Category Archives: Hard Road

Deep Green

It absolutely poured rain all day yesterday and there’s been a damp chill in the air that has had me wearing a puffer jacket . . . even INSIDE. On the plus side things are still fabulously green . . .

Okay, this is New Hampshire, but still

. . . and I know here in Colorado they won’t stay that way for many more weeks.  Even with all the rain this weekend, so far scuba gear is not required, but here are a few “undersea” photos (taken at the Aquarium in La Rochelle) . . . . . . to get you in the right mindset for my newest poem, ostensibly about scuba diving, but really also about life. The best way to read it is to pause slightly at the end of each line, as if you were breathing through a regulator and descending slowly into the deep. 


The trick
is to maintain
neutral buoyancy,
to avoid panic –
breathing slowly,
moving hardly at all,
except the slow beat
of fins and occasional
tranquil glance at gauges -
intrepid explorer

of another world,
tasting the tang
of salt like tears,
while all manner of things
and slip by
or hide,
peering out
like old women
from behind lace curtains.
In the beginning

I needed a hand
to hold, a steadying hand
to tell me without words
I was not
lost in the deep –
I would not be lost,
as if anyone
can promise that.
Soon, though,
the color

grabs me
and movement
like a ballet
set to the whooshing
pulse of breathing
in and out,
bubbles like crystal
balls rising
to the brightness above.

There is danger
in ascending
and descending, both –
rising too quickly
as the pressure mounts,
falling unnoticed,
slipping into the abyss.

It is not optional
to know where you are.

The trick
is to stay calm
and keep breathing.

I hope that provided a calming break in your day. It’s been an emotional weekend here.  Courtney came out from Minnesota for the long weekend and Doug also took advantage of the holiday to come meet Beckett, so we decided to inter David’s ashes this past Friday afternoon while everyone was here. He’s been gone nearly three and a half years, but it was still a difficult step on the wretched grief road, as you may imagine.

September 2016 – Photo by Clayton Jenkins

Then we adjourned to my house for toasts, memories and togetherness (since we’re all vaccinated), sorely needed after all the COVID isolation.  Doug brought us a bottle from Colene Clemens Vineyards, one of our favorite Oregon wine-tasting destinations. 

Doug, Brittany, Courtney and Chelsea at Colene Clemens Winery

And of course there was cognac.

Meanwhile, a few other dear ones (deliberately vague to respect privacy) are facing medical challenges, some quite daunting, and Brittany is heading into chemo round three in a few days, so a bit of color therapy and calm, slow breathing seemed in order. I find it works even better when prayer and meditation are added to the mix. 

But whatever you do, please keep breathing!

All Will be Well

Things with Brittany have not been quite the slam-dunk we had hoped they would be, but we do truly believe all will be well.

Brittany and Andy – October 2020

She is strong, courageous, and still keeping us laughing, even while facing both chemo and radiation. Her posts on CaringBridge tend to include bits that could legit be the basis of a stand-up routine.  I especially liked her R.I.P. to her old boobs, written just before surgery on February 3rd.

Since I go pretty much NOWHERE EVER, I’m the perfect person to be on call for transportation on days Andy shouldn’t really need to miss work. I was able to pick Brittany up from her latest surgery and spent a couple nights with them last week. It was great to see them in person, and I am very glad to be able to help. I’m still super committed to mostly staying home and NOT being inadvertently part of the spread of the wretched virus, especially when it costs me so little to stay home, but Brittany’s needs are and will continue to be worthy exceptions to my self-enforced solitude. 

Since I have barely left my home in a YEAR, I’ve been enjoying the notifications on my phone with photos from years past. Like Folly Beach, Charleston, and environs . . .

Middleton Place – Near Charleston, South Carolina – December 2104
Folly Beach – January 2015

As well as Key West, where we spent February and the first week of March 2015 . . .

West Martello Tower – Key West – 2015
Key West – February 2015

. . . especially these of David, taken one afternoon upstairs at Louie’s Backyard, one of our favorite Key West restaurants. Ah, the many expressions of David, possibly hamming it up extra for the camera. Such great memories . . .

We loved Key West. Click here, if you want a bit of warm vicarious travel. It’s the first post of the five weeks on Key West.

So yes, we are all to varying degrees on a hard road right now. May the memories of past joys, hope for the future, and gratitude for both warm your heart and see you through. 

Sunset – Key West – 2015


The Sweetness of Memory

David – August 2011

I’m writing this on the eve of David’s birthday — he would have been 68 tomorrow — and he is still so very much missed. But in the midst of the missing, I am so frequently flooded with fond memories of our nearly forty years together, I find myself more often smiling and feeling grateful than weeping and feeling sorry for myself. Admittedly, there are a few of those moments, too.

But I am so profoundly glad we had both the opportunity to have so many adventures together and the  . . . whatever it took to grab onto them with both hands. I think about so many great times in La Rochelle . . .

La Rochelle 2014

BBQ chez Pascale et Jacky 19 juin 2014

. . . and on the Outer Banks . . .

Sunset over the Sound — Outer Banks, North Carolina – 2014

. . . and Folly Beach . . .

Sunset on Folly Beach – January 2015

. . . and Key West . . .

Sunset from Sunset Pier, Key West – 2015

. . .  and of course, Sunapee . . .

Sunrise over Lake Sunapee – 2015

. . . and so many more. None of these are possible right now, so I’m enjoying the memories and making the most of being home. I’m still taking my weekly French lessons via Skype and doing a lot of writing as part of those. Apparently I’m writing my memoirs . . . in French. 😉

Although I haven’t needed to buy gas for my car since February, I have taken a few bike rides recently, loving the cool of a summer evening, and occasionally finding something so gorgeous, I have to stop and snap a photo . . .

Evening beauty from the bike trail

. . . but I’m still very much a home-body, while this pandemic tortures so many. There just haven’t been many good reasons to go out.  The bike trail at dusk is a pretty good one, though.

Poudre River from the bike trail

Sunset from the bike trail

I remember David and I had such big plans for our new bikes and all the rides we would take together. That didn’t happen, but it is certainly something I can enjoy on my own.

Our lives are not going quite the way we had imagined they would.  I don’t think anyone would say they are. So many are suffering so many losses right now. All the anguish in the news has been so troubling, I spent an evening in the ER a few weeks ago and had to follow up with a cardiologist.  But it’s heartache, not heart disease, fortunately.

So for now I start my day with as much of God’s peace as I can soak in. Then I read as much good news as possible, and there’s more than you might think.  Of course it’s important to stay informed, and I do, but I have to try to resist the pull of the black hole of endless heartbreaking and/or infuriating news stories and videos.

I hope you are finding ways to cope as well. One of the few things I can do is offer you a bit of beauty and a few words of encouragement. Please know I hold you in my heart. There’s room for you there as well as David.


Quick Update

Since I mentioned I was tested for COVID-19 last Friday, I thought I should let you know my results came in this morning and were negative. Woohoo!  Also, I’m beginning to feel much better than I did last week, so will not trouble the doctor with my now minor symptoms.

Here’s a little beauty and serenity to help soothe your possibly frazzled nerves:

Ile de Ré, France

Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire

Lake Sunapee Dawn

And one more:

Full Moon Rising Over Lake Sunapee

All photos from previous years’ posts, since I’m still housebound, but hope you enjoy them anyway.

Still praying health and peace for all of you!