Tuesday, January 25, 2011


A wistful feeling of something beyond,in the distance.A time for change,a shaking up of a comfortable structure.

This Christmas season, two things happened that filled me with unease.My Christmas cards were stolen from our mail box.I found an empty envelope on a neighbor's lawn as I took a walk.The hair on the back of my neck stood up at this violation.And then,an abandoned car was parked in front of our property on New Yera's Eve.It had been stolen from Griffin,Georgia,crashed and left by someone who ,no doubt ,lives nearby.

What is next? Next is going to be an uprooting and a move to the Georgia mountains.I have always been drawn to the hills and falls of North Georgia and it is time.We have been in this house for twenty years and I have loved the Flint River flowing casually beyond the floodplain behind our house.The woods of every season,snow dazzling in the trees,the young deer who feed in our yard,sometimes as many as 13.The hawks,barred owls,bluebirds and woodpeckers, with the occasional Pileated.This place enchanted me when we first looked and I will miss it.Here my dogs roamed and created memories that cling to my heart.Canoe trips on the river,egg hunts in the woods,35th Wedding Anniversary celebration and nearby,a church home that has stretched me and brought deep ,life long friends and a surety in the Unseen.

When the kids were younger ,we used to go up to the mountains often,hiking,canoeing and when the tires of the VW van would turn onto Georgia Highway 400,I would feel a drop in my spirits.A deflation.But we always had to go back to the suburbs for jobs,school, commitments.Now, we have a choice.

I think it was the drive from Dawsonville,where my son lives,through the snowy,tree rich hills, to Tennesses this past December that did it.

Oh,I will hear these kind of things:where is the closest hospital?Please.I don't want to live like that.With fear.My parents owned a house in the Catskill mountains in New York and they never would move to this place that they loved because there was no hospital nearby.In 1983,my father had a heart attack at home, on Long Island ,and the hospital that was four blocks away could not save him.

I feel excitement at this shaking up,this new beginning.A challenge to start over.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the small coffin

I have recently found a lovely blog,"Catholic By Grace"and therein a story that has lifted my spirits on this cold January Day.It seems that the family of Christina Green contacted the Trappist monastery in Peosta,Iowa and asked that a coffin be made for their murdered child,a victim of the shooting in Tucson.

The coffin, a small one, arrived in Tucson yesterday.The monks carved her name, her dates and a cross and then made small crosses for the family members out of the same wood.They refused pay even though casket making is their lively-hood.The spokesperson for the monks said that this work was very difficult for them.I can see the monks in their brown robes,bent over their small box in deep prayer for this little lost girl and her devestated family.

Just a small thing but such a grace for anyone who knows this story.In all the violence,the rancor and finger pointing,these humble men did what they could for the family, expecting nothing,blaming no one, just praying and working.Thinking of this brings peace to me.

We have a Trappist monastery here in Georgia and I have spent many a blessed day there.The quiet,the smiling monks,the stray cats who greet everyone at the door,peacocks down by the lake,given by Flannery O'Connor's family after she died.
There is a flock of geese who own the place and I dare anyone to go on the path to the lake when they are there.My husband nearly lost an appendage one Spring day when he figured they would move.Ha.

I have chosen to be buried in the green cemetery that is near the monastery buildings.I also will have my casket made by the monks and my tombstone will be a flat rock laid in a field of flowers by a stream.I don't expect any of this to help my next journey but if my family chooses to visit, they will find a restful place and the thought of that pleases me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

desert people

Twice a month , I have to take my fluffy white quilt to the laundromat to be washed with anti-dust mite solution.I dread those days.The 20 x 20 room where the washing machines are has 3 televisions.Three!All blaring, at a deafening volume, the trials of the demented as they appear before a screaming judge.It is a horrible experience.We tried another laundromat down the road and it was the same.I have to sit in the car ,in the cold ,to get away from the noise.

If I pump gas at Wal-mart, there is a small screen at the top of the pump that is loudly telling me about the cigarette deal inside the booth or the cheap coke.I feel assualted.

Maybe I am super sensitive to this because once,unexpectedly, I found myself in the presence of complete silence and it felt like I had met an unforgettable person.

In the 80s, my family drove out West to visit relatives and we stopped along the barren highway in Arizona at a sign that said,Painted Desert.We got out of our old VW van and went to the railing and looked stunned at what lay before us.You could see infinity.No trees, just a land of colored sand.This is not the grey,hilly Sahara of the movies;this is red,grey,bronze,cooper, undulating ,rippled land that stretches out forever.And then I was embraced by a quiet that I cannot describe.Deep,thick silence and in my spirit I heard this;"This is Who I am."Those exact words.This was an emptiness that was somehow full,complete.I could spend the next hundred years trying to discern the meaning of this.

"God's poet is silence.His song is unspoken,
and yet so profound",.....
Joaquin Miller

One of my many New Year's resolutions is to find silence a few times a week for at least a half hour.I have ignored what happened in Arizona for too long.There is something more I need to learn and I have to take my pen and journal and find out what it is.