Monday, January 31, 2011

Forbidden Fruit

Glancing over the wooden fence early one morning
Stan could see a luscious fruit hanging on a leafy branch
succulent and ripe, ready to be picked.
He knew he could take it with no one near,
he imagined the sticky juice, running down his fingers,
savoring thoughts of sweetness from a summer harvest.

"As long as farmers sow, boys will swipe their harvest,"
he argued with himself in the first light of morn.
Standing close he could touch it with his fingers
knowing the tender fruit hanging from that branch
was an easy target and conveniently near.
With no one around he could simply take his pick.

Then Stan recalled Eve and the fruit she picked,
Even after she was told, to avoid the devil’s harvest.
She forgot the warning when Satan was near
and was thrown out of Eden early next morning.
Stan paused before he took the produce off the branch
Counted the reasons why he shouldn’t on each finger.

He gazed to the sky and saw the sun’s fingers
stretched across the horizon picking
out shadows on the land branching
into rays of love over the bountiful harvest.
In the quiet revere of this enchanted morning
Stan had the sense that God was near.

Alas, it was the farmer’s son standing near,
holding a sling shot with his thumb and finger.
watching for a thief that morning
ready for the hooligan to reach up and pick
the fruit of the season’s harvest.
He waited for the boy to touch the branch.

Maybe it was the lesson from Eve that branched
into Stan’s conscience because he never drew nearer
to the product of the farmer’s harvest.
He pulled back his hand and pushed his fingers
deep into his pockets and refused to pick
the fruit from the farmer’s orchard that morning.

The farmer didn’t lose one item from his harvest so his son relaxed his finger.
Stan had resisted the temptation on the branch but he never knew how near
he was to being picked off by that watchful teenager that blessed morning.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cost of War

I wrote this after I saw pictures of three young
amputees injured from service in Afghanistan.

You cut off my legs
then complain when I don't run to you

Blow off my arms
then grieve I don't hug you anymore

Pluck out my eyes
then cry when I can’t see your point of view

Somehow you think by propping me
on a pedestal, in the name of liberty,
I'm evidence you care about freedom

but I’ve discovered
you care only about yourself,
your safety, and your family

You grumble that
my immobile, blind, mass of flesh
is a strain on the economy

You cast me aside
to find other patriots
willing to make the sacrifice

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Painter’s Sonnet

With palette and brush I'm ready to paint
whatever I see in the wilderness.
I will wear a straw hat so I don’t faint,
Pack my easel, stool, and loose fitting dress.

Work until the sun is right over head
Contrast values, to show the dark from light
Color to accent the old wooden shed
Balance to keep the composition tight

Learning to stop when the picture is done
cleaning supplies then heading straight home.
Adding small details to make this the one
to hang in the garden beside the gnome.

I’m pleased with my work on this glorious day
The time spent painting is better than play.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Father's Hands

My father’s hands were large,
with wide palms and long fingers.
Strong and calloused from years of hard
work building homes, walkways, and walls .

The delicate tasks he left for more dainty hands
His were too big to thread a needle
but he did brush his daughter’s hair
he started at the bottom and worked
toward the top to smooth out all the tangles.

He shuffled the cards and dealt a hand
to anyone who sat at his table.
He encouraged talk about everything.

When the game was over he closed his eyes
inhaled the smoke from his unfiltered cigarette
using his fingers he removed stray bits
of tobacco from his tongue then exhaled.

I remember his hands folded in prayer,
illuminated by candlelight
and how he wiped his cheeks
when my mother died,

his hands didn’t seem large enough
to hold all his tears.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My mind fills with thoughts of David
the only Navajo in my third grade class.

He was quiet and in those days
I knew better than to tell anyone of my attraction.
I wanted to brush his long dark hair
and play tag with him on the playground.

Years later I still remember how his jeans
hung crumpled over his moccasins
and how his long sleeved shirt barely
covered his bracelet... turquoise embedded in silver.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Which Path To Take?

Many self-help and new-age gurus
suggest I can have things
the way I want them to be.

I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work
– like the “Monkey’s Paw”*
I may get what I want
but it comes distorted

love brings jealousy
wealth tempts thieves
power incites enemies

I grew up with wishful thinking
“Twinkle, twinkle little star…”
candles on my birthday cake

and at church I learned about miracles
with faith as big as a mustard seed
I could move mountains
but I guess my faith was never big enough

Miracles and wishes didn’t occur,
not in the timeline or form I imagined
so I learned to accept life as it came
rejoicing in happiness when it arrived
and dealing with grief whenever needed

I’ve learned that paths reveal themselves,
and what I require
is discovered along the way

Prayers for strength and patience have power
healing is in God’s hands, suffering its own reward
I know each step will take me where I need to be.

*“The Monkey's Paw" is a horror short story by author W. W. Jacobs

Monday, January 24, 2011


I visit my mother twice a week and each time
she complains that my dad, her ex-husband
now deceased, bothers her at night
and won't leave her alone.

I ask her, " Other than that,
how have you been?"
she stares over my shoulder
and points to a picture of me with my kids

then tells the same stories
about how she lost all her sons;
one in childbirth, one to heroin
and one to a winter's flu.

“You’re a nice old lady," she sighs,
"but have you seen my daughter?
She hasn't come to visit for a very long time."

I don't know if I'm more upset because
she didn't recognize me
or because she thought I looked old.

From a conversation with my cousin in memory of my aunt.
picture photo shopped by bill

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Forms abound in the world around us
the circular shape of moon and sun
the ovals of fruits and raindrops

…spirals, helix, polygons, squares

Sounds of nature call our attention
to the quiet shush of an evening breeze
birds chirping from nearby trees

…swish, clatter, echo, hum

Imagination takes nature
and reinterprets what is found
reshapes it for others to enjoy

… art, music, dance, story

Friday, January 21, 2011


Saturday was bath day. The older children got the clean water. The two girls stepped in first, then it was the three boys’ turn when we were done. Finally, Dad took care of the two younger ones while Mother bathed the baby in the kitchen sink. After our baths we put on our rags because earlier in the day the school clothes had been washed and put away for the next week. Our Sunday clothes were ironed and hung in the closets and we couldn't touched them until the morning.

Our raggy clothes had lost their prime but held a comfortable familiarity. The cotton fibers were soft to the touch. The holes were worn, tattered and occasionally revealing. No cloth with taffeta or lace ever made it to this pile of Saturday rags.

We loved evenings after our baths. It was a time to relax, share our stories, tease one another, read or play games. There was no chance we would go outside. Mother wouldn’t want the neighbors to see us. No chance of work because she wanted us to stay clean for Sunday services. In the twilight of Saturdays we wore our wonderful, comfortable rags.

When we were teens we moved to the city and with our new affluence adopted different traditions. We bathed daily in our middle class home. The younger children got their individual bath time while the teens preferred to shower. We always dressed properly when out in public. If we happened to be at home together for the evening we would talk, watch television together, or sing the latest popular songs. We didn’t dress quite as fancy for church on Sunday but on Saturdays we still wore our rags.

Our young rebellious college years of the 60’s were a blatant public display of tattered clothing. The formality of the establishment clearly abandoned, our outfits were tie-dyed, recycled, and patched. We flaunted our style and decorated our selves with flowers and beads. To show we were equal, open-minded and free we wore our rags in public.

By the time we got married and had children the hippies had become yuppies. We feverishly competed for status and wealth. Our clothing and public presentation required impeccability, fashion, and name brands. For the females it was artificial nails, colored hair and layers of clothing to prove to the planet that women had a place in a man’s world but when the work day was done and we unwound at home the clothes choosen for comfort were the soft supple cloth, of our faded yet memorable rags.

Now that we are retired we fear we will so fully immerse in comfort that we will not be able to present ourselves among our former colleagues. The gossip will be that we have forgotten how to groom because in our twilight years we won’t do anything we don’t want to do. We refuse to work and refuse to wear clothing that is uncomfortable. If we are not careful there may be reports that we are seen wandering about covered in artist’s paint or gardener’s dust in an old set of rags.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Basket of Love

Get reeds and stakes
pliable, yet strong enough
to weave a basket.

Over and under,
over and under
guide the reeds carefully
through the stakes.

Use discipline
to hold things in place
and prayer to shape
this lovely keepsake.

Over and under,
add another row,
this one dyed red
the next one dark blue.

Create a pattern.
Don’t be afraid
to dampen with tears
whenever needed.

Over and under,
now it’s ready for a
handle to be securely
applied to the rim
inside and out.

Fasten with plenty of laughter,
fill with lots of cuddles and kisses.

Make sure the basket is sturdy enough
to withstand even the heaviest of loads.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

View from St. Peter’s Basilica

Bells of St. Peter’s ring out loud
to welcome tourists
from all over the world.
Guides point out historical
and religious sites.

The Poliza, Italian Army,
and Swiss Guards
provide protection
in this carnival atmosphere.
where spiritual and curious gather.

Smart cars, and open-air buses,
motor scooters and pedestrians
bring the faithful
and faithless together.

Children on the arms
of their mothers and fathers
take in the sights
obligated to learn and observe
and maybe one day to care.

Nuns in long veils,
priests in black cassocks,
walk through the streets
with their heads bowed.

Will there be miracles in Rome today?

Italian men and women
Interact with the visitors,
“Yo habla espanol,”
“Parle vous fraces,”
“I speaka da ingles”
“Sorry I no understand
Say again

Sh, sh, sh, sh
Welcome to Rome.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Virtual Relationships

Humans are not designed to live alone
connection with others is necessary to thrive.

Facebook, and other social networks,
give the illusion of that connection.

Fantasy experiences with celebrities
on television and the big screen add
delusion to intimate associations
existing only in one’s imagination...

an electronic phantom... with no substance
like Avatars in online games:
no real problems solved,
no real battles won
only escapes to occupy the mind

to pretend we’re not
so insignificant and
so alone
so much of the time.

Virtual friendships are artificial
they lack the skin,
breath, and eye contact
needed for real
relationships to develop.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Daddy’s Home!

When the day was done
we watched for your white truck,
then raced to reach you first.

A small morsel,
leftover from your lunch,
a treat for the winner

and always something
for the youngest one.

We clamored to greet you
to feel your calloused hands
and kiss you on the cheek,

our provider, protector
and king -
returned to his castle.

Aroma from the hot meal
filled the rooms.

Mother was always happier
when you were home.

You took a few minutes
to shower and wash
no more plaster dust
on your face and hands.

Then you took your place
at the head of the table
mother sat beside you.

All ten kids gathered round
heads bowed in prayer,

you blessed the food
"Which we were about to receive."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Inflammatory Rhetoric

The radio announcer goes on and on
voicing his political position.
In an outraged voice he articulates
all that’s wrong with America and
the leaders we put in place.

His counterparts on television
match him punch for punch
with rhetoric designed to inflame
in order to set fire to the citizens
to change their political stance.

The intelligent ones
weigh opinions and find other
points of view, then decide what to think,
and determine what they will do.

The ignorant ones let the fires burn,
mimic what they’ve heard
to merge their thoughts
and become part of the media ignited frenzy,

but the crazy ones,
oh God bless the crazy ones,
no one can predict how they will react
or exactly what they will do.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maine Lobster

When we turned fifty my husband Bill, and I wrote out a list of things we wanted to do in the latter half of our lives. It seemed to be an attempt to cope with the loss of youth and a way to create goals for the next fifty years.

We also had a second list compiled by our family and friends with highly recommended items based on their own experiences.

One entry was to visit New England. My friend Diane insisted I also taste lobster while we were there. “It would be a shame for you to be in a place where the best lobster is served and you don't taste it.”

She knew I didn't go into restaurants when I saw the large tanks holding the live critters. I left the table if anyone ordered it served in the shell. The closest I came to tasting it was on a trip to Rosarito Beach, in Baja, California.

After a couple of tequilas it actually smelled good, it was chopped and served in a taco garnished with garlic and jalapeƱos, but when I learned it was lobster I gagged and opted for a bean burrito instead.

So here I was at fifty five taking a trip to the New England states with a request from a trusted friend to taste lobster and in her words, "To experience one of life’s true culinary delights."

We stopped at Cape Elizabeth, right along the coast. We drove past one of many light houses we had seen throughout our trip and pulled into the parking lot of a quaint outdoor restaurant. A large sign with bright red lettering promised the best Lobster on the east coast. We ordered our food then found a table to wait for our meal.

The server carried our dinners out on red plastic trays the same color of my lobster. My meal was accompanied by a large plastic bib, a nut cracker, some kind of slender stainless steel pick, and a small cup filled with butter.

I felt the breeze from the ocean blow through my hair. I tasted sea salt on my lips and heard the sound of the seagulls scavenging for food along the shore. Then looked at my plate and carefully examined the exoskeleton, antennas, legs, abdomen, tail and claws in the fading light.

I looked around and watched as families tore at their armored meals “oohing” and “aahing” at the delectable taste. I could see the butter dripping from their lips and down their fingers and on to their bibs.

“Are you going to eat it?” my husband asked. He had tried lobster when he was in the Navy and knew he didn’t like it so he had ordered fish and chips instead.

“As soon as I figure out how to get to the meat” I said poking at my lobster with my steel pick. I called the server and asked him, “How do I eat this thing?”

“Most people start by pulling the legs off with a twisting motion. There are plenty of delicious pieces inside so save these for later,” he said in an upbeat tone.

His spiel sounded practiced from years of introducing novices to this regional delicacy. He continued, “Next, take off the claws. Tear them off at the first joint, again with a gentle twisting motion.” He went on describing in detail the methods of getting to each tasty piece of meat utilizing the nutcracker and the pick.

“What's that the green stuff I see on those plates?” I asked pointing to some of the diners nearby.

“It's the lobster's digestive system. Many people like to eat the ‘tomalley’ but it probably isn't a good idea because this is where pollution concentrates in the lobster's body,” he said.

“What about this red stuff?”

“It's the roe, the unfertilized eggs of the female once considered a delicacy, like caviar.” He waited a few seconds waiting for more questions. When none were forthcoming he said, “Enjoy your meal.”

After he left I looked at the lobster and then at the families mining for hidden morsels in their crustacean capsules. All I could hear in my head was the Walrus’ song from Alice in Wonderland, "Will you won't you? Will you won't you? Will you join the dance?"

Then I asked the man sitting nearby, “Would you like my lobster?”

“You haven’t touched it. These things are expensive are you sure you want to give it away?” He said wiping his hands and mouth with his napkin and reaching for it.

“I won’t be eating it and I hate to throw it away,” I said.

“Normally I wouldn’t take food from strangers but when it comes to lobster, I can’t get enough of it. Thanks.”

In no time I could hear the cracking sounds as he dismembered the body offering claws, tails and legs to his wife and children.

Bill finished his meal and we headed for the highway looking for more adventures leaving the taste of lobster for others to enjoy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Egyptian Bus Tour

Gazing through the darkness
of tinted windows
watching the animated world

of donkey carts loaded
with fruits and vegetables
traveling along the same road
with Mercedes and BMWs.

The other vehicles - discarded
remnants from more affluent
countries - Volkswagen buses,
Toyota taxis, Ford vans and
Kawasaki motor scooters,

tightly packed with passengers,
competing for space along
the overflowing streets.

The sound - a discordant mix
of machine and human suffering.

Women dressed in burkas
move anonymously
in full public view.

Some carry their laundry,
in large wicker baskets,
perfectly balanced on their heads

with children trailing
behind like feral kittens.

The smell of sweat and rotting
food seeps through the door
while the tour bus crawls
through the heart of Cairo

to the pyramids up ahead.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Isleta Woman

I wrote this after I saw a picture in a travel magazine
showing an Isleta Indian who resembled my mom.

Red clay sculpted in sorrow
imprisoned artifact of the Southwest.

Adobe lies crumbled at your feet.

Your children, fragile tumbleweeds,
adrift on the desert sand.

Adorned in silver and turquoise
you sell your sacred traditions

along the white man’s road.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Clairvoyant's Gift

Christine knew that a clairvoyant's gift was frequently misunderstood especially by the one who possessed the endowment. She learned early that most dreams were symbolic and all details had to be noticed to get the intended meaning. It helped to have a confidant to help decipher them. Especially since the dreams from the last several years had left her unnerved.

The First Dream

The first dream Christine saw herself riding on a train late at night.

“End of the line,” the conductor’s voice crackled over the loudspeaker.

She got off the train and headed down the cobblestone path leading to the graveyard. There among the gravestones stood an ancient woman silhouetted against the moonlight.

“Are you waiting for me?” Christine asked.

The woman smiled and without a word they embraced. Christine felt the ash like quality of the woman’s ragged dress and was overwhelmed with the smell of decay. She experienced an immense love emanating toward this stranger.

” What’s happening?” Christine screamed as the cobwebs fell from the trees and covered their heads and shoulders.

“Do not be afraid," the woman whispered.

Christine took a deep breath and used her hands to remove the webs from her face. They fell in a clump to the ground spreading out and revealing a radiant iridescent dress of spider's silk. She reached for the gossamer gown. It was lightweight and silky to the touch, unlike anything she had seen or felt before.

“This gown is yours when your spirit is purified,” the elder woman said as she gently took it from her hands and then she quietly disappeared into the shadows.

“What do I have to do to be purified?” Christine called out and woke up thrashing in her bed.

“ Are you alright?” Alex asked. He had gotten use to these seemingly lucid outbursts in the middle of the night. They had been married for over a year. He always listened carefully and could frequently help her make sense of her dreams. Their relationship was based on a familiarity and trust that seemed deeper than one lifetime could nourish.

“I think I met the Angel of Death,” she shivered as she tried to clear her head to speak.

“It sounds like you met an Angel alright,” he said after she revealed the dream “but this one doesn’t sound like death. At least not right away. It seems you have to do something between now and the time you claim that gown.”

“Yeah, I wonder what I have to do to purify my soul?” she wondered out loud.

“I’m not sure. Usually in dreams an apprentice is given several tasks that require extreme faith and absolute courage. Are you sure you remember everything?” he asked, “Did you recognize the graveyard, the conductor, the country… anything at all?”

“Nothing,” she said as she tried to recall more detail. She sat up on the edge of the bed. It was 4:00 A.M. and she knew she wouldn’t get back t sleep so she took out her journal and recorded all the detail she could remember. It was 5:30 before she began her morning rituals to get ready for the day. Not rituals like prayer or meditation, just the showering, brushing teeth, eating breakfast kind of things.

Christine went to work but the months were uneventful and each evening she fell into a deep sleep. Almost a year later she had the following dream.

The Second Dream

In this dream she was standing in the top room of a six-story building. The smell was putrid. Light from the new moon danced eerily through the dust streaked glass.

She could see the quick movement of a large tendril on the outside and then she heard a thud as it banged against the windowpane. When she turned to look she heard another thud from behind and then again on her left side. Then she heard the loud crash of breaking glass.

One window after the other smashed to the floor as several long thick tendrils broke into the room reaching for her, encircling a leg and then an arm. Christine screamed and tried to pull away from the creature.

She felt a hand on her right shoulder. It was her younger brother, Jeff. He held a two-handed double edge sword drenched in a bright golden light. He said, "Do not be afraid, this battle is mine.”

She scrambled to the center of the room to be as far away from the windows as she could and rolled herself into a ball to make herself as small as possible. Jeff fought the battle of his life. He swung the sword and cut one tendril, then another. As soon as he seemed to get the upper hand another one would crash through the glass and thrust itself into the room. He was close to exhaustion when the tendrils receded and the battle was done.

She ran to her brother and he let the sword drop to the floor. She reached for him but he was no longer there. She woke up sobbing. Alex held her until she was able to speak. “Something bad is going to happen to Jeff… but not before he fights the battle of his life.”

Within the week her brother was diagnosed with brain cancer. The doctor described the cancer as long tendrils covering the surface of his brain making it inoperable. Christine thought the dream meant he would fight the cancer and live but he died after a six-week battle. She was devastated from the loss and felt there was something she should have been able to do to protect him. “Why have these dreams if I can’t do something or warn someone?” she moaned to Alex.

The Third Dream

Christine was weary with grief after he passed and fell into a deep sleep. She was visiting Alex’s childhood home. In the dream his mom had recently passed away even though in real life she had been gone ten years. His sister was busy cleaning out the piles and piles of junk packed into the house. Stella, his oldest sister, met Christine at the door and said, “I’m glad you are here. I want to show you something in the back room.”

They walked through the living room to a back bedroom. The odor in the room was foul and swampy. Christine complained, “What is that smell?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Stella said, “jut follow me.”

She led her to the closet in the room. Slowly she opened the door and they walked through a smaller door through the back wall and then down a winding staircase. “Stella, I can’t breathe. I am going to have to go back.”

“Just a little bit further,” Stella urged.

Christine came around a corner and saw a glass case with the corpse of her mother-in-law. “Oh!” she exclaimed as she covered her mouth and nose. “Why did you preserve her body here instead of burying her? This stench is over powering. I need to get out of here.”

Just then her mother-in-law opened her eyes and said to Christine, “Not half as rotten as you!”

Christine jumped awake gasping for air. She was shaking violently.

“What happened?” Alex asked. “Christine, everything is okay, it was just a dream.”

She was crying so hard she couldn’t tell him what happened until several minutes later. When she finally could recall the dream she knew what she had to do. The next morning she made an appointment with the doctor. She had been seeing him because of a chronic pain in her lower back and abdomen. The doctor kept insisting the ailment was not serious and even suggested the pain was psychosomatic.

Today she said, “I hurt. You need to do something.”

The doctor agreed to an exploratory surgery and he scheduled it immediately. After the surgery he told her, “Your appendix had wrapped around your small intestines and gangrene had set in and everything smelled of rotting flesh. The infection would have killed you when the peritonitis spread through your abdominal cavity. You were minutes away from death. How did you know?”

Christine was going to tell him about her dream but didn’t want him to think she was crazy so kept it to herself but later she and Alex talked and talked. She was sure the dream was an intervention from above and that her mother-in-law saved her life.

The Fourth Dream

Christine had recoverd from surgery and had gone about her life for several years with no significant dreams but in this one she was walking up the pathway of her house. A young muscular man with long blond hair, dressed all in white, stood at the entry to one side. “What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

“No, but I know you. My name is Michael. I have something for you,” he said then gave her a hatchet.”

“What is that for?” she asked backing away from him.

He pointed to the tree growing in the yard next to the house. “You need to clear up some of these before we can talk again,” he said as he pointed to the tree.

Christine could see the tree was filled with branches. Several were putting pressure upon the roof of the house. It was obvious the tree needed to be pruned. “How will I know which branches to cut?” she asked.

“Cut out everything leaving only the main branches leading out of the trunk. You must remove all that is unnecessary so the remaining branches get the most nutrients and space to grow,” he said.

“Show me where to cut,” she pleaded but he was no longer standing there when she spoke. She took the hatchet to the tree and started cutting. She worked all night. When she woke up in the morning she was exhausted.

“I don’t think I’m getting up today,” she told Alex.

“Busy night?” he asked.

“I’ll tell you after I’ve had some rest. I need to sleep right now,” she pleaded.

It was several days before they talked. She decided she needed to simplify her life. She started cutting out negative relationships, clean out closets and cupboards, and got rid of all useless items. The process took several years.

The Fifth Dream

She had moved up in her job professionally and was giddy with the possibility of another promotion. She fell asleep one night and started dreaming right away. She was attending a large party. Her boss, who was the guest of honor, was nowhere to be found. Christine climbed the stairs and found her shivering in a corner. “Do you need help?” she asked.

“I can’t do this,” her boss, Dr. Halvert cried.

Christine helped her get up and carefully walked her down the stairs. Instead of staying for the party she escorted her to a limousine waiting at the curb. Christine climbed in with her.

“Where are we going?” asked Dr. Halvert.

“The driver is taking us to the big house,” Christine said.

“I’m too sick and weak to go to the big house,” Dr. Halvert whimpered.

“You’ll be okay. There will be people there who can help you,” Christine answered.

In a short time they pulled up to the big house. Dr. Chan greeted them and escorted them into the foyer. “Christine, you stay here, I must get Dr. Halvert upstairs so she can get ready.”

While Christine was waiting she noticed some hats and shawls on a hat rack close by. She reached for a large blue hat and wrapped a silk shawl around her shoulders. She felt a tap on her back, “These are not for you at this time,” Dr. Chan stated in a matter of fact tone. “This is all for Dr. Halvert.”

At that point Christine woke up.

By the end of the week the County announced that Dr. Halvert had been named superintendent of their district.

Christine didn't get a promotion until five years later.

The Sixth Dream

She had applications in for the promotion and was having trouble sleeping and that is when she had a dream about Jeff again. She and several other thousands of people including their families were heading across the water, to a large terminal and hotel. People were traveling out to the stadium to see a big football game.

Christine knew it would be overcrowded by the time they got there so Jeff suggested that instead of heading to the stadium they would just use one of the hotel rooms and watch it on T.V.

He saw one of the maids leaving Room 457, he caught the door before it locked and we settled in. Jeff went to take a bath. Christine was nervous. Two other members of the family were also in the room. She was so anxious about their breaking and entering she couldn’t see them clearly. I think it was Charlene and Bob. Jeff was bold after he took his bath. The bathroom was a mess with towels and water. The bathtub had a big ring around it. He said, “let’s order room service”. Even the other two thought he was too aggressive.

Christine knew they would get caught and didn’t want to have a criminal record for a stupid mistake. She went into a back room like a janitor’s closet then heard the front door open and the hotel security enter the room. Jeff was angry he wanted to know where his room service was. He and the family members were taken to a holding area in the basement of the hotel. Christine found them later and tried to think of ways to get them free. Jeff said, “No way… we’re going to make them let us go with no charges.”

Christine asked him how he planned to do it. He said, “ I’ve called my friends… they will cause havoc until they let us go.”

His friends were gathering. Their plans were to go in and destroy the furniture, reserve all the rooms and then cancel at the last minute, and to steal the silverware. He said that it was to be an aggressive, no nonsense confrontation of the establishment. He said they can’t keep us out any longer. This was our time and nothing but aggressive action would ever keep us out again.

Here was Christine's take on it…. She am applying for the promotion. She thought there are corporate forces trying to stop her. Jeff was saying don’t take no for an answer.

Christine and Alex decided her dreams seem to give messages or precognitive predictions of events to come but were not something she could control or even accurately interpret. She continued to dream, some more lucid than others. Her general rule was if someone was mentioned in the dream she contacted the person to see if everything was alright and used prayer as a way to guide her actions for the rest of her life.

A clairvoyant's gift, like the gossamer gown is fragile and a delicate gift to hold on to.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Dragon, Lion, and Magic Wand

“Go Jimmy,” Henry pleaded, “I can handle it from here!”

“I can’t leave you in this situation!” Jimmy shouted.

“Please!” Henry replied impatiently, “This is not the time to argue! Get back to camp and get help!”

It was bad enough the lion was threatening to attack but the dragon was still moving and Jimmy knew Henry would be lost if he didn’t get help immediately.

Jimmy heard the roar of the lion as ran out of the cave. He hesitated but forced himself to keep going to get help for his friend. The path was muddy from the steady rain but Jimmy pushed on, slipping and grabbing at the foliage. The drizzle blinded him but he put his head down and aimed for the clearing he knew existed up ahead.

Finally Jimmy saw the camp counselors. He ran to them gasping, “Hurry! Henry needs our help!”

“Whoa, fella, take a breath, where is Henry?” asked Jon

“You’ve got to come quick before it is too late!” screamed Jimmy. He grabbed Jon’s shirt and pulled him in the direction of the cave.

“Jimmy, we need more information before we go. What kind of trouble is Henry in?

“Just hurry!” cried Jimmy.

Without further discussion Jon hollered out, “Debi call the police! Ken, come with me!” Jon reached for an ax and Ken grabbed the first aid kit. “Show us where he is.”

Jimmy’s stomach felt like he had been kicked. He was gasping for breath by the time they reached the opening in the cave. Who could predict the explorations this morning could lead to this?

Now everything was strangely quiet. The rain had stopped and the last light was quickly fading. Jimmy wanted to see Henry but was afraid what he would find.

“Henry,” he called out breathlessly.

Henry came out of the cave with the body of the large green dragon draped over his shoulder, his right hand gently resting on the head of the lion, and the other hand holding the wand.

“I’m okay,” he said.

“What’s going on here?” Jon shouted as he lifted the ax.

Henry put down the dragon and said, “When Jimmy left I thought the lion was going to attack me. I looked for something to defend myself when the lion roared. Instead of coming for me he flew across the cave and ripped into the dragons’ flesh. The dragon landed in a heap on the floor."

"So you're okay?" Jon asked.

"That dragon was a balloon… just a large balloon!” Henry laughed.

“Wow, what about the lion?”

“I was startled when the dragon deflated and just sat on the ground staring at it, then the Lion started purring,” Henry said. “Do you believe that? He was purring. I reached over he licked my hand. He’s been friendly ever since.”

“… and the magic wand?” asked Jimmy.

Henry laughed, “It’s a prop. It appeared to be magical because the dragon seemed to obey my command. Remember how I pointed the wand at the dragon and it settled back to the ground? It was losing its buoyancy. There was no magic at all.”

“No way. Everything looked real,” Jimmy said shaking his head.

“Well, boys you’ve had quite an adventure for one day but we have to get back to camp before nightfall,” Ken reminded them.

Jon agreed, “Henry, can you move away from your friend?”

“Yes, but I’m bringing the dragon as a souvenir for Jimmy and me,” Henry replied.

“Yeah, like I want a souvenir. I would like forget this day ever happened,” mumbled Jimmy as they headed down the path.

Henry followed behind the others and took one last looked at the lion sitting at the cave’s entrance. Then he carefully positioned the punctured dragon over his shoulder and let out a deep sigh struggling to carry his trophy back to camp.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Labyrinth In The Rock Garden

Stephanie Evans needed to improve sales at the general store she inherited from her Uncle Leo. It used to be a successful venture but since the interstate diverted traffic, business was reduced to keeping the dilapidated 1940’s artifact from falling apart.

When she arrived her inventory consisted of the essentials, candy, beer, and cigarettes. She figured she had one more season before all her faithful customers would be dead. Stephanie didn’t know how old they were but they all looked past their expiration date. Actually, they looked dried up and awful.

She left her fast-paced life in Los Angeles when she got news of her inheritance. At thirty- four it was an easy decision to leave a boyfriend who was cheating on her, a mortgage that was strangling her, and a job with little time for normal things like free weekends, and uninterrupted evenings. Perhaps she acted like a rat escaping from a burning building but here she was… still a rat… now roasting in the Arizona sun. She decided, if life was out to get you, running away was only running toward a differnt location to suffer the same fate.

“Damn, it’s hot out here,” she said fanning herself with the, ”Open,” sign before attaching it to the front door.

Not that the sign made much difference. Most mornings she spent dusting and sweeping the store and serving the few customers who showed up. Business in the afternoons was even slower.

“Maybe I can spruce up the yard,” she said out loud. She had started talking to herself almost as soon as she arrived. She didn’t know if it was the affects of the sun and heat or the fact she was alone so much of the time. Whatever… she decided, even if her business was doomed, she could make the yard look inviting.

She found a cluster of medium size rocks she could lift by hand and brought them in to outline her property. Initially she thought she would accentuate the boundary by painting the rocks white but decided to leave them in their natural state. “Arizona au natural by Stephanie,” she laughed out loud. “I guess that’s better than Stephanie au natural in Arizona,” she laughed again.

She was careful to cover herself with a large straw hat and loose fitting white cotton top to keep the sun off her skin as much as possible but even with these precautions she noticed her skin was starting to brown... and wrinkle.

Stephanie discovered time in the desert slowed down and stretched out. So with few distractions she got lost in her pursuit of rocks. She was sure there were scientific names for them like igneous, granite, and sandstone but being less academic she made distinctions in shape, weight and texture and started looking for smooth rounded rocks and sharp angular rocks and piled them on top of each other to build random sculptures throughout the yard.

Some of her customers were inspired by her efforts and dug through their collections to offer her crystals and fool’s gold to add a little sparkle to her structures. Before long they were also clearing areas beside her store to create sculptures of their own. They even used the activity as an outing when their families and friends came to visit.

That’s how she met Cherie James. Cherie was sent to spend the summer with her grandparents as a cheap rehab stint. When she arrived she was pierced, tattooed and hostile but with nothing else to do she came to the garden and started piling rocks. She was strong for her 115 pounds and used simple tools to drag and manipulate some large boulders.

Stephanie thought Cherie's ancestors must have built the pyramids.

One of Cherie’s sculptures was a triangle rock weighing over a hundred pounds yet somehow she was able to set it up on its narrowest point. She dug a hole in the ground, to stabilize it and stand it upright. She found a large spherical rock and placed it on the triangle stone, then balanced a flat rectangular rock on the rounded surface. She finished off her masterpiece by balancing a cylinder shaped rock right on top.

Stephanie thought it would fall but it didn’t.

Cherie built several more, each more precarious than the last but all solid. None of them ever fell.

Cherie went home clean and sober. According to her grandmother Cherie was back in school, and was on track to graduate in June. She even wanted to go to college. Her grandmother swore it was the desert experience that gave her the practice she needed to find true balance in her life.

Then there was Joshua Stiles, a young widower with three sons. When Stephanie met him he was consumed with cancer. His parents didn’t expect him to make it through the winter. They worried about him being out in the sun but he insisted on making his mark, leaving something for his boys. He considered it his headstone. Josh chose flat circular rocks for his sculpture. He took his boys out to the dried rivers and streams to find the right ones. Their day trips took them up into the mountains but in the late afternoons and evenings he built his tower alone. Each layer was slightly smaller than the one before it.

Stephanie didn’t know how he did it but he was able to build a six-foot tower. Strong. Perfectly balanced. He engraved the following words in the base: Have The Courage To Aim High. Joshua Stiles 1992. He died at the end of the year. Each of his sons have since come back and built their own six foot towers next to their dad’s.

Early one morning Lenore Valdez showed up at Stephanie’s door. She looked disorientated and confused. She said she needed directions to get back on the highway but she wanted to know about the rock garden and if there were any restrictions and rules for building. When Stephanie assured her it was free to anyone who wanted to enter, Lenore asked permission to build something.

With Stephanie’s blessing Lenore went to work constructing a circular edifice. She built an arched doorway for an entry and then piled rocks in a semi circle to build the surrounding wall and a dome like roof. In retrospect Stephanie said it was something about the safety of the rocks, their coolness against the desert heat that must have comforted her because when it was done she crawled in and fell asleep.

When she didn’t emerge from the alcove by nightfall Stephanie went out to look for her and found Lenore lying in a fetal position inside the womb like space. Stephanie woke her up and they talked the rest of the night.

Lenore told about how her uncle assaulted her when she was thirteen and how she had struggled to keep it a secret all these years, but tonight in the garden, in her little fort, she felt safe for the first time. She finally revealed the secret of her rape and cried for her loss of innocence and her shame.

She came back several times throughout the years and was the one who discovered the labyrinth. She insisted that path was revealing itself in the garden and must be marked for others to walk. When it was finished she wrote the following words on a wooden sign she posted at its entry. “This path is one of intuition and faith. It inevitably takes you where a map can’t show. Each person must find his or her own way. Interested participants can begin their journey here. Take time to pray and meditate… miracles await.”

Stephanie was surprised how in five short years the property around old Uncle Leo’s general store had taken on a surrealistic appearance in the desert landscape. Word of mouth traveled far and visitors came to take a turn in this desert garden. Most didn’t say why they wanted to work but in the meditative silence they became engrossed in this strenuous physical activity and found serenity. More importantly they felt they were leaving something of themselves behind.

Some of the towers would topple and another builder would come and reassemble a structure to their own unique vision. Yet other pieces, like Cherie’s, could withstand the windstorms and rain and remain standing year after year. The space had an organic ebb and flow changing like the desert sands.

Some participants took pictures of their work and posted them on their web pages. The more ambitious hung around for a few days to capture the right light to portray the sculptures at different times of the day and year and one even compiled a calendar. A church group set up torches to have night viewings and prayer services. They left her poetry and songs and suggested Stephanie sell them in her store to help support this sacred place.

Last year a photojournalist stopped to ask Stephanie if he could take pictures for an article he wanted to write for his travel magazine. After the pictures were published more tourists came to see the sculptures. The labyrinth was completed by then and many opted to walk the path and view the artwork displayed throughout the garden. The experience seemed to have a profound effect on the travelers. Of course if anyone wanted to build there was always plenty of rocks and space somewhere in the yard.

Stephanie now gives tours and sells folk art along with a few groceries. She rarely talks to herself anymore because she has plenty of company. Most of her regular customers are still alive and stop by frequently. Their skin is still dried and wrinkled but she loves the crevices like the alluvial fans and rock surfaces of her beloved desert. She has discovered there is something in the desert air that awakens the spirit, opens the mind, preserves the heart and lets the body go on forever.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Language of Love

Some say the language of love is universal

but if this is true why is divorce so rampant?

Obviously something is not being communicated effectively.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,”

My mother's words suggest that becoming a good cook

is an effective way to attract a man and keep him

for a lifetime, but if he gets too fat it's bad for his heart

and that can’t be good for love in the long run.

“He never says, I love you.”

A frequent complaint but for some,

the words of love are the entry port

for the feelings of love to take hold

and without them all other efforts are worthless.

Time invested in romance is good for the soul.

“Can’t she tell I love her by all that I do?”

For many men actions of love

speak louder than words and are envied

by women who are married to a man

who doesn’t know how to work with his hands.

Open your eyes to recognize when love is given.

“For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…”

These words are part of the wedding vows, but hard to keep

when the partner gets sick or loses his job.

How does love triumph when things go sour

and how does it sustain itself when it’s not reciprocal

in a communication style each person understands?

Thursday, January 6, 2011


What is it to trust another person -
to know, no matter what -
he will be there for you?

Unconditional love is most profound
when you can live in perfect confidence
because love triumphs … absolutely.

Whatever task I have to do,
simple ones like building things,
I know you will do your part,
actually go beyond what's been asked,
and like magic the job gets done.

The invisible areas of trust let me know
that when I falter you’ll pick me up,
when I doubt, you will buoy my confidence,

I can take chances and make mistakes because
I trust you, and know you will be there,

no matter what.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can You Hear The Angels?

Church history tells us there are nine order of angels:

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues,

Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.

All are available to do god’s work

some on earth and others in heaven.

There are records of heavenly visits

to Abraham, Jacob, Sara,

Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph

modern saints report them less often

although Joseph Smith said he heard an angel,

whose words influenced his actions

and from them he built a church.

Modern times with advanced technology

seem to discard the possibility

that god would intercede in our lives

...but supplications require faith

Have you heard the angels lately?

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Wedding

Bride and groom embrace,
then kiss at their wedding.

The guests watch in anticipation
they can tell from their
looks and body posture

if this marriage will last.
It shouldn’t be so easy
but even the novice gets it right

whether it is a day, a year, a life
witnesses who gather on these occasions know
and are not surprised if the marriage vows
are soon forgotten and the once happy couple

becomes a sad tale of conflict and strife

or builds a bond, made in heaven,
with a loving husband
and a content wife.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tornado Alley

Every season a new reason as to why I don’t
move to the Midwest, another swath of homes
demolished in the path of a tornado.

How many tornados can one person endure
when they’ve had enough
and move to a place
where life is a little safer?

I wouldn’t want California
because of earthquakes,
Florida is out with all those hurricanes,
northern states are not any better
with blizzards and extreme weather.

Where is a place where I
could be safe from natural disasters?

It appears Nevada
is one of the safest states
as long as I can stand flash floods
in winter, blazing heat in summer,
possible financial devastation
and a likely gambling addiction.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions

As the year spreads out ahead
what resolutions will I make?

Most dreams I have achieved
marriage, family, travel and work
but now it seems, later in life,
everything I’ve strived for
is starting to unravel.

I’ve got to hunker down and really think
because there is little I truly want
no other goal to achieve.

Nothing else to explore
every relationship is now a burden
people want or need something
I don't have to give
or they want to cause pain
which I can't endure.

What resolutions make
it worthwhile to stick around?

I think I’ll take this year to get in touch
with source energy and learn
to respond to the voice
deep inside and act accordingly.