Holding a skinny leash, a woman walking a tiny black and white terrier
navigated the trail around another middle aged woman who awkwardly wielded
a giant silver reflector. A Nikon dangled from the strap around the
2nd woman’s neck. “I hope you get some good shots” said the woman with
her dog. “It’s fleeting” she quietly added. It sounded like an afterthought.
The dog was wearing a teal and orange striped sweater and he seemed familiar
with their route as he took tiny uphill steps. The photographer’s subject,
a teenage boy in a buffalo plaid flannel shirt, tentatively made his way
along the shore and stood on a rock, turning to face the camera. His back
was to the stream as he positioned himself for the photo, and behind him,
on the far side of the creek, the trees were dancing in fall glory. Umber,
crimson, jade, saffron. The colors simultaneously blending and distinct.
This background created a dreamy contrast to the boy’s JCrew plaid and
sheepish expression. He uncomfortably stared at his sneakers as the woman
fiddled with her camera, the shiny giant frisbee temporarily blocking the
path as I tried to pass. “I’m in the way” she said as she stooped to pull
the reflector out of my way and I stepped closer to the boy and around the
woman. Maybe this was his senior portrait being orchestrated, I thought.
Or, more likely, just a son humoring his mother and her hobby on a overcast
Saturday afternoon. The dog walkers whisper, “it’s fleeting,” echoed as I passed.

Brave Women

3 women talk in an office cluster.
“Being brave is excruciatingly hard, but
It’s like jumping off a high dive. It’s terrifying
The First time, but then gets easier until the
Board is no longer high.”

“Or jumping into a cold pool,” Says another.
“It gets more bearable with each jump until
It’s no longer cold.”

These are brave women who were 50s babies,
60s children, 70s teens. They’ve forgotten their
Past acts of heroism, surviving each decade, with
No idea how they appeared in middle age.
Grandmothers now, they’ve maneuvered the
Trials of their children’s lives, while trailing a
Wake of lost loves, broken and recast families,
Reinvented lives, their courage buoyed by
Cherished friends. Brave women who
Navigate with passion and love, yearning
To wring out every drop.

Flooding Rain

On a different day this would be a warm comfort
seeking Earl Grey and oatmeal cookie, soft blanket
wrapping, fall Friday afternoon. But today, I watch as
a flooding rain pours out its heart to match my mood.
Today is another mournful autumn day in a repeating
pattern of bleak mournful days. Today I watch the
cold soaking torrents puddle atop saturated earth
unable to absorb another drop. Today, I feel as saturated
as the earth. Is numbness setting in? Has the time come
when I can’t absorb another breaking horror story?
Is there a moment when there’s no more room for the
grief for the dead? Or for the sadness and disbelief at
young men filled with hate wielding wartime weapons,
shooting down college students and congregants and
moviegoers and Oh-my-God it could not have been true, but
was, little first graders? Sweet grandchildren, learning
to read and tie tiny shoes, shot down in classrooms
decorated with ABCs and dinosaur cutouts. And still
supposedly civilized men with grandchildren of their
own argue for the guns and not the children. Please, I
don’t want to let numbness set in. Can we make the
tipping-point today? A day when the sky mourns and the
citizens rage and few seem to stomach the “guns don’t
kill…” bullshit. Or is it just another day to be spent
hiding wrapped in a blanket watching sad puddles form
on sodden earth in helpless despair, and overflowing sorrow.