Monday, October 6, 2014

Is this is the very first grave in Pere Lachaise? Its on top of a hill, towards the back and near Edith Piaf. The legend? A 5 year old orphaned girl. Our guide ( yes, they have impromptu guides at the cemetery, Pere Lachaisians, they call themselves, old men, who gallop you across markers and tell bawdy stories about the cemetery as well as ones guaranteed to make one cry a little. I would imagine some of it is true. Ive spent a little time doing some research and it doesn't seem to be true that this is an actual grave. what I would say is that following Gerard around is a wonderful, entertaining and interesting way to spend a rainy day in Paris.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The lame deer walked across the road in front of me, her fawn, dappled with snowflakes the shape of small moons leading her, waiting for her. I saw a small child with a sick mother, waiting, understanding even without knowing;
loving without understanding. 

The fawn waited. The lame one, the large doe, ribs showing and left front hoof destroyed and flipping over with every step needed time between each step to recover and prepare for the pain it caused. I wanted to approach her and use my hands to comfort her. I wanted to have them both lay down on the lawn of my neighbors and with my hands feel for the injury, perhaps make a cast, or an ace wrap, tell her RICE, give her my recliner and get an xbox for the fawn and let them live in the living room until her foreleg healed. 

As I stood there with my bicycle helmet on,  I gave her care from my heart in a straight beam that was as much love as I could send anyone and she moved slowly towards the next vine maple that her child was also enjoying, I felt my heart burst from care and knew that tears were coming too, so before I scared them and she felt compelled to run which would have caused me more sadness watching her suffer,  I turned the bike around and went home. When I saw my husband I started to cry from that place from deep and he tried to comfort me but I wanted,  no needed to cry.

I thought later of the people I had worked with these past few days, the Korean woman with the bad lungs who died 40 minutes after extubation; the drunk who fell and broke his neck and lastly, the sweet woman with no family, who had left everything to the caregiver who was a little afraid the family would balk. All of them, dead.  I saw daughters faces as parents lie in bed, gray faced and panting, no amount of morphine going to stop the dead breathing we all have, the breath of a gasping fish. We call it guppy breathing, us old ICU nurses and who ever hears it knows immediately what we mean.

I can’t help the lame deer. I know she lives behind Johns house and feels safe there, but she will probably not make it through the winter. The baby will lose its moon drop spots and grow, hopefully. At night I expect to hear the raucous noise soon of the coyotes, celebrating their next big feast. And I hope its one not two. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I returned home this week from a glorious camping trip. I don't know why I love living outside so. I doubt when I was a young girl and I envied the girls who got to come home and play in their school clothes, complete with knee socks and penny loafers and skirts, that I would be the one to really love living outside and sleeping on the ground.
We went to the Hoh River and found a site at a DNR campground. DNR campgrounds are free if you have a discover pass so they tend to fill up quickly. We were lucky that we were "chosen" to be a member of their tribe. Several of the residents were living there, sort of. When we drove through looking for a spot everything as taken. We were a bit dismayed as it was getting late on a Friday afternoon. As we were rounding the corner, a woman, about my age, maybe a little older ran through a campsite to let us know that one of the sites was being "saved" and that we could have it. She told us we looked like the kind of people who would belong.

Its not easy for me to find my tribe. All my life I have felt just a little bit different that anyone else. I seem to be a jumble of paradoxical information that all makes perfect sense to me. But here, we were chosen by her. She introduced herself and as the days progressed we found out more about Marge and Mel and Eddy and realized that while I might not have had anything in common with them on the surface, the real glue that held us together was our love of the land and water, and our basic humanity and deep human kindness.

Marge ended up giving us a book she had written on spiritual seeking. She reminded my husband of Peace Pilgrim.
A woman who walked for 28 years for peace. I don't know if Marge was her, but sitting around the campfire, talking about the Perseid's and how a board game she developed and plays with friends over email to promote deep conversations about beliefs and stir thought pretty amazing. Her book is delightful, inclusive and deeply connected. I hope to find more immortals like Marge as I travel this earth. Marge identifies herself as immortal, doesn't give her age or other identifying information. she believes, as I do that the soul never ends. It just keeps seeking. Of course, given the work I do in Palliative Care it brings me to wondering about the nature of death. If our souls persist, then what is death, the act of death like?

What if dying feels like this? What if the very nature of our beings is to manifest in color, fire and spread? What if our nature is to ramble and flow, a life giving force in itself? With love

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This evening I met with the man who has been teaching the writing class at our local senior center. Im not quite a senior. I imagine I have to retire to be a "true" senior, but I am old enough to take a class at the senior center. The class was 8 weeks long, meeting once a week on Tuesday evenings. There were 8 people in the class, all of us close in age, sort of.

The class was a a mixed bag of prompts and critique with an occasional lesson thrown in. The strength of the teacher? His amazing honesty and critical eye for what is good and believable about everyone's writing. He was able to get it through my head that my writing is worth reading by someone. For so many years, I have been paralyzed by reading brilliant writing. I then felt my writing could only be shared if it was perfect.

 I now believe I am a writer because I write. Is everything perfect? No. Are some things worthwhile? Maybe. Do I have fun doing it? YES!! A big YES.  What a gift to be given by another writer.

 Writing and sharing writing is not about an ego trip as much as its about sharing yourself for the joy of it and to build community  with others. Its another way we extend a hand out to someone, either by making them laugh, or cry, or just saying hmmm or ahhhh. It allows someone who reads to recognize themselves in someone else.