In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Card 2012


Thank you for visiting Madrona Grove.  
With over 16,500 visitors in two years, you 
have given me a wonderful present!  

In a few weeks I'll launch the first poetry book from this blog:
"Madrona Grove:  Poems Written Under the Canopy"
My "staff" and I will make sure you'll know how to purchase
a copy for your collection when it becomes available.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this holiday video card of myself and 
the "staff" on a recent work retreat to Mt Baker, and a little
Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets.

White Eyes 
by Mary Oliver

In winter
     all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he's restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it's over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—

which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—

thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Poetry: Arrow

V shaped dots in the sky
Purpose driven
Direction sure
Group effort
How majestic to know

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012: Go Monk

So, here we go.  
December 21, 2012 is this Friday.  
This morning I am remembering a scene from the 2001 comedy, "Zoolander".  The one that comes to mind, while I prepare for the cosmic event, is the "Walk Off".  A heated modeling competition erupts; Hansel and Derek are tied.  A tired Hansel realizes that the only way to win the walk off against famed model Derek Zoolander is to pull his underwear off his body without removing his pants!  Understanding that such a difficult task requires concentration he declares:  "I'm going monk. I gotta go monk." 

During this recession, and with the U.S. Fiscal Cliff event happening 1/1/13, I feel like I should "go monk".  But it's not really MY underwear that I have to pull off, or is it?  *deep thoughts insert here*
I have decided to attend a Mayan Party this Friday.  Here is a message I received from the coordinator:

"It is time to leave behind what no longer serves us, whether in the form of ideas, attitudes, or actions. And it is time for that which exalts or honors us to be anchored firmly in our hearts. Let’s prepare for the birth of the new world that the Maya call the Fifth Sun. You may find the following approach helpful leading up to the 21st. This is what I’m doing so that I can be as present as possible. Gently, bravely, examine your life – your ideas, attitudes, and actions, and your reactions to them. Consider it a methodical, non-judging meditation on the inventory of your life. Non-judgment is critical in being able to see everything clearly.  

Take some quiet time each day just to be with yourself, perhaps sitting quietly or walking alone. Observe everything you think and feel. Notice that what really moves you - what makes you grateful - and take it with you. Notice what causes you anxiety or distress and set your reaction to it down on the ground."

Some things are outside of my circle of control, but they lie restlessly near my circle of concern and influence.  Events such as Fiscal Cliffs, mass shootings, asteroids, solar flares and the world ending are things I only have so much influence on.  I can vote with a ballet and my dollars, I can choose to be a good citizen, recycle and obey "Caesar", I can be kind to those I meet, etc.  Perhaps what I really need to do is GO PEASANT.  It needs to get all 15th century up in here!  Simplify my life like a peasant, kill my television and just ignore those things that I can not control.  Live day to day off the land.  Honestly, I could do this, as long as I got to keep my washing machine.

The blog below is among my most viewed, thought I would re-post it today.  


Written: March 10, 2009

Edited: March 27, 2011

The Ides of March, per the Roman calendar is March 15th. In Roman times, the Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated, in 44 BC. .

Poor Caesar. In Shakespeare's play he was warned by a soothsayer, "Beware the Ides of March!" Caesar visited with the seer who had foretold that harm would come to him no later than the Ides of March. Caesar joked, "Well, the Ides of March have come", to which the seer replied "Ay, they have come, but they are not gone." Despite this warning he chooses to appear in court and face his fate. I often wonder when he went to “work”, what was he thinking? Perhaps, he thought, whatever happens I can fight it and live, or maybe he was so full of himself he thought no harm could come to him? Regardless, the senators knew he was a mortal, could be killed, and so proved it to the world with each stab.

In Roman times the expression “Ides of March” did not evoke a dark mood- it was simply the standard way of saying “March 15.” In my life I see many warnings. Soothsayers, or talking heads, are on the news every night trying to predict the future. There are even some conspirators that believe the exact day of a new age for the earth will be December 21, 2012!

If you Google “2012” you’ll find all sorts of sites that talk about this doomed day. One site sells books and T-Shirts, another gives you tips on how to survive it, there is even a “2012” movie coming out November 13th! What the heck is going to happen? Is December 21st our Ides of March? I decided to do some research.

The Long County Calendar of the Ancient Mayans ends on Monday, Dec. 21, 2012. There isn’t much information regarding what the Mayans thought would occur in 2012, but the consensus of opinion is that there will be a great change. To some people this means a positive, spiritual change, to others the end of the world. Ian O’Neill, in Universe Today, wrote that the Mayan calendar is just ending; the next day (our Dec 22, 2012) would start the year “0000” and thus the Mayan calendar just resets, much like a cars odometer rolling over. Astrologers say that the stars tell us: “The date December 21st, 2012 A.D. ( in the Long Count), represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), what the ancient Mayans recognized as the Sacred Tree. This is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11:11 am GMT. According to the Mayas the center of the Galaxy is the cosmic womb: the place of dead, transformation, regeneration and rebirth.”*

So the modern day soothsayers have said their part. They have thrown out this information and their interpretation to the public. And like Caesar, we are faced with a decision. Should we go on with life as normal, go hide in a cave until it’s all over, or maybe purchase more camping supplies and guns? Caesar was brave enough to face his fate, will I do the same?

This upcoming “event” reminds me a little of the Millennium Bug scare. In the years prior to 2000, experts advised that our computerized life as we knew it could end just one second pass midnight on January 1, 12:00 a.m. Anything that ran on computers including Air Traffic Control systems, banks and security system etc, would all fail us. This time around I’m going to choose to be strong like Caesar. I’ll just walk into that fateful day three years from now with my head held high. What happens will happen. Nothing is worth living in fear over; besides, I don't have a bomb shelter.

*Mayan Calendar site:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Short Story: Wolf and Girl

You never know where a great idea for a story will come from.  To me the definition of a "great story" is one you can't stop writing.  A world that awakens every time a finger tip hits a key, because you yourself love it!  
The story below is a snip from a writing warm up I started one morning, based on a dream I had.  Meant to only be 1-2 pages long, I have decided to expand it into a short story.  My original goal for the exercise was to add place and time to the events.  All stories have to have a world where they wiggle and run.  This is a "Great Story" and I can't stop writing...  

Wolf and Girl

1364, the Black Forest of Germany and fairy tales, where witches hollered out spells to the sky, and blood sucking creatures, that feed on our dead less than fifteen years prior were born.  The Black Death brought the wolves down out of the forest and into the fringe boundaries of our little town where the dead were burned and buried.   Hungry wolves found dead bodies an easy meal.  Dead mothers, brothers, sisters dragged off, bones licked clean before a priest could speak a prayer.  Great hunters, immune to the plague, rose up, in honor of the dead.  These hunters were paid in wolf pelts, God’s blessing for returning the dead and free beers at the pub.  Hunting parties killed many wolves, none more than my father. 

Mother died in the plague.  Father said my birth weakened her.  Her heart was stronger than most, yet it was not her heart she gave me, but her eyes.  As I grew, I resembled her, which only angered my father more.  The memory of his dead love standing before him every day was like a cut that never healed.  Father’s fame of being the regions “champion hunter” died and ran off with the packs that left in search of new grounds.  Father is now a shell, angry, empty, and full of fermented drink and hate.  Hate towards me, hate towards God. 

When the wolf packs left, my beatings began.  They became more frequent after my hair darkened months later.  Black like the night, it draped over my features, keeping me hidden from him, when I escaped into the woods.  The woods were the last place I should hide from a “champion hunter” who, it was said “could track the wind itself through the thickest brush.”   Yet father let me hide.  He let me run.   His threats would race out the door, as sharp as his ax, chasing me up into the mountains, until my silhouette was hidden from site.  Always he stopped only four trees deep into the forest before resting up against an old pine.  The screams were like a wolf’s howl, words slurred by beer and grief, “Come home!   You can’t hide from me!  I am Reinhardt the greatest hunter!”   I ran until I all I could hear was the sound of the waterfall that never stops, and then I ran some more.

One day while picking berries I found a spot, high in the wood, where an old giant had been cut down.  It made for a nice table, bed and chair; a home for my imagination. In the day I would pretend this was my home, a happy place, full of peace and prosperity.  I was a princess married to a prince and our children were beautiful.   At night, if the sky was clear, moon light would find that tree stump through the dense crowd of conifers for a brief hour, "magic hour" I called it.  When father was at his worst and I knew there was hell to pay, I escaped to my magic place waiting for the beer to leave his blood.   

Last Night

There was a wedding in town.  Everyone in the village was invited and beer flowed like the river Danube.  Father drank more than ever that night.  Free beer goes down easy.  Tonight was my chance!

I raced home ahead of Father to pack, raced in the dark up the quickest trail to the cabin; stars guiding me.  The moon was still low in the sky.  It would be above the trees in a hour lighting my way away from here.  Tonight, the night of the full moon, would be the last night I would spend in the home I was born in.  I knew he would kill me, before forgiving God.  I packed, for a future unknown, I packed for my life.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Poetry: Love Lock


I have a poem
I will not throw away
by accident
or on purpose:

The morning light
cuts through the trees
waking the birds
to their song

Leaves stretch
for the sun,
fish jump at
the dragonfly,
deer’s in the meadow
nuzzle at the grass

How far will you
go for love

Before you accept it
must you test it?
Before you cradle it
must you birth it?
Before you kiss it
must you grasp it?

Mind to mind
Arms in arms
Lips to lips


Over mind
Over body
Over life