Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I want to start writing, daily, if only a few minutes, lines, words, concepts, a day. Just allowing the creative act, each day, with laying down a line, a thought, and moving on. Already the tide of thoughts this day has brought in a rich assortment of treasures. Many of which went right back out to the ocean because I didn’t write them down. The whole notion of picking up a thought, as I might a shell, looking it over to decide is this one to keep and work with, play with? And why one might seem more precious in that moment than another. Some feed us, not just as an object, but as an opening to a mini-world within. A room we’d never gone in and explored. We may have peeked in at one time or another but never really fully entered. A story or sentence or a few words can take you, let you enter, this place deep within your being.

Out of all the words, thoughts, and volumes of books out there all of a sudden one stops us long enough to reflect, to gaze at and with words it can pull us into it’s waves. We find that one “speaks to us”, nurtures, feeds, gives us something. What is it? Opening our minds, sometimes not as open as we’d like to think. Opening our hearts, our tender hearts that often have layers of protection. Words arrive, give insight, to open and free some part that had been waiting in the dark. The words turn on a light to illuminate that next thing that is up for us.

When I went to my first Opera in L.A., Pucini’s Madame Butterfly, for two days afterwards cells in my body were still enlivened, awakened. I remember leaving feeling like someone fed me something I’d never had. Words can do this too, if we create the space to receive them. If we really receive their voice it may waken our own. So that treasure that washes up to the shore of our being can inspire our own treasures. Waiting silently within to be discovered and uncovered. Maybe it’s a ray of sunlight piercing through the clouds to land on a speck of ocean and sparkle. Just there for that moment to bring beauty through to you. To behold and let go. We can’t hold onto the treasures, it is in the receiving and letting go that we come to find something.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Write...

I write because I can’t not write. These words and stories have been living in my nervous system for years, maybe even some came in with me.

During later childhood years, I attempted a more formal style, on a huge black and gold Underwood typewriter.

High School brought Journalism club after school for a semester, then boys and phone calls took over.

Five children and their care left only stolen moments over a span of forty years, a poem here, an essay there, a journal entry on the fly.

Then that aspect of my life tapered down. I could devote chunks of time for a newsletter which carried me through the last decade of living with teenagers and their early college life. That quarterly epistle gave me room for poetry, editorials, and book reviews. My creative juices remained alive.

Now, however, I write because I have the mental space to think my own thoughts. I’m not completely immersed in covering someone else’s life-needs. My mind is my own and I even have time to put these thoughts onto paper.

So I write because I can, because it’s my passion that has long been held in abeyance to other life processes. I write because it is my way of creating, my expression of truth, and it’s such a simple way of sharing who I am.


Monday, December 29, 2008

My Life of the 2nd Chakra

Conceived outside the sanction of marriage, I grew to play hidden childhood games where I said “Uncle” and surrendered to his sexual domination. At college I replayed that scenario with the professor, who lied so he could stain his sheets with the remainder of my innocence. After that I replayed again & again, as I mistook my womb for my heart, my orgasm for love, and my yoni for my self worth.

Finally, I married for convenience. I conceived, carried and gave birth to my son. When I looked into his eyes, I knew love. When I birthed him in the middle of friends, in the middle of my bedroom, I knew that the power of the womb, and my own power, went beyond thrills and sparks. It was the power to create and nurture someone of substance.

From there I midwifed babies and mothers, serving the 2nd chakra by proving this power again & again to myself and the world. I was baptized again & again with amniotic fluid and birth blood, until I was full of birth. Then I could stop and sleep again.

Continuing my service to the 2nd chakra, I massaged and prayed women’s wombs and ovaries back to life and back into place, in their bodies and in the world. There. That feels complete.

What can I do for the 2nd Chakra now that this body no longer eggs & bleeds and my penance is done? I give birth through the mysterious womb of words. I affirm women's creativity beyond the body.

-By Terra Rafael

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Giving

Another Christmas come and gone,

Another year’s exhausting fun,

Unwrapping love in every gift,

A time for mending any rift,

We join our voices in a song,

And blend our laughter all day long,

The perfect day to celebrate,

And head down to the pond to skate,

A table full for all to eat

And life tonight is truly sweet.

Good friends and family all around,

Good cheer and smiles all abound,

The elves have done amazing work.

Without them, I’d have gone bezerk.

Let’s hold the joy of Christmas giving

Into each day that we are living.

Prema Rose

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Listening for Water

On these low-temp Colorado freezing nites,
with minus figures at dinnertime,
and the wind chill taking us further
into arctic chill,
I wake in the night to my own inner alarm,
listening for water.
Listening for the continuous drip
from kitchen and bathroom faucets.
If I do not hear the water dropping itself
into sinks, I am on the run,
from one place to another,
to make sure ice hasn’t formed
in the pipes for they will break
and flood.
I listen for water through my sleep.


Friday, December 26, 2008

The Last Present

Last night after the festivities were over, the last piece of pie tucked into my little grandson’s tummy, and he tucked into bed with his sister, I walked through the house enjoying the sweetness that comes after a day of festivities and celebration. The menorah candles had long since burned out. The tree lights were glowing out into the street.

Taking my cup of tea I sank into a cushion under the tree to let the magic seep into my memory bank. It was then that I saw a present patiently waiting way behind the tree. How had it been missed? I picked it up turning it in my hand. The recycled tissue paper with its wrinkles give it a new texture and quality. It had reached the stage of paper-thin softness that is lovely to the touch but ever so delicate. There is one person I know who will smooth and use tissue paper four or five times; Janet, my sister-in-law.

Opening the note I read, “This vest Mrs Montigel knit for me in the early 60’s. Wondered if you could use the yarn.”

I held it up to have a look. A lovely sage green with an open knit pattern every fifth row, it was in perfect shape. There no holes, snags or signs of wear although I am sure Janet wore it often savoring the care worked into every stitch.

The beautifully crafted vest brought a flood of memories. We grew up in a small town where Mrs. Montigel taught English literature in our high school. I smiled remembering her class. When I get together with high school friends on rare occasions today, her name will pop into the conversation, usually in the form of a quote from Shakespere, Dickens, Wordsworth, Coleridge or Johnson. It is surprising how we still know the figures of speech with examples to go with each one… “furrows, followed, free… alliteration.

In our ignorant sixteen year old ways even as we mocked her she was well loved. And, she loved us one and all. She opened doors to worlds beyond the shores of our reluctant minds, demanding that we go into the green fields of the Lake Country, Robert Burns’ Scotland and into the “best of times and the worst of times.” She really cared that we learn something to take beyond the school doors. She triumphed as she pushed us into our better selves for she believed in the goodness of all humans.

Thank you, Janet. I don’t think I will use the yarn but I will hang this vest in my studio to remind me to craft a little special care and love into my weavings.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Memory

My sister and I were talking on the phone this past week and she reminded me of a long ago Christmas. My son was little, about 4 years old. Like many little kids he thought he didn’t like vegetables, but he loved canned Creamed Corn. It wasn’t my favorite but it was easy and I served it a lot.

Travel back to Kansas City, 1987. We are in my parent’s family room gathered around the Christmas tree decorated with the fluttering bubble lights and my Mom’s red Cardinal bird lights. Including my son, we had three small children who were very excited about opening their presents. We adults sat around the perimeter watching and adoring our children as they played with empty boxes, colored paper and curly ribbon. My son held up one of his presents, I nodded and he began to open it. I had wrapped it myself and was anxious to see his reaction. I had wrapped some little toy in pretty paper and then placed it inside an empty can of cream corn; then I wrapped the can and curled the ribbon. Maybe I was secretly hoping that a sense of humor could be groomed and nurtured through the years. Anyway, he pulled off the paper and held the can up excitedly. He exclaimed sincerely, “I love it …. it’s just what I always wanted”. And he meant it. He was adorable, his soft blond curly hair and his happy little round face.

We all clapped our hands and shared his joy. I was grinning from ear to ear as I told him to keep looking, there may be more in there. I have no idea what was in that can but I’m sure he loved it as well. A beautiful little cherub.

Now here is my sister telling me that she felt so sorry for him that morning. I was incredulous. “Why?” I squeaked. I remember the day with profound fondness. It was a wondrous morning; our children were young, beautiful and full of promise. Every bulb was lit. Life was sweet and innocent.

“Because he was so excited over a can of vegetables.”

“He was four. And he loved cream corn!” I should have challenged her further, “What else do you remember from that day?” Because I must admit, after all these years all I remember is that silly can of cream corn.

I grin as I place a sweet little cowgirl angel ornament swaddled in tissue paper, inside an empty box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. It is just the right size container, and now ready to be wrapped.

* annette

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This day
   as I reach beyond the busyness and buying
I find
   God's hand
holding us 
   in all we do

Right there
   providing each breath
allowing us the comfort of our distractions
   ever listening to our thoughts
Being as the porous sand
   absorbing our doing and running around

   silently, with patient expectancy,
for our hand
   to reach

To provide 
   the ingredient
of allowing the alchemy 
   of the birth of Christ


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prose - Laura's Fortieth Birthday

My Mom and I were out walking the neighborhood in search of sage for her Thanksgiving stuffing. I knew Steve had a plant. He lived in our first house in the neighborhood, also moving here from Atlanta, an architect, he has done a lot of renovating at 2207 Mapleton. So, here we were picking away, I was only picking one leaf at a time, when Steve drives up. Caught in the action! As he gets out of his car he says, “you don’t want to pick from that side, that’s been peed on by the dogs”. He proceeds to break off a big chunk of sage from the back of the plant, away from the sidewalk. Steve invites us into the courtyard, to show my Mom some of the changes he’s made in the yard. Suddenly, he stoops down, picking up a brick.
“I have something here I think belongs to your family.”
The brick is broken in half, but putting it together we see DAD!, carved into the brick with an exclamation point. Jennifer was sure she hadn’t done it. We had moved from that house in 1976, when Laura was only seven. We didn’t think she would have had the strength to carve a brick at such a young age. It would have been just like Bill to have carved it himself. But, truth be told, I’m sure the brick was carved before our family moved there. Steve puts the two halves in a bag and passes it on to me. I said, “Laura had just told me she wanted something sentimental for her fortieth birthday”. My” baby” was flying to Denver to celebrate with her girlfriends. Quite an adventure for her to leave her three kids and husband, fly to Denver and stay in a hotel with her three girlfriends.
A few nights before Laura arrived, I became aware of her Dad’s presence. I burst into tears, and said, “you should be with us now to help celebrate our daughter’s fortieth year. I don’t want to do this by myself, this should be shared.
I attempt to glue the brick together, it seemed to work. I find our most beautiful gift bag, line it with tissue and gently put the brick in the bag.
As I hand the bag to my lovely daughter across the table at the restaurant where we are celebrating her birthday lunch, she says, “it feels like a brick”. Laura is my most outwardly feeling daughter. She had already cried when we sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She said she usually cries when singing to her children. I said, “yes, it is a very sad song”.
She reaches down into the bag, looking down, she exclaims, “it is a brick”, as she pulls out one half at a time and puts them together. The tears begin as I tell her where the brick came from. She gets up, comes around the table to embrace me. I tell her about her Dad’s visit, holding her in my arms I feel her sobs move through her entire being. This was a movement of energy that I’m sure was felt all around the table, to all the other seven family members and friends. The greatest of this energy was especially shared by the four of us, the original family, with Bill looping the thread.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice Wedding Vows

In honor of our Anniversary of Marrying, Victor & Terra, Winter Solstice, 2004-
My wedding vows-

This is what I hope for with you~
To create a relationship together~
Renewable, sustainable
In tune with Nature & our inner natures~

~Powered by the simple daily light & breath & warmth of love
~Watered by the wellspring of our faith
~Grounded in the good earth of our shared knowledge & wisdom
~Sheltered in the spacious home of our mutual respect & meditation practice
~Purified by our awareness to be untainted by past hurts or future fears
~Heated by our passion for each other & for life
~Cooled by the freshness of our happiness & laughter
~Fed by our openness to what can grow when we cultivate goodness in our lives
~ And conserved by continual appreciation & gratitude for our good fortune.

by Terra Rafael

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Most Memorable Christmas

It was the day before Christmas, 1964. I had been auditioning for a new Broadway musical, “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd”. It was written by and starring Anthony Newly. His co –star was Cyril Richard, who was one of the first famous actors that I remember meeting, when he played Captain Hook in “Peter Pan”. He was a friend of my mother’s.
I had been called back to audition again and again for the part of an Urchin and understudy to the Kid. My audition song was, “I’ve Gotta Crow” from “Peter Pan”. That day I had decided to go to my acting class with Lee Strasberg. Those were the days when there were no answering machines or cell phones. I had been waiting by the phone for news of the producers decision for days, and I was sick of it. Off I went to class with a certain amount of trepidation and , at that point, surrender that I had not gotten the part. After the class, I called David Merrick’s office.
“Where have you been? We’ve been trying to track you down all morning!”, said the voice on the other end of the line.”Get in here immediately.”
I raced over to the rehearsal studio where they had begun rehearsals that day. Still, they took me to another room and had me sing again. Then, I was sent down to the studio with the musical director and he stopped the rehearsal to have me go through my scales. (I had a three- octave range). This was interminable. Then I sat and waited….
Finally, the musical director said, “Well, you’d better start learning the songs.”
I was in! I was ecstatic! They brought me the contracts and the rehearsal schedule.
That night, my mother was having a Christmas Eve party and did I ever celebrate! This was the most wonderful Christmas ever.

Prema Rose

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Christmas Story

“Are there any books on ships where you’re looking,” I asked the middle-aged woman sitting on the floor of the Bookworm’s children’s section.
“No,” she replied. “These are all animal books. I’m looking for books on different animals for a little girl.”
“And I’m looking for books on ships and caves for a little boy who’s six,” I said. I explained that I had taken two ornaments from the giving tree in King Soopers. One was for a little girl who wanted ‘Dora’. I was able to purchase a doll and coloring book, keeping to the agreement to spend under $20. And the boy wanted picture books of ships and caves and also bugs, which I had found the day before.
But for the better part of two days, I had been to every book store in the area, looking for books on ships and caves, to fulfill his Christmas wish.
Nothing had turned up and I was getting discouraged. I felt that this request of his was probably the bulk of his Christmas, or maybe the whole of it.
So I had been diligent.
As I was driving across town, disappointed once again after visiting another local bookstore’s children’s and adult sections, I suddenly flashed on the Bookworm. I’m an old friend of the store and the woman who began it long ago. It’s a favorite haunt of mine. However, I hadn’t wanted to buy a used book for this child, yet I was at my wit’s end.
So here I was talking to this woman. I had just found the only children’s book on ships in the city of Boulder, in mint condition, but as she and I were speaking, I found two picture books on caves. I had hit the jackpot!
She relayed to me that the books she was looking for were for a little girl who had also requested them through an agency. She was one of three requests this woman had taken on. A moment of real understanding passed between us.
After thanking her for our conversation and feeling like I had just met a kindred spirit, I went up to the front counter to ask where the adult ‘ship’ section might be.
In through the door came a young woman and her three year old daughter, who was saying she wanted Dora books. The store clerk directed them to the children’s section as she led me to the shelves where I might find another book on boats.
Not finding anything else, I went back to the register to purchase what I had found for this little boy. En route, I heard squeals of joy and told the woman behind the counter that the young girl must have found the Dora books.
In the next minute, she laid the two books on the counter with relish. I smiled at her enthusiasm and her mom told her they needed to wait in line, as I was not done yet.
Her mom spoke up as told the clerk, “Put this woman’s books on my account.”
I turned and stared at her.
“I have so much credit. Please, I’d like to pay for them.”
“Thank you,” I managed and told her what these books were for.
“Even better,” she said as a wide smile played across her face.
“You’re sure?” I questioned.
“Absolutely,” she said.
When the books totaled $20. (because I had also found a book on a rescued dog for my sister) I raised an eyebrow at her and she nodded.
I was so grateful, so moved. My heart was full as I left the store, thanking her one last time. This was my Christmas Story. What a generous heart!

Friday, December 19, 2008

In the Land of Crows

Your black, iridescent
shiny feathers
glisten in the sunlight
as you swoop out
of the heavens,
as low as my car,
to greet me,
and wish me well.

Your brother
once sang me
a good morning song
down in the southlands
where sage draws
desert waters
for its juice
and blue skies
surround my brain.

I’m glad I live
in the land of crows.
Their wingspan
reminds me
how far I can reach out,
side to side,
because I have more room
to move
than in the land
of smaller birds.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Part 3 OF 3: Things I Learned From The 2006 Blizzard.

1) How to give a dog an insulin shot.

2) How quickly grocery stores run out of food.
Wednesday and Thursday our TV was non-stop coverage of the snow storm that was camping out over Colorado. It was kind of boring and yet fascinating at the same time. I started to hear stories of grocery stores with no food and no gas at the filling stations because delivery trucks could not get in. I didn’t leave my property till Saturday. I went to the grocery store to see for myself what my tiny world looked like and to get things for our Christmas eve party. The parking lot at our new King Soopers store in Firestone was a mess and inside it looked like a third world country. The shelves were empty. The only onions left were organic ~ no problem there. There were no potatoes, very little bread, no milk and no eggs. There were canned goods but they were very picked over. I got what I could and was thankful for it. In only four days our lives had been seriously impacted. What if it had been worse? I had a teeny weenie idea of what the folks in Seattle had been going through, and an even deeper empathy for the Katrina victims.

I think it is very important for us to realize that our government cannot take care of us in a state of emergency. They can’t ~ it ain’t gonna happen. Forget about it. WE MUST LEARN TO BE SELF SUFFICIENT. Start today. Therefore…..

#4) I brought my gas barbeque grill around to the front porch which is covered and provides more protection. On it I can heat water or cook a meal if the electricity goes out. I exchanged my spare(empty) propane tank for a full one.

#5) I stashed a dozen long burning candles (heat and light) and those large bottled water containers that I like to take camping. If I don’t need them this winter, I can use them next summer. I have boxes of matches in several places in my house and I can find all of them in the dark. I have enough food for weeks and a hand held can opener.

#6) Question. Where does my water come from? Or more specifically, what would happen if my electricity went out in one of these storms? I have a well and domestic water. I need to find out how they work. I made some phone calls.
Answer. The well will lose pressure if the electricity goes off, but the domestic water should still be okay. Leaving one faucet open with a very slow drip will help keep water lines from freezing up.

#7) Taking action combats fear; so does Knowing things.

#8) Paying a farmer with a front end loader to remove 4 feet of crusted snow drifts from my parking area was money well spent. Now I can shovel out my car.

PS. About 18 friends and neighbors made it to our Christmas Eve party that year and we celebrated !!

* annette

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ticket to Anywhere

I was so busy throwing out what was not coming to the new place and cleaning up after the garage sale, I didn’t notice I threw out something of value. Early the next morning, as I sat meditating, slowly slipping into the quiet of a California morning, it pops into my head, a special delivery from the universe, “You threw out the ticket.” It was difficult to sit much longer as the realization sunk in. It was a Sunday morning, there would not have been a trash pick up, "Maybe it won’t be too hard to find." I console myself. I throw on some old sweats, head across the concrete center area that all the apartments faced into, down the outdoor steps that lead to the parking area and open the lid to the dumpster. Two things strike me, mounds of garbage and a homeless person obviously beat me to the bin and opened bags with a different treasure in mind. It added flavor to the task ahead I tell myself. I decide I need a tool for the job. A broom, something with a long handle to push things around, I’m still in denial that the only way I have a shot at this needle in the haystack is to get in the dumpster. I figure out the inevitable in short order, climb up and jump in. I’m thinking I’m lucky it’s Sunday morning, really early, and maybe I get out of this with no one seeing me. I spend an hour emptying bags, searching through papers, avoiding food scraps and other yucky things with no luck. My landlord walks by looking like maybe he won’t be sorry I’m leaving by the end of the day. I try to explain but he’s clearly not interested. I go back to the work at hand. He comes back a few minutes later, doesn’t say a word but hands me some work gloves. A couple of other neighbors head to the cars with a wise crack directed my way. I’m busy, raking, sorting, and searching. It is well over an hour and I’m beginning to wonder. At first I had no doubt I’d find the ticket. After all this time I’m beginning to wonder if it is worth my time. I take a coffee break. I return. As I’m approaching two hours, with thoughts of all I have to do this day, I have a realization. “How perfect is this. I spend my last day in this place going through the garbage." It was a clear picture, a wrap up, of what I’d spent the last five years doing while I lived here. This is where I’d gone through my emotional trash, all the stuff you don’t want to look at. I’d stood in the middle of it, sorted and cried and released and now I’d “bought a ticket” out of here into a beautiful guest house with no shared walls and more importantly, no one above me. Just then I find the ticket, an airline ticket I could use to go anywhere. The full impact of the insight, the snap shot of what these years where about, in a morning's search settles in. I see the perfection of my throwing out the ticket, my mornings search and the last five years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Prose - Bicycling in Ireland Part III

Getting off the train in Dublin and riding the North Circle Road through town and out to an area Mary had recommended was quite easy. We rode along the Bay area finding a cheerful B & B run by Mrs. O’Driscoll. She was a small, prissy, busy and affectionate lady that called everyone “lovey”. On our arrival she brought us sherry to our room. We stayed with her for four nights. The breakfasts were good, always the same, a poached egg and then she would bring in hot homemade bread, which I always proceeded to devour. It was easy catching the bus into town. But dealing with the big city, all the people and running out of money, started to get depressing.
Some of our best times in Dublin were our bicycle rides to the Botanical Gardens, the zoo and Phoenix Park. Another day we rode our bikes out to Howth, a small exclusive harbor town west of Dublin. A play was seen one evening at the Abbey Theatre, The Silver Dollar Boys. It was all about boys growing up in a Catholic school being taught by the Brothers.
Especially in Dublin, it was also depressing for me because there were so many children. Lots and lots of children, everywhere. At that time the Irish economy was very low. I could not help feeling anger toward the Catholic church and what they had created in Ireland by not endorsing birth control. There were no jobs for these children when they got older. They would have to leave the island to survive.
Our economy was failing also. We had to wire home for money twice. What could we say? We were spending most of our money on food, that’s the main theme when you are on a bicycle. To make matters worse, this was before we had credit cards. This was l981, we were discovering the rest of the world was operating on credit cards. We hadn’t gone there yet. It was disheartening. As we were getting quite low on funds, our only choice was to go back to England and Gatwick airport to see if we could leave three days early.
So, off we go, riding our bicycles south out of Dublin to catch the ferry at Don Laoghaire.
It was a beautiful day along the coast, helping our spirits. We have a few hours to spend in this seaside port before the ferry arrives.
After touring the sunny town, there’s time to contemplate the trip thus far. I do love this country and its beauty. And, there were times that if I heard another Irishman end a sentence on an up- note, I would scream. They all do, its just part of the accent. But it gets even higher and louder when the voice holds tones of alcohol.
The ferry ride was much more pleasant going back to England. We did attempt to sleep on the train, since we were going to be riding our bicycles through London at 4:00 A.M.
Arriving at Gatwick, hassling with the ticket agents, we discover we cannot get out until the time we had scheduled. Oh my god, three days at Gatwick airport! The best part of this horrifying news was, its probably the only airport in the world that has long velvet-like sofas. I’ve checked in every airport I’ve been in since then, I have found no long velvet sofas yet. They were just about perfect for sleeping, except of course for the noise, the loudspeaker and all that goes on in an airport. But we managed to find where the more private and quieter sofas were located throughout Gatwick. Several times we would go on long walks in the countryside away from the airport. Our bicycles were already packed up. What a way to end a trip. And neither of us gained a pound from all that eating.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Happiest Moment of the Day

This day was full of different kinds of happiness. I was self publishing a book all morning, so excitedly that I forgot about getting dressed and eating. The computer was the altar of my word magic. That was a happiness.

Completing my womanhood ritual tattoo- acknowledging deeply into my skin that I am now a baby crone - that was a happiness. Doing it with my daughter, who got her own symbol tattooed onto her hip- that was another happiness. Sharing that pain, she told me, when it was my turn, “Relax Mom, just breathe,” as I had coached so many women in childbirth so many years. That was a happiness.

Coming home to a brilliant and warmly colored room-yet another happiness. My sweet husband was in a painting- the- walls- frenzy-- of course, only after ever so carefully preparing the edges with blue masking tape and draping the floor with protective drop cloths. That was a happiness.

Yet the happiest moment of all was after we dropped exhaustedly into bed together. And in the middle of the dark, in the middle of the night I heard him quietly whisper to me, as if it were a precious mantra he repeats even in his sleep, “I love you.”

--by Terra Rafael

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Love Born In The Night

Holding the hush in the depths of the dark,
In the cave of the heart
Is lit a spark.
Slowly and gently emerges a glow
Of a love that ‘s so precious,
And on it will flow
Into a world where troubles abound,
Into the prayers
Where sorrows are found.
Into the whispers
Of those lost in fear,
Into embraces
Of those we hold dear.
Into the dark
And the dread of unknown,
Into the hopelessness,
Then we are shown
That which is always and ever right here,
That which illumines
And makes life quite clear.
We open our eyes to the innermost light
We open our hearts to a world of delight.
Call it Solstice, or Christmas,
Channuka, or Kwanza,
The power is Sacred,
It all is Allah.
And so go within
And receive the great gift
Of a heart born in Love.
We welcome the shift,
We come to the dark of the year
Bearing light
Of the luminous love
Born in us in the night.

Prema Rose

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prose: A Question

The horror stories were always plentiful…strokes, uncontrollable visions and delusions, being committed and dealing with people who really were around the bend.
It made me fearful of deep meditation, and yet I always did it. There were books on the premature rise of kundalini energy, that serpent of knowledge that lies sleeping at the base of the spine. I knew that people who forced it through breathing techniques couldn’t always cope with the results.
In my early days of yoga and meditation practice, I was firm but gentle with myself. Hatha yoga asanas were followed by meditation every morning after the boys went off to school.
I began to follow the images I had seen of the Human/Divine Man. I raised my awareness plane by plane…etheric, astral, mental, Buddhic, Nirvanic, Monadic, Godhead. I didn’t think about kundalini a whole lot, just sat quiet each morning and watched the riot of thoughts flitting through, some taking me off on a storyline until I could see it and bring it back.
This thought about kundalini arose this morning in the meditation I continue to do, now about forty years later. There is still that image of being swept away on a tide of energy and lost to the world as I’ve lived it, with friends, children, etc.
It causes me to look at my life and wonder if I could have done it differently, which is a curiosity in itself. To ponder the road not taken isn’t logical. The path I’ve walked was self-chosen, moment by moment, and doesn’t really need second-guessing.
Yet the question remains…why continue to meditate if raising kundalini energy would be a possibility and is scary. My only response now is that my meditation every morning reminds me of who I really am, renews my connection to the Divine and allows me the grace and peace of all of that. Then as the day calls, I’m more ready to deal with day-to-day life.
Perhaps over this lifetime of many years of meditation, taking it slow and not pushing the practice, I’m clearing away, bit by bit, those things, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, that would get in the way of this energy slowly rising itself through my chakras. If so, then the results would reflect wisdom not insanity.
Yet I also know I’m not done with this question.

Friday, December 12, 2008

There Was A Day

There was a day,
A golden day,
With sunlight dripping
Into a pool of blue.

Floating on the ocean of grass
We tasted buds of daffodils
Drifting from the moon.

Then we sailed ‘cross the mountains
Over the Great Divide
Into the Land of Trees.

There was a day,
A golden day.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blizzard of 2006 ~ Day 2.

continued from last week ….. The following is a journal entry from my first winter in my little farm house:

Thursday, December 21.
By the dim light of morning, still snowing, I surveyed my surroundings. The entire front end of Idgey, my Honda buddy, had disappeared up to middle of her windshield. There were three and four foot snow drifts, scalloped canyons and avalanche lips created by various trucks, horse trailers and storage sheds, wrapped around patches of bare dirt swept clean by the same winds that had sculpted the drifts. I was afraid that I might not be able to get out of the house and was amazed to find that the wind had whipped the snow right around my back door and the small patio was completely clear. Right in the middle of my large parking area, there was a crescent moon shaped patch of gravel with not a speck of snow on it.

But there are horses to feed!! I pulled my hooded sweatshirt down over my turtle neck and flannel shirt and pulled my thrift store snow-boarder pants up over my heavy sweat pants. I stepped into my knee high Muck boots, put on my old barn coat and wrapped a hooded scarf around my face. I opened the back door and let the dogs out ~ they were ecstatic. I, however, couldn’t keep my eyes open as the wind shot snow bullets straight into my eyeballs. Turning back into the house I grabbed an old fashioned pair of motorcycle goggles. I had almost put them into the garage sale box but was thankful to have them today. I stepped back outside and appraised the situation. The sidewalk leading out to the hay filled pole barn was buried under the same waist high snow drift which contained my car.

I followed the same route that I found last night in the middle of the storm. Heading west around a chiseled drift and past my propane tank, I crawled over the fence in the corner of the pen where my boarder horses live. I had put out a bale of hay last night and Joseph had asked me to put out another bale this morning. Digging out a hot-wire gate that was partially buried in a snow drift to access their hay storage shed, I wondered for a second whether or not the snow would negate or enhance the hot wire charge. Hummm? Now dropping into my horse pen, I saw how the north wind had whipped the snow over my pole barn and left an open area to the south. None of horses were standing in their shelter (?) but they were all out of the wind, so to speak. I opened another gate, walked through to my hay stash and grabbed large flakes of alfalfa and grass hay. I rubbed on each of the horses and little Celia, the donkey, even though they completely ignored me as they buried their heads in their breakfast. Every animal was accounted for and looked good. Assuming that staying warm in a blizzard must take a tremendous amount of energy I set out a double ration of feed. I was thankful to see that the wind had carved a canyon around the back of Joseph’s shed which allowed my horses easy access to their water trough. I walked through the canyon myself to make sure that the heater coil in the water tank was working ~ and it was.

Retracing my footsteps over fences and around snow drifts I headed back to my new sweet little house with heat, electricity and running water! Although I was already thinking of hot coffee and a sturdy breakfast, I was acutely aware of the need to be very careful. One wrong step ~ if for any reason I didn’t make it back inside the house ~ I would be a human popsicle before anyone found me.
Whew! Made it! Life is good!!!!!!

* annette

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Seeping In

This quote from Thomas Merton; "The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God." arrived by email today. It slid inside my being and helped flip the switch from all I'm always thinking I have to do to pause and receive its succor. I can take that minute and remember "I am loved" and things seem to change. I don't feel as rushed. I can find a way to let these words seep deeper inside like a soft rain working it's way into the land. It will initially roll over the dry places and look for the cracks to work its way in. It doesn't fight its way in but in its persistence and pursuit is its essence of gentleness. As it continues hours later even the hard stuff softens. Just letting in what is always there till there is no difference between me and the love. All in a day's work.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bicycling in Ireland Part II

We stay in Limerick an extra day because of the dreary rain. The Fallon twins, from Boulder, recommended we see Bunratty Castle. It was also a good time to wash clothes.

We take a bus to the castle. Quickly, we become engrossed with this beautiful area where this very primitive castle has lived since ll00. In every bedroom there was some kind of painting of Adam and Eve in temptation. What a passionate people, I thought. Seemingly, so much more than the English. Pictures are taken from the top of the castle overlooking the River Shannon and all the glorious green as the day opened up into welcoming sunshine. We hope the pictures of this amazing castle will turn out to share with our daughters. We were delighted to see so many different mushrooms abundant in the park around the castle.

Leaving Limerick we head for Gort and our first fifty mile biking day, surprising ourselves even in the pouring rain. We stop at the first B & B, Mrs. Diveney’s.
She shows us to an already warm bedroom filled with beautiful antiques. Usually, to get warm after biking, especially in the rain, we would have to get in bed and huddle together with all the covers available. Or create our own passionate heat. But this day, already enjoying our warm room, Mrs Diveney invites us down to the fire, a real “turf” fire in the dining room. This is cultivated as an age-old form of heat made from peat and cut into brick-like shapes. As we’re warming ourselves even further by the fire, which has its own unique scent, another guest arrives. This is a woman on sabbatical in Dublin doing research on James Joyce and his women. One of the main reasons for being in Ireland was Bill’s passion for Irish literature.
Also at Mrs Diveney’s, I finally figure out how to use a bidet, very comfy and refreshing.
Why haven’t we brought over more of the wisdom and sensibilities from the Old Country?
As we leave Gort, we head for WB Yeats Tower – Thorr Ballylee. Its partially vine covered stone tower is attached to a white cottage trimmed in green. We tried not to mention our disappointment that the place was closed. Although, we were grateful we could visit this lovely spot, holding memories of beauty for us.
Some afterenoons we took solace and sustenance at the inviting local bakery. I remember one in a tiny village on a hillside, the radio was on the BBC. Janis Ian, the singer was being interviewed, she has such a beautiful resonance to her voice and has always been a favorite. Still I was surprised, here she was, right at this moment in time.
Leaving Yeats Tower, we head for Galway, twenty miles away. A fairly easy ride, but they nearly always get to be too long before we arrive at our actual destination.
Galway turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, maybe because of the drizzly weather and the tiny, dismal B & B we stayed in.
We rented a car to go to Connemara. The wind was incredible, at least fifty miles an hour and blowing rain or water off the Atlantic. The road was more like a winding lane, very wavy and dippy. I was the designated driver, as I usually was throughout our marriage. Bill was paranoid about driving on the wrong side of the road. So we start out the Salthill Road, headed for Clifden. We scooted through as fast as we could go, which was only 35 miles per hour, but seemed like surely it was 60, with our little Ford Fiesta. Letting the back seat down, it conveniently held our bicycles. We were very excited being on a new adventure in such a wild and seemingly different and desolate area.
Arriving in Clifden finds us in the usual search for food. We found a packed pub which had just run out of the Irish stew Bill had wanted. He got the fish & chips instead. I had vegetable soup and delicious brown bread.
We came back to Galway, into the sunshine, after spending a stormy day in Connemara, making it seem like an even more wild and beautiful place. It reminded us so much of Colorado, with its mountains, rolling plains, evergreens and spaciousness.
We stayed in Salthill at Mary McLaughlin’s. On Saturday Mary serves a huge breakfast. This is the time in my life I’m introduced to steel-cut oats or Irish oatmeal, which I still love. The oats help send us off to the Cliffs of Moher. This has truly got to be one of the most beautiful and dramatic spots on the earth. All around, the countryside and villages are just as I had dreamed they would be. One village was Ballyvaughan, village of the vaughans. Bill’s Mom was a Vaughan. He is now convinced both sides of his family come from Ireland. The Cliffs are incredible, one feels as if we were just dropped into a movie, such drama. We check out a beautiful spa with a natural hot springs at Lisdoonvarna. It was mostly closed, but one of the employees told me they do quite a bit of massage, using heat and working with specific areas for arthritis. I had just graduated from the massage school in Boulder and was interested in how massage is practiced and received elsewhere.
We head back to Galway, starving for lunch. We’re almost back in town before we find a place. Lunch was a really good creamed soup, I got a smoked salmon platter. Bill finally got raw oysters. Even though they were very small, the pub had won lst place in the Oyster Festival.
We spent our last evening in Galway talking with Mary, mostly about the Irish and what a rowdy bunch they are. We attempt to join them as we walk into Salthill for a few ales in a very smoky establishment.
It was actually sad leaving Mary McLaughlin. I honestly think she had tears in her eyes saying goodbye to us. A very high-spirited and entertaining lady, she was.
We met a couple there from Miami, who we later ran into in Dublin at the Book of Kells at Trinity College. After an 8:00 AM breakfast, we ride our bikes into Galway, catching the 9:30 train to Dublin.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Poem-The Happy Compost Heap of My Heart

All this stuff of the world decays.
Even my dancing red toenails
need to be touched up regularly.
I have to keep throwing
all my experiences
onto the happy compost heap of my heart.
There the stuff of it
returns to the essential elements
by rotting in the slow heat of renunciation.
The Master Gardener
forms & turns the pile to speed the process.

--By Terra Rafael
Then She plows the heart of Terra's existence
back into the earth,
fertilizing food that can truly satisfy
the starving masses of the Soul

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Memoir: The Tiara Ball

I’m having fun recalling that time in my life when I was a New York Debutante, especially during Christmas when there were so many balls. This year I am in a play, “Lady Windemere’s Fan” and I am costumed in a period ball gown. It does bring back some memories.

This one ball was called the Tiara Ball. All the young ladies had to wear a tiara in their hair. Well, most, if not all, wore cute little rhinestone tiaras that made every one look like a cookie-cutter princess. I would have none of it. In my flamboyant actress style, I took my circumspect tiara and decorated it with white ostrich plumes and black egret feathers. It was stunning with my white ball gown, swirled in a rhinestone border, and my pearl necklace and earrings. I finished it off with my full length three button kid gloves and a white fox short cape. I was not to be outdone at this ball.

Well, my date and I and another couple were good friends and were hanging out together. One of the features of the evening was door prizes. They actually gave away a donkey. The two guys disappeared for a bit and we knew they were plotting something. In a while, they returned and announced that they had rented the donkey and we would take it across town to the Peppermint Lounge after the ball, which was at the Plaza Hotel.

Off we went, with me riding the donkey. It was a bit of a stir in traffic and the New York Times showed up to get some photos and a story for the society pages. I was having a blast.

The next morning there I was on the Times front page, riding the donkey side saddle with my flowing gown and head-dress. My mother was furious. How could I have disgraced her so. Well, sad to say, it wasn’t the first nor was it the last time. I guess I was and still am, a bit of a rebel.

Prema Rose

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prose: A Look Back

I see you at the beach, tousled head of blond ringlets, running along, daring the water’s edge to find your toes. Your mother sits on the blanket with your baby sister, keeping track of you, her eyes worrying your distance from her.

Your father’s right behind you. His dogged steps fill in your shallow footprints in the wet sand as he runs herd on his charge…you. You, the first born, the pioneer of your family in your childhood innocence…and you brought the change your family never expected. Truth be told, your father was always running after you, trying to hold his own and catch up.

You were well loved in their way, which made it a maze of uncertainty. Double messages and hide and seek became a way of life, let alone childhood games.

But you made it through. You survived those days of trial and error…everyone doing what they thought was right at the time. And you came through with a loving heart.

And now, as your future self, I bid you welcome and invite you into my adult heart, to bring your innocence and your willingness to try the new and untamed into a joint venture with me. I’m grateful to remember you and find you alive and well.


Friday, December 5, 2008


Ola Schnepp used to make the best custard pies and, her sister-in-law, Maud, turned out the best apple pies in the county. There was a big apple tree in the back corner of the orchard that grew green apples just for her pies. Treva Schnepp, another member of the family, was pretty good with blueberries but Barbara Schnepp was the cake maker.

She was my Girl Scout leader. She made cakes for every occasion; weddings, funerals, church suppers and family reunions. But one memorable cold winter night she made the cake of all cakes for the PTA Cakewalk. I gasped as I beheld the beautiful blue angel food cake with icing dripping down the sides like icicles. There were other lovely cakes on the table that night but Barbara Schnepp’s angel food wonder stood out like a crown jewel on top of the old black piano where Mrs. Hopkins sat playing. I stood there drooling as that cake shimmyed to the music.

There was a long line of people who had dropped a dime in the glass jar for a chance to walk the big chalk circle with numbers drawn on the floor. My dad slipped me a dime and told me to get in line. We had come in late so the line was pretty long. I screwed up my eyes tight and made a million wishes as people took their turns ahead of me. Mrs. Sabin’s chocolate cake went, then Mrs. Kellicut’s special cake was gone, Mrs. Heinline’s carrot cake, the cake with the chocolate chips on top, but the crown jewel was still there on the piano! I couldn’t stand still. I wiggled while I jumped up and down until I felt my mother’s hand on my shoulder assigning me to the ground. And, of course, I had to pee but I knew I could hold it until my turn came. I thought it would never come. But it did. I ran out onto the circle with sweet sugar visions in my head. The music started to play and around and around we walked. I was in heaven.

The gods smiled down on me that night as I walked the circle and won the last cake of the night. THE cake.

Driving home I sat between my parents in the front seat of the old green station wagon with that huge cake on my lap. I felt like a million bucks. Six brothers and sisters were hanging over the seat licking their lips and sneaking a finger toward the cake for ‘just a little taste.”

Getting out of the car I held the cake high over my head and ran as fast as I dared while my brothers held off our dog, Suzie, who thought she was one of us kids and entitled to her share of everything we had. Dad brought out the butcher knife and made a big show of sharpening it on the wet stone while Mom got out the plates. Suzie danced around the table while we kids sat around arguing who would get the biggest piece. That was a no brainer. I did!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blizzard of 2006

I woke up this morning and it is snowing. The following is a journal entry from my first winter in my little farm house:

Day 1. The weather forecasters had predicted that we could get a really big snow storm. Who knows, sometimes they are right. The snow was falling when I woke up; it is Wednesday, December 20. We fed the horses and my house mate, Megan, left for work. I had been out on Monday to measure a couple of houses for appraisal assignments and I was entirely happy to be working from home on a day like this. I kept the news on as I sat at my computer during the morning and it became clear right away that this is gonna be "the big one"! By noon we had at least 8 inches of snow ~ although I don’t know how they measure the accumulation because the wind was howling and it was snowing vertically! I could barely see out my north windows because the wind had packed snow into the screens.

I went out and fed the horses a mid day snack. Megan called around 2pm and said that they had closed up shop and were sending people home. I talked to her several times that afternoon as she tried to make it home. Highway 66 was closed at Weld County Road 19. She headed north to WCR 34 and tried to head east, but there were cars and trucks stopped at the big curve at WCR 21. No one was going any where. I advised her to head back north again to see if 66 was open, since it is the major east/west traffic way. It wasn’t. I can’t remember whose idea it was that she try and get back to WCR 13 and find Molly’s house. However, around 4:30 she pulled into Molly’s driveway and promptly got stuck. Molly said they were out feeding horses and she looked out and wondered “Who in the heck is out on a day like this?” But every one was thankful she made it there; they called and said they were gonna put her up for the night. It looks like it is just gonna me and the critters at home tonight! Joseph called and he got stuck on his way over to feed their horses ~ and we both live in Platteville ~ he lives less than one mile away! He asked if I could feed their horse tonight and probably tomorrow. Thank God I was home!!!!

Later in the evening Megan called and asked me I could give her old dog, Spur, her insulin shot! “I guess I have to, but I have never done it before”. She gave me instructions as I took the cordless phone down to the basement frig and found all the stuff I would need. After she hung up, I went back upstairs, had a shot of whiskey and then went down and gave the old girl her shot. It happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure that I got the stuff in. I prayed that she would live through the night. She did, which meant that at 8 am I got to do it again ~ but it was much easier this time ~ requiring no whiskey.

Day 2...........

* annette

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For those people who live in or near Boulder, CO, our book is available at Boulder Book Store and Troubadour Books on east Arapahoe.

Missing the Boat

I missed the funeral where a little piece of family history, I'd never heard, surfaced. My uncle, an ex-NYC cop and someone who loves to tell stories as only an Irishman can, tells my sisters and a few cousins "Just think none of us would be here if Grandma hadn't missed the boat." "What are you talking about, we've always heard she met Grandpa on the boat." my sister responds. "Not that boat.  That was the one she finally took, but years earlier she and her sister were coming over to stay with relatives in the states.  They were the oldest of ten children and their parents were very poor.  So tickets were bought and off they went to Cobh (pronounced and also meaning, Cove). The town was in County Cork, a good ways in those days, from their small town of Castlebar in County Mayo. The way your grandmother told me she only remembered not really wanting to go.  They arrived late, due to her successful attempt to miss the boat.  She didn't say what she did and when pressed she always said she couldn't remember.  She only knew she was happy to not be getting on the boat and happier still to be going back home."
It turns out it was a lucky thing as it was April 11, 1912 - the last stop for the Titanic before it headed  out to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  Turns out missing the boat isn't always a bad thing.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bicycling in Ireland Part 1

We take a long way from London to get to Ireland, by train and ferry. This is the mid-eighties, when my mate and I take our bicycles over to ride the southern parts of the country. We’re on the train heading for Fishguard Harbor, experiencing the magical English countryside, that takes you right back to a FairyTale from childhood. We pass through Reading, Swindon, Newport, and Cardiff to finally arrive at 9 PM at Swansea, where we spent the night.
Getting sick on the ferry over wasn’t what I had had in mind. But arriving on Irish soil helped. The cabbie took us up from the harbor to a very modern B & B who’s owners were named Bill and Patricia. An excellent omen we thought.
The sun was bright, even though slightly windy, the next day, as we take off for our first day of biking. We head for Wexford and lunch. The light breakfast of Weetabix just doesn’t hold when you are biking. We also bought a hefty loaf of bread. The Irish bread is the best I’ve ever had. The grain is milled differently, creating a heavenly texture that can be eaten forever, especially if biking. We take a break in a sunny hayfield with huge rolls of hay all around us. On our way to New Ross we stop at a beautiful l00- acre fourth generation farmhouse. It was now run by Kathleen, a spinster and great hostess. In her six-tabled dining room, all tables are set, even though we are the only guests. She serves us a feast fit for a bicycle queen and king. Kathleen graciously brought us lamb chops, creamed potatoes, rice and stuffing, and cabbage and celery cooked together. Then, no less than apple tart with whipped cream. Alright! With meals like this I would be able to bike the entire country.
On to Waterford in the pouring rain, where we found lodging at Mary Ryan’s four-floor flat in town. At 5 AM we were awakened by two very inebriated Irish couples, two of whom proceeded to get very sick. The insulation seems to be lacking in a few of the B & B’s. This is a first hand encounter of how much the Irish love to drink and party.
On to Dungarven and pouring rain. You see, this was late September, almost too late to ride bikes in this moist country. Riding in the rain wasn’t as difficult as trying to get warm after you got off your bicycle.The hot water was lacking in warmth as was the heat coming out of the pipes in the homes, making it almost impossible to get warm after stopping for the day.
On a sunny day we leave Dungarven and head for Youghal, where we have the best food yet. We decide to buy one meal a day since eating so heavily at night keeps us awake. At this lunch I have an excellent vegetarian salad, Bill, the oxtail soup. We both got the seafood pie. Whitefish, cheese sauce with creamed potatoes in fancy swirls.
We abandon the Cork Road to ride on the smaller country roads, more like lanes. They are wonderful, all paved and like a roller coaster running with lush green fields and low stone walls. The only flaw is there are blackberry vines everywhere, not for eating at this time of year, but for puncturing your tires. It happened more than once. We find the castle farmhouse B & B that was recommended, nice but still no heat.
We take a train to Limerick this day, befriending a couple from Connecticut, also on bicycles. Later the Shannon River invites us to picnic on its banks, no rain at all, as we serve up good brown bread, smoked salmon, English cheddar and cucumber.
In Limerick, staying at Eva’s wonderful B & B filled with aniques of very good taste, she recommends Kelly’s for our dinner that night. We dine on scallop mornay, and the best meal Bill has ever had, mussels with bacon.
We arrive back at the B & B, well-dined and happy. Looking at the guest book in the spacious hallway, we notice guests from Boulder. Bill walks into the parlor while I remain talking with Eva. All of a sudden, much shrieking is going on, “oh my god, its Bill Jordan”. My husband was semi-famous in Boulder, having written a newspaper column for years. But to actually hear female Boulder voices was quite hilarious. We didn’t know these women, but we had friends in common. No matter where you travel, the world has a way of getting smaller.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gifts My Family Gave Me

Grandma Johnson gave me a pile of books, a green thumb and an ear for music.

Grandpa Johnson encouraged me to dress beautifully, praising how I looked int the new clothes he bought me.

Grandma Moan gave me the taste for freshly baked bread, hot from her wood stove, slathered with lots of butter and for water, freshly pumped from deep in the earth.

Grandpa Moan gave me a vision of an angry Norse God, shaking his cane like Thor shaking the lightning bolt, followed by the thunder of his big voice.

Uncle Manley gave me the chance to heal and grow past his abuse and my shame, leaving me with an acute awareness & enjoyment of sexuality.

Dad gave me a two-wheeled bike that I could grow into, a canoe I could paddle alone around Side Lake, and a love for a neat & clean home.

Mom gave me the experience of being responsible for my sisters & brothers, a childhood with a soundtrack of crooners & show tunes, and a warm cuddle now & then.

- by Terra Rafael