We had an assignment to write about light. 

speed of light.
an owl lit out from the barnyard squawking.
a mouse flitted from the pasture to the tall green stalks of corn.
Did not know her days were numbered.
the bitty mouse.
She will be bit as mice will bite.
and no one

This dream.  Poetry is a dream. why do we dream?
why do i dream? Anxiety dreams?

that i am late for school/work.

that i will forget my lines.

i cannot stop dreaming
i must let go of my anxiety dreams. Before I fall asleep, I tell myself, have a happy sleep, no more worries…

I started this blog post on the Mariandale Retreat in Westchester – a break from my mad dash
cycling, cycling to get to my next big thing,
to my next place

How can I have ease? i would like to know
i know i am only responsible for myself. i know this intellectually, but i also feel i am responsible for all of you. that your happiness depends on me.
who is this YOU? any passerbys, i offer a smile. any family member, i will rent a car and drive you. any friend, i will make a date and meet you. any bank clerk, i will greet you with kindness.

and i feel a tension in my shoulders. i retreated because i needed to remember this:
’tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free.
and this:

every single person needs to keep beauty on their map
because there is more to this life than bread and water
we need to play, to immerse ourselves in nature, to have strength
we need to dive in to beauty as if into a pool.

lose ourselves. To find ourselves.

every single day, at the retreat and now at home, i set out to walk for an hour. I heard a neurologist at the Rockefeller University say we need this. this is the secret to happiness – walk an hour a day. but i usually walk for 40 minutes.

And i try to make art every day.

i wanted to light out like the owl from the barn.
i wanted to take flight and swoop down to carry the mouse back to the nest. the hungry tots. but there is also the owl that loves to fly farther and farther
and swoop into the currents of the air stream
the stream in the air
diving and dipping
when the lights dwindle and the stars poke through like mice. a little twinkle, a little glimmer, a little field of effervescence. And there it is:
the ineffableness of you
the secret of you
the only you
the way to find the most of you.

i was tired and lay down
and i lay by the river and i drifted to a deeper sleep and no one ever came to wake me.
and some day i will sleep, but until then I will fly.

On Retreat

Leaving beautiful NYC today.


I need a minute to unwind with a magazine or a walk or a good long conversation with a friend. (Or even the discovery of a cozy quiet corner to go back to work on my big project.)

When my kids were little, my friend K.P. told me that every year she tried to get away for a retreat – I think she mentioned Kirpalu. But the expense!

When I was on salary as a staff writer, biz trips served as a retreat in a way. I could focus solely on work. I didn’t have to cook meals or clean up.

I don’t really travel for work anymore, living the freelance life. So I’ve joined the lovely St. Paul and St. Andrew community for a day apart.

Here are some pics from Quinipet on Shelter Island.





Ghost Ranch

I’ve wanted to visit Ghost Ranch forever. I’ve heard it’s a wonderful retreat. I’ve wondered if they need writers in residence. I could report on what goes on there.

Here are a couple of things I would report on from this weekend:

A Men’s Wellness Group

There was an Iron John feeling when we pulled into the retreat center. Maybe 10 men sat in about six circles talking. And it looked, from a distance, although it’s hard to tell, that they were talking about their feelings. Love it! Men talking about feelings. Go figure. So cool and sexy.

The group meets annually, one of the women told us. A previous topic had been Fathers (capital F). This weekend’s session was on Women (capital W). So, for the first time, the men had invited the women to the Men’s Wellness Group to discuss relationships, sexuality and expectations. I would’ve liked to be a part of those conversations.

A Funeral

Another group was leaving. They were dressed in western wear. Yes, this was New Mexico but it was dressy western wear. There was a lot of hugging too. They seemed more familial than the Men’s Wellness group.

It turns out the dozens of dressy/casual folks were attending a memorial.

“I’m sorry,” I told the woman who was loading a saddle into her car.

“No,” she said. “It was his time. He’s in a better place. We’re going now to spread his ashes on the bluffs.”

The Meditative Path

My sister in law and brother in law and I talked about death as we walked down a sandy path.

We walked the labyrinth. At the center of the labyrinth, you can leave a talisman or a symbol. There was a feather, a pin, a tea bag, a rock. I searched my pockets, thinking I had nothing on me.

But then from my back pocket, I pulled out a scrap I had ripped out of the New York Times a few days earlier. I’d been carrying this quote around with me.

If there is any positive message at all in the narrative it is that life is a tragedy filled with suffering and despair and yet some people do manage to avoid jury duty. – Woody Allen

I left Woody Allen in the center of the labyrinth at Ghost Ranch.


The sky was brilliant blue in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The one narrow cloud might have been the cloud stream from a high-flying jet. One of my daughters calls that white line in the sky, a skyscraper. I don’t have the heart to correct her. That trail of white cloud looked exactly like it’d been scraped into the sky.