienced the magic of the ballet, I lived only to dance. The sound of the orchestra warming up was so thrilling in the anticipation of the moment when all the instruments would harmonize together and the rhythm and cadence would swell into melody. The curtain and lights would go up and my life would be transformed.

One day, I was taken to an open class for the families of students at the American School of Ballet. (This is the school for the New York City Ballet). My sister was old enough to take class but I was not. One had to be eight years old so that the bones of the feet could develop well enough to dance. I remember sitting there, absorbing everything until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I knew I could do all the steps that they were doing and better. I jumped up and joined the class. The amazing thing was, they let me.

There was some discussion after the class and the next thing I knew was that the school was inviting me to join. I was in heaven. I started taking ballet lessons after regular school and I loved the atmosphere and smells of the locker room and the studios. I don’t think I was prepared for how much work it was, but it was work I loved. My teachers were very strict and our positions had to be perfect. We never complained.

There was one Russian teacher who was very stern. She was tall and thin with high flaring nostrils that, to my imagination, would breathe fire. I was scared of her but she was a good teacher. I remember having an occasional class with Maria Tallchief. She was magnificent. She was married to George Balanchine, the director of the NYC Ballet. I was totally in awe of her.

I would collect all the photo cards that Capezio would give out with the ballet shoes we bought. I had my favorites, like Suki Schorer, Maria Tallchief, Tanaquille LeClerq, and Margot Fontaine. My best-loved coloring books were of the different ballets and my dolls were Mme. Alexander ballerinas. I would choreograph scenes in my head whenever I listened to music.

Somewhere around ten years old, I became more enthralled with the idea of becoming an actress. I hadn’t taken as many classes at the ballet school and I didn’t understand why. Many years later, when I was in my twenties, I asked my parents what had happened. They said that I had been asked to join the junior company of the NYC Ballet, but they didn’t want my life to be totally absorbed by ballet, so they made me stop. All I knew was that there was this big hole in my life.

Then, one day, I came down to the very fancy lobby in the girl’s school I was attending and my mother was waiting for me. This was most unusual and I knew something was up. My governess always picked me up from school. We got into a taxi and she, very seriously, asked me if I really wanted to become an actress. I said that I did and we went for an interview with the principals of the King-Coit School. This was a prestigious multifaceted arts school for children. We had art classes, acting classes, and, joy of joys, ballet. There, my teacher was the incomparable Tanaquille LeClerq, the next wife of George Balanchine, until she contracted polio on tour in Europe and could never dance again. I attended this school for several years and we did an off-Broadway play for a week each year. We got off from regular school for that week, so it was quite special.

This early discipline in the ballet has served me all my life in many arenas and situations. There is a part of me that craves that kind of dedication. It has played itself out in my careers as an actress, a midwife, and my Spiritual path. I am so grateful for the training I received in those years.

Prema Rose

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Prose: The Many Pieces of No

It’s so hard for me to say NO to family. I vacillate back and forth in my mind. If I say no, she’ll feel this or he’ll feel that. Of course I can’t know how they will feel and it takes me away from myself to even contemplate what their reaction will be.
As women, a lot of us have been raised to be of service, to put others’ needs ahead of our own, to say yes to what others want of us.
It’s like a flow. The ‘no’ stops the flow and everyone involved has to rethink the situation because they were all expecting you to say yes.
When my daughter has asked me for something and I tell her I need to think it over, she can see me agonizing about what could happen if I say no, but don’t really want to say yes.
So she’ll stop me cold and say, “If you don’t want to do it, just say no, Mom.”
The first time she did that, I was taken by surprise.
“I can handle NO…I just need an answer,” she continued.
I looked at her and said,” Okay, no you can’t have that.”
I wasn’t only trying it out, it was how I really felt.
And then suddenly I remembered all those years when she and her brothers were young. I might be busy with something and ask one of them to bring me some water, or a book, or whatever I needed from another room or outside.
Sometimes they did and other times they told me no. They were involved or didn’t feel like getting up. I let them have their “no’s”…I let them have a choice and their own decision-making process. I didn’t always like their refusal, but I respected it and hauled myself up to get what I needed.
And suddenly, here was my daughter coaching me, giving back to me the ‘no’ I had made room for with her.
“It’s alright to say no, Mom.”
And now I’m learning how as well.

Friday, August 15, 2008


My spirit flew as I sat on the hood of my old Chevy Impala with my nine month daughter in my arms looking skyward, following the single engine airplane as it circled higher and higher. At one point the plane leveled out, flying straight into the sun then tipped it’s wings. This was the moment. I held my breath as six black dots fell out of the plane, free falling, speeding towards earth until I was sure they missed the mark. But they pulled their ripcords just at the right moment, blowing up into round parachutes looking like colored dandelions swinging in the breeze as they drifted down.

I loved watching the parachute jumpers from the Reese Air Force Base Jump Club as they floated down into the fields around the tiny airfield in Brownfield. They were my entertainment in this parched West Texas town. At home, I’d listen for the droning sound of the airplane making it’s way skyward and with a shout I’d drop what I was doing, gather up my daughter and fly out to the airfield.

I guess the soldiers figured me out so one day two of them came towards me introducing themselves and offered to teach me to jump and my heart jumped a beat. I couldn’t wait to get back and tell my husband and family that I was going to jump out of an airplane! But as life would have it, before my first lesson, the soldiers were transferred and we moved on. But I never lost that dream of jumping into the sky.

It was twenty-five years before I actually made that jump. Early one morning, not telling anyone, I drove to Loveland where I climbed into a single engine airplane with my jumpmaster. We flew up to 10,000 feet level where we looked level at Longs Peak. It was an incredible sight below my feet as I swung my legs out over the edge of the plane into cold thin air. My breath was sucked right down into my toes as I leapt into a freefall, the wind roaring in my ears. Whoa! What a rush! My mind couldn’t catch up to my falling body. Then, rip! I pulled the cord. The parachute opened with a jerk. I swung into pristine silence. Air came into my lungs with long slow breaths. Hanging in the quiet air I watched the earth gently rising to greet my newly discovered soul and I started laughing.


Thursday, August 14, 2008


Possibly it is because I have lived in rural areas for many years, and undoubtedly because, as 9 o’clock used to be the beginning of the evening, it is now a signal to get horizontal with a cup of tea and a good book to increase my chances of a great nights sleep. I am, therefore, rarely cruising my neighborhood at the darkest end of the day. So recently, when I happened to notice a young couple standing intimately huddled as far away as possible from the porch’s light, I could not help but grin. I drove home in the dark; my mind flooded with memories.

The way I remember it, if things went well, my date would walk me to my front door and we ended the evening with a kiss. Early fumbling, sometimes just a peck, and that horrific moment when I tilted my head the wrong way and my date actually “Frenched” my nostril. YUK! I suppose there are bound to be mess-ups as high school adolescents strive to win the race to carnal knowledge, in a more or less respectable manner, of course. Slutty in Sunday School clothes. I had many moments and several close calls, but there is one evening early in my dating career that I recall fondly.

I had accepted a date with Randy. He was a well muscled fellow who had been in several of my classes in high school. Randy was a jock; he played football and ran with the popular crowd although he was quieter and seemed shy. I do not remember where we went or what our date consisted of. At the end of the evening he walked me up to my front door. I am sure that my Dad had the porch light on. We kissed. He pulled me into him and kissed me harder. He had a pleasant enough face but rather thin lips. I did not have a ton of experience at this point in time and was eager to expand my limited knowledge.

He put his had behind my back and pulled me in even closer; we continued kissing. I remember wondering to myself why I had not noticed what a large belt buckle he was wearing. I was acutely aware of this buckle pressing into my flat tummy. After a respectable run at the make-out game, our embrace fell apart and we backed away from each other. Lips tingling, pulse elevated, insecurities smoldering, yet triumphant that this experiment had gone rather nicely. Blushing, we mumbled a few words and I turned to go inside. It was then that I glanced down … he wasn’t wearing a belt.

* annette

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Garden of Life

The martial artist needs better and more highly trained opponents in his journey toward becoming a master. It is the only way to test and refine his growing skill. The summer of 08 shaped up to be a formidable opponent to my garden. The number of moves Mother Nature threw my way deserves mention.

To start, spring came very late, as in June. We actually had snow and hail several times in May. Living at seven thousand feet plays a role in this but compared to the previous two years, when I was out and planting in April and definitely in May, it was rough to put off the excitement of spring till June. OK, maybe I squeezed in a few days in May but not more than three. Then in about the time it takes to have a long deep breath the heat arrived. Essentially no spring…winter into summer and not a normal summer. By mid-June we were in the nineties often and that didn’t really let up till Aug. This included almost no rain, which meant most things I planted did not make it. If it did make it there was the growing chipmunks that seem to have taken to dining on all things sedum. Something that normally could survive the heat and dryness but not the little mouths of chipmunks. Then there are the ravens that manage to kill all of the moss because those cute little chipmunks like to bury the birdseed they steal under it. The raven, stellar jays, and mourning doves all discovered the buried treasure and in the process of digging it up destroyed most of the moss that was settling in despite the heat and dryness.
The deer managed to clear out anything that was even thinking of blooming, like the lovely pine spiderworts, sunflowers, columbine and all things of color, like pansies. The pansies came back but so did the deer and gone in seconds what took weeks to grow. At least the deer brought her two fawns the second time and I had the pleasure to see them. Though at that moment I still hadn’t realized they’d eaten their way through the garden.

The fox who visits daily seems to tread lightly. She should be feasting on those chipmunks or squirrels but I’m not sure she got the hunting gene. She settles for birdseed as well and a long drink of water when needed. She’ll stay and visit, lying around while we eat dinner or even nibbling on my fingers. She brought her baby around last week, early one morning, which was a total shock because she is so tiny and skinny I would never have thought she was trying to feed anyone but herself.

The bear, which we’ve seen a lot this year, also manages to tread lightly. He’s more interested in hummingbird food, sunflower seeds and a spot of water occasionally. He stays on the small paths and rock steps as he moves through the garden, the largest of them all and the gentlest.

I guess Mother Nature wanted me to not be too attached to things. Maybe to roll with the changes she threw my way, to take note of what was there day in and out and to love all these beings sent to test my skill in the garden of life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Prose: Bon Secour

We’re driving down a two-lane road with thick trees and underbrush clinging heavily on both sides weighed with humidity. We come upon the small quaint community of Bon Secour. On the left is a white clapboard school trimmed in green, the Swift School it is called, being built in l920 with other buildings arranged beautifully on the property, with white picket fences. It is so well-kept we wonder if it’s a private school. Down the road is a brick Episcopal Church, also with some age to it. We pass an inviting seafood restaurant with yellow shutters and a large screened porch as part of its guest seating.

We’re headed to Billy’s Seafood down on the Bon Secour River to make our purchases. We pass an ancient oak tree with Spanish moss dripping off its limbs. Close by is a house, probably built in the l920s, now past its splendor. Its partially boarded up because of a hurricane, probably Ivan, that tore through the area a couple of years before Katrina.

There’s the river and the fishing boats and the old wooden fish house where we have come to buy some of the best seafood around. We walk in, my Mom, daughter Laura and I, taken aback by the sea scent for only a moment until we adjust. No air-conditioning, its all open with lots of fans. So many choices are laid out before us, so fresh. Do we want flounder, grouper, mahi-mahi, snapper, tilapia, sea bass, and many more I have never heard of before. And all kinds of shrimp, so many sizes. Since there are l2 of us we get carried away and keep adding another filet. We get enough shrimp to make a big salad, my Mom’s favorite. Although she prefers pickle and boiled egg in hers, I take my portion out before that is added. Mine only holds chopped celery, fresh dill, lime juice and a little mayo. It turned out to be the best shrimp ever.

I ask the “cute as pie” young man who waits on us at the fish market the meaning of Bon Secour. He didn’t know, but asked his boss, “Bon Secour means Good Harbour”, he said in his busyness. Satisfied , we start to leave, I always want linger, feeling I’m leaving behind a part of the Old South, a part that matters, that may vanish before I see it again.

My daughter and I both regretted not bringing our cameras.


Monday, August 11, 2008

TV Tradition

My Mother began her love affair with television when she was 18 years old. That was when she got lucky in a raffle and won the first TV set in her small Wisconsin town. “Everyone came over—no one else in Falun had even seen a TV before ours!”

My Grandma Johnson loved it too. When Mom married Dad a few years after her win, Grandma gave them money to furnish their new home with a new TV and she kept that original lucky TV. As a child, I remember many a day sitting with Grandma, watching game shows or movies. Our favorite TV snacks-- popcorn, grapes, and ice cream. Many years, and a generation of TV later, my Great-uncle Fred found Grandma sitting in her usual chair facing the TV, probably with a bowl of grapes next to her on the little side table. Was it Jeopardy that was on when he arrived? She had given up her spirit in the company of one of her TV shows. I can't help but wonder which one.

The TVs were different in those days. The screens were smaller. The picture was black and white. Far from being flat, they were deep. And there were these tubes inside, little elongated glass bubbles with wires looped around inside that wiggled with electricity. Sometimes they’d burn out and the TV wouldn’t work until they were replaced.

Mom still loves watching TV-- game shows, polka time at noon, and her daily dose of soap opera. "I just watch one soap." The TV is her constant companion, now that Dad is gone. Her hearing requires the volume up high, making conversation often a shout across the room. When there’s “nothing on” we might play solitaire or read with that “nothing on” chattering in the background.

I’ll admit, I do the same thing when I am at home all alone. Often times I use music or the radio rather than TV, but it’s a feeling of needing to fill up the air space. Sometimes it's easier for me to concentrate when there is background noise than when there’s absolute quiet. Is it a habit from that constant childhood TV, after all these years away? Or growing up in a large, busy family? Years past, I know that it was a way to avoid thoughts that would constantly whiz around in my mind if there wasn't some kind of distraction from my inner world. That's mostly gone now. For whatever reason, I carry on the family's TV tradition in my own way.

by Terra, visiting Mom in Minnesota

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Poem: YES!


May my hearty burst with gratitude
So that it overflows into every crevice of my life
Where complacency hides.
May all that I take for granted
Be bathed in the consciousness
Of this unique moment,
Shining through expectancy
To a realm of spontaneous aliveness.
Joy in being joyous,
Electric sparks that zing my awareness,
Into the promise of the possibility.
Yes! It shouts to my innermost core.
Yes! Again, and Yes!

Prema Rose

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Memoir: Song With Memory

‘In the Still of the Night’ takes me back to the Doo Wop music of the late 50’s and early 60’s, and dancing with David at the Seven Stars Dance Hall in Lakewood, N.J.

He wasn’t the only one I danced with. Roman was smooth in his dark trench coat and curly black hair. His younger brother, Ralph, always with a big smile and humor, loved the younger girls his own age and eventually married my younger sister’s best friend, Celie.

Johnny Grasso was all style, in clothes and dance moves and was out on the dance floor smiling and showing off with a crowd around him.

The Mash-Potatoes, the Bristol Stomp, the Cha Cha and the Pony, accompanied the Twist and the dances from Philly.

But the slow dances were like a bump-and-grind, slow sinuous dances that left little to the imagination. And then there was the Philly Glide. This one was my favorite slow dance and David could dance with the best of them.

It didn’t matter that I was five foot to his five foot/ten and a half inch frame. It didn’t matter that the dance floor was packed and everyone was sweating from hours of movement.

When ‘In the Still of the Night’ came on the record player at the disc jockey’s hands, David and I dropped our precious partners and met on the floor, ready to dance meaningfully while the singers crooned their harmonies and swept us away with their words.

The song inspired romance and young love…at sixteen, what else is there!


Friday, August 8, 2008


Last night we flew kites with our two grandchildren on the beach at Frankfort, Michigan where we are summering. We have been collecting bits and pieces of our childhoods like shells. I love watching my grandchildren play on the beach where my children played, and I in my turn and even my parents and their parents. Five generations of our families have made sandcastles, love and memories on this Lake Michigan sand. The magic is that we are still doing it. Over the years our families have scattered to the winds. Few of us come back anymore.

For me and Jim it has been our home base. We fell in love here under the shadow of the lighthouse at Pt. Betsie one long summer ago when we had no thought to fall in love. It just happened. We married and left to see the world living on five continents on our life’s journey. We would bring our family here to wiggle toes in the sand on common family ground from time to time.

I am happy that our children love this place as much as we do. I love that our little ones are sleeping with sandy feet in their beds under this northern Michigan sky.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Rock

I’ve packed up my little world, my car ready to go. I’m relaxing having my last cup of coffee in the oak covered canyon, next to the river, in Sedona. One last sit this early September morning. Listening to the river and birds he, my neighbor for the last week, comes over to say he wanted to share something with me for all I’d done for him. I guess the coffee and sewing pants was generous for him. We walk over to his table and he points to an old stainless steel pot and starts to tell me a long tale that happened about 25 years ago in Area 51. THE Area 51. Back in the seventies you could still sneak in by taking a long hike, climbing a fence and then some more hiking, so he did. After roaming around for a short while he hears someone call his name. He looks around and no one is there. He’s freaked out and figures “they” have caught him and are coming to get him. He hears his name called again and keeps looking around. He wonders what kind of technology they have that can know who he is. He hears someone say “Ron, over here.” He walks in that direction and all he can see is rocks and dry earth for a distance. He looks down to see a rock, the same one sitting in the pot, in front of us, as he’s telling me this story. He says to me “ I know this is crazy but the rock is talking to me.” He/It, the rock, tells Ron that he is an alien that has been put in the rock by some technology we, the U.S., now has because of the aliens. I’m listening. It sounds out there but I was raised by a mother where out there was close to normal, so I’m hanging in there with the story. He had a lot more information about the few interactions over the years. The rock insisted he take him that day and not leave him for who knows how long before someone else would come by. He tells me he is in Sedona to try and sell it so he can move to Costa Rica and live out his days alone so no one can bother him. He’s probably in his 50’s and living close to the edge.

I haven’t said much. I asked a few questions of which he always answered. I asked how many people knew about this he said only one other besides me, his cousin. I also asked if he asked the rock about being sold. “No” was his quick reply.

The conversation was winding up when he said “Are you ready to see this?” I thought I was already looking at it so I said “Sure”. He takes the rock out of the water and turns it over. There were two absolutely perfectly shaped eyes, exactly as you would draw them if you were making one of those alien pictures. Two perfect large almond shapes but in the purest of white crystal. I was speechless at how exact and perfectly formed. I’d never seen anything like this. He says “Pretty amazing, huh”. I pause and say “I think you should check in with him/the rock before you sell him. You are his caretaker and should be sure he ends up in good hands.” He turned the rock over and put it back in the pot. We said our good byes and I drove off thinking how amazing this world is. If I hadn’t seen the rock with my own eyes I would not have believed him. But I did believe him.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


One belief I have is that we are all born with a sacred wound. This wound may come from other lives, brought into this life by our Soul. Its something we haven’t gotten yet in the way of our biggest lesson. Most of us aren’t aware of our sacred wound. To become a whole person this wound needs to be healed. And for this it may take a lifetime or it may never happen, then to be carried to the next life.

Our different illnesses and crisis’ that present themselves through the years are to help us uncover this wound. Its easy to go into fear at these times and attempt to suppress the condition.

An awareness and an allowing of deeper parts of ourselves to come forth will carry us far in understanding this purpose and reason for being.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Musing: My Tree House Room

A Musing: My Tree House Room

It wasn’t enough to be living in a four person canvas tent, raised off the ground on a wooden platform, somewhere in a white pine forest on a lake in Vermont. No, I had to be sleeping beneath a tree. I would go out and find as large a branch as I could carry and fasten it with a belt to the head of my narrow bed. My camp counselor would quietly disappear it and I would find another. I don’t really know how long that went on before I tired of the dance and had to be satisfied with the pine, balsam, and birch trees surrounding the tent for my daily commune with nature as I awoke in the morning. The blaring revelry horn was too jarring to my senses. This was my daily entrance into the waking world for five summers.

I promised myself that I would someday have a tree house like Robinson Carusoe. That kept me though the long bleak winter days growing up in Manhattan. I was fortunate that I had plenty of time in nature, going for summers to wonderful beach towns, having weekends at friends’ houses in the country, but my longing for the pine forests and the lake water of Vermont always was a backdrop for my dreams.

So many years later, having lived in many beautiful places around the world, I found my way the mountains outside of Boulder. It drew me like a magnet and I knew I was home. The land had three ponds and a creek. My water haven! There were pine, blue spruce, and fir; cottonwoods and aspen; scrub maple, and lilacs. Yes! Behind the small stone house rose the hillside of forest up to the ridge of Sugarloaf. It was protected and surrounded by the loving arms of my Divine Mother, Giam.

The house transformed to a larger house, as rooms were added to accommodate all my children and the ancient wiring, insulation, and windows were replaced to afford a wrap around access to the surrounding trees and sky. My bed room was a small loft above the living room and my bed was nestled beneath a skylight made of panes of glass coming together in a somewhat pyramidal configuration. I could look into the sky and see the tops of the trees in the morning. Getting there… getting to my tree house room. When it rained, it leaked like a siv and we slept with bowls all around us. In the day the sun would cook us.

Then my husband moved on and I started a major renovation of popping up the roof and using the whole attic space to make a fully livable area. A clear story was a great design to give the height needed and let in the light. My loft expanded with windows on three sides of my bed. Now, I awake to the trees to the west where I am facing. There is a trapezoidal window in front of me. To my right, on the north side, are four windows in succession and one of them serves as a door to a deck. Then on the south side are the high up windows of the clear story, looking into the fifty foot tree tops and allowing the full moon to shine in. I have ivy vines growing around the windows and a wide variety of plants all around my bed. Now, I lie in bed in the morning, slowly bringing in the day, with my heart full of gratitude for my tree house room.
Prema Rose

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Memoir: Egg Cream

The sound of fizz squirting into a glass was loud in a quick burst. Some of the chocolate milk spilled over the sides, foaming into the drip pan as it was handed to me over the counter. I put a straw in it, eager for the first sip. My swivel seat started spinning to the left, and I grabbed the granite counter with one hand, my other hand firmly staying connected to the straw.

What a treat, an egg cream. Every once in a while my mother brought me and Kathy up to the candy store on the corner and we got this special soda. My parents didn’t like us drinking the bottled soda my grandfather always had, so these times were memorable.

The smell of that candy store, a mix of tobacco products, candy scents, newspaper aromas is still distinctive to me and catches me when I walk into a place like that even now.

After our egg cream was finished, we slid down from the stools and headed for the door. My mother grabbed Kathy’s hand and we prepared to cross Morris Ave. back to our side of the street toward our brick-fronted apartment house.

My mom stopped in at the drugstore on the corner to speak with the pharmacist. He knew all of us and gave us a friendly smile and wave, although his dark eyes behind the horn-rimmed glasses always looked so serious. After her brief chat we left, Kathy and I running ahead, skipping and laughing in the warm spring afternoon.

We dashed through the lengthy shadows cast by the apartment houses across the street, back into the sunlit edges.

My friends Melodye and Eleanore were there, each holding jump rope ends, waiting for me and the game we played every day. My mom hung out on the stoop talking with Joyce and Mary, my friends’ mothers, while we played rope, laughing and squealing, until dinner time.

Then we all disbanded to our separate homes for supper, homework and tv.


Friday, August 1, 2008


I love shoes.  But not the high-heeled fancy kind that city women wear.  I like comfortable practical shoes.  Since I was able to buy and choose my own shoes I have worn strange and wonderful shoes.


I was thirteen when I got my first pair of moccasins. My family had spent our summer vacation in Wyoming where I had acquired an exquisite pair of beaded moccasins. With my own money, thank you very much.   Buckskin leather with blue, white and purple beading across the top.  I was practically dancing on the bus to my new school.


I saved my new moccasins to wear on my first day of school.  I knew I was looking good.  There is nothing in the world quite so satisfying as wearing something you love AND that you have gotten by your own means.  Add to that the feeling of knowing that you look hot, hot, hot and there is nothing better especially when you are a ninth grader moving into your teen years. 


So there I was at Noon Dance Program on that first day a little shy but eager to meet all my new friends.  Some girls came over to talk to me.  Of course they noticed my footgear.  I was chatting comfortably when I noticed a group of the popular boys pointing and laughing at my feet.  I looked straight at them with my mouth hanging open.  My mind was a blur of surprise and shock.  I couldn’t believe how ridiculous they were laughing at my beautiful handmade moccasins.  For the first time in my short life had I experienced ignorance and I was fit to be tied.  Stamping my foot I turned my back on them. 


Looking back I am surprised at how firmly I stood my ground while being laughed at on my first day of school. During my school years I wore Birkenstocks, Apache boots, tire sandles and even good old lace up Oxfords.  I went through four years of high school with those boys and even dated a few of them but I never forgot my first experience with them and I never forgot how ignorance is so ignorant.