Painting by Cornelis Norbertus GysbrechtsCertain sons and daughters asked to stow their overflow with us so they might follow their dream to far off places. Since I’d begun to clear out the glacial accumulation of stuff from our attic and basement awhile back, inspired by the dismantling of my dad’s place, I was less than aligned to the prospect of yet more stuff. But family can hardly be denied when room can be made.

Mostly mushrooms

Blue Ridge Parkway mushroomIn Folly, protagonist Rae Newborn works her way out of debilitating depression by building a house. Artisan of wood in her former life, she pieces together her redemption on a solitary island in the Pacific northwest.

Rae is not only the scarred creation of her writer. She is the writer’s scars, revealed as socially useful things.

True Story

Austrian LithographMama hadn’t been gone too long when my Dad ended up in rehab. I was in rehab too at the time, where an equanimity of spirit and growing roundness to my form could only mean on thing: I was pregnant.

It happens sometimes, you know, when life’s unredeemed losses pull you down into paths of least resistance? Humans cope by the means available. So there I was, impregnated by a familiar friend I’d relied on in many a tough situation, but never to this degree.


White PeoniesAsleep in the trees, I feel my fingers itch from palm to tip, but dream swelled eyes resist the open air. I hold the netherworlds and blindly smile and scratch, until I stop: the itch remains.

Sleep undone, I spring the lids and there she is, madonna moon, a silver shimmering sheen. Hanging baskets join the boughs to rock this pearl, this tiny apparition.


Armigeres subalbatus mosquitoSummertime in Cleveland has me sprawled on the back porch like a flayed goose, awaiting the nightly visitation.

Artist Shaman

White RhinoThe shaman has been revered by purveyors of culture who link our storied past with a starker spiritual present.


Vogelversammlung, Margret Hofheinz-DöringIf there’s one place on earth where joy eclipses toil and grief, it’s music.

Why do music?

Serving up SaladMy sister Mariah’s got a phenomenal cache of recipes. A large bunch of fresh dill from a Chicago farmer’s market needed one.

Next to godliness

President Lincoln writing the Proclamation of FreedomI like cleanliness.

When our boys were young, their two little hot wheel runaround pals named Ian and Evan moved away.

A few months later, we visited their upstairs apartment in a large brick house painted gray. Wading through the rooms knee deep in randomness, I wondered if I dare leave my boys to play and possibly be swallowed whole by swamps of stuff.

As I recall, I made a flimsy excuse and darted for the door, my sons in tow.

All the world is somewhere else

Blackfoot - Bear Bull'All the world is somewhere else... I am the mask. I am the bird. I am the animal. I am the spirit... I transcend with the being of the mask.'
Chief Robert Joseph, Kwakwaki'wakw (Kwakiutl), recalling his youthful experience as a ceremonial dancer, 1998

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