Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Last night the moon came in for a nice long visit. It was wonderful to sit in the comfort of her soft glow. I made a nice fire this morning and left 10-10 to enjoy it for me. Wallis and I went to Grand Rapids on important errands and we also stopped at 3 second hand stores. I got some books for Cedar and me. Wallis got baskets and stuffed toys for her grands. I also found an Eiffel Tower stick pin that went right to my red beret.
I'm working in the garden again and Cedar is my loyal little helper. Then we took a break and snacked on cranberry juice and cheese crackers. After that we went and got Wallis and we all ate at the Community Cafe. Now Cedar and 10-10 are asleep on the sofa. I am listening to the soundtrack "Out of Africa". Tomorrow I must get some curtains up.

Monday, March 29, 2010


March 27, 2010. I've begun my new project entitled "Travels with the Red Beret". My aim is to be photographed in many places wearing the red beret which I purchased in Paris during my recent visit to France.
Mae S had become wrinkle conscious. She wrote in her journal, "... I have to face wrinkles, the first sign of old age. It's not easy to accept, but I remind myself that they do not really diminish the beauty of an old face."
When I went to the carnival at King school I had my RB photo taken near the red wagon for which I purchased two raffle tickets. I almost never win so it's my donation to the fund raiser. Cedar posed with me as she had her hair spray colored and her face painted for the event. Geezis was our photographer.
Then we went out to camp and I had my RB photo taken in the smoke and steam. Grandson Colter was there. I almost didn't recognize him as he has grown so much. I got a big hug from big Gabe and had a little chat with Terry, too. Then Wallis and I went back to Deer River with two buckets of syrup and a bag of dry wood.
I started trying to organize my photos on the laptop. I downloaded a photo program but I am not very good with it, yet.

March 28, 2010. Today is Chey's birthday (1984) so Cedar and I wrapped second hand treasures. She wrote the card and decorated it with dog stickers. You can never have too many dogs at a party. So Chey had a sugar bush birthday party. Faith came out with Freda and Autumn and an assortment of grands.
Cedar and I emptied cans near the camp. Then she quit and left me to the quiet task. I had a forever moment! It happened as I stood between two trees with sap dripping into newly emptied cans. The eager dripping melody from one to the other held me somehow astonished to be a participant in this serenade. I heard the voices of four generations moving through the forest like a wave of humanity. The voices were punctuated by the drips as we gathered sap, enjoyed the lovely day and being together in the moment.

March 29, 2010. The big event of the day is the window! It is in place! It opens! It closes! It has a screen! I made a ripping fire and it's popping grandly. But the starter paper offered some interesting new from Jan 11, 2009. It reported that two rescued horses were moved into some empty stalls at the stables on Graceland. The horses are named Max and Bandit. Oh, Elvis would have liked that!
The "Kalavela" also made news that day. As you may know the Kalavela is the Finnish national epic. It is considered to have a place with the great literature of Europe. Several years ago I saw a play entitled "Dream of the Salmon Maiden". It was based on a story in the Kalavela. It was a wonderful experience and I shall never forget how the young woman flung herself into the river and was accepted into the salmon nation.
Mae S wrote on the 28th, "... the landscape is gloomy this season in Maine, brown and dank... the maple syrup season has been good this spring (1983)." We can say the same! We've had a generous flow and will pull taps on Wednesday. The sugar bush demands much of us and it will be nice to close camp and move on to other things that have been waiting for attention. Annie made sugar cakes for the first time. They are nearly as good as my mother's legendary cakes. People would drive from Red Lake to purchase the few that she could spare. It wasn't just the incredible flavor but a feeling that you were biting into a delicately pure kind of decadence. My cakes were always hard and brittle and not at all the stuff of legend. The carpenters and I agree wholeheartedly that people who tap their own trees and boil their own sap cannot appreciate the maple syrup that comes from the grocery store. It does sound snobbish to say but it almost makes me sick to think of putting that stuff on a pancake.

Friday, March 26, 2010


And did you know I once walked the Kenwood Hills district of Mpls embracing trees? Yes, I offered each a word of encouragement and appreciation. I left several stunned by a human kiss! Now I think they are waiting for my return... hoping for an embrace... longing for a kiss.
Not long ago I walked up the middle of one of those long streets because the sidewalks were snowed under and the street had been plowed. I wore a red goose down coat. The tall trees almost touched overhead. Their high branches laden with new snow. I thought I was a painting of a snowy day... "Woman in a Red Coat". I can still fell the snow under me, over me and all around.
When we were in France Laura took the train to Aix. She ran into heavy snow and saw an amazing thing... hundreds of pink flamingos standing in a snow storm! What an image had been caught in her memory. Then she put the image before me and it became my memory, too.
Sugar bush camp was quiet and peaceful until Annie and the kids arrived. Geezis and I prepared the hot dogs. I never eat wieners unless they have been charred over a smoky fire. The kids put some wood in my trunk. Then Wallis and I left. She didn't feel well and had to pick up her meds. later we went to Sammy's in Grand Rapids for a homecoming supper.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The sky is bright and as I breathe it up I think I am becoming a sky blue woman. I'm practising how to breathe deliciously. One breath completes a cycle. repeat four times for a cycle of five. Method = four short puffs of breath on inhalation and one long one to fill the lungs. Reverse to empty the lungs.
My book order came today! Mary O, "Though I am an old fashioned sort of person, who knows only the kind of blackberries that grow on bushes, I can't deny my own joy and appreciation at the salvation of voices otherwise vanishing into the unknowable darkness. Therefore this second CD." Now i have #1, "At Blackwater Pond" and #2, "Many Miles". I also got "Salute to Spring" by Meridel Le Sueur. Of this collection of 12 short stories Carl Sandburg wrote glowingly. Nelson Algen wrote, "She is one of the very few revolutionary writers who combines a powerful realism and a deep sense of beauty."
Mae S. was hungry for earth, lonesome for the soil, yearning for her garden. "So far nothing has happened outside but cold and more cold, so my hopes that I could get some gardening done are shattered. It was 16 degrees this morning. Yesterday it snowed in North Carolina. Unbelievable." Today we are in the low 20's so I am not in the garden either. But I purchased some seeds last week and when I passed the barrel planters I blinked three times and for a moment they were filled and spilling over with pink petunias.
From an old journal, Sept. 17, 2009 AB (After Brandon). "When I opened this book, oh God, it was a brutal kick to my soft old gut. I burst into tears when I saw his name (Brandon) and the old grief was new again." I had also written, "When I sleep there is no escape from the horror of murder and death. They go on into my dreams," Feb. 2007.
The house is filled with the sweetness of boiling maple syrup. The trees are at full flow but because of the fire danger we are pulling taps on Sunday and closing camp. We are afraid of a fire. It wouldn't be the first time but it could be the worst time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Mar 23. 6:20 AM. Got the fire going and filled the slow cooker with good stuff for supper. Cleaned house, got clothes dried and folded, stacked lumber, cleared some floor space in the garage. Wallis came over to pick up gifts for herself and Marcelus and Lamaya. I began reading "The English Patient". I softened some small bits of dry dog food in milk for 10-10. He slurped up the milk then snarfed down the tidbits. I also gave him some of that good soup and a piece of cooked pork. He ate it all! It's been a long day. Too tired to stay up with the young people. They were watching "The Great Escape" when I toddled home with 10-10. Yes, Tenn-Tenn's name has been shortened again to 10-10. He loves it. He thinks it means he has surpassed perfection.

Mar 24. I'm sharing this small chair with 10-10 as my fire is not doing well and the house is still cold. He finds my warmth his delight. Tea and toast for me. Milk and softened tidbits for 10-10. Before leaving for Florida I broke another tooth. It cracked into 3 pieces. It didn't bother me too much so I didn't do anything for it. This morning one of the upper front teeth chipped. I was eating toast! My teeth are getting so brittle and hopeless.
Mae Sarton was happy on the 22nd. "I am happy because I feel alive and well and in a constant state of expectation before each day." I too, live each day in a happy state of expectation.
Now that the big items have been stowed I'm addressing the small stuff that I've collected since late November. Things like photos, post cards, letters, journals, cancelled stamps, theater tickets, programs, stickers, book marks, gum wrappers. What? Yes, Black Jack chewing gum was my grandfather Vanoss' favorite gum. I purchased a package at Burch Drug and could not discard the wrappers.
While I was gone Justice had his name tattooed across his back from shoulder to shoulder. I'm not into body art but do enjoy creating wearable art. Today I shortened a pair of velour pants that Aina gave me and added pieces of Angeline's old blouse to the legs. I will wear them tomorrow.
I can smell the subtle fragrances of the wood I burn. I find it on my hands when I sit down to read. Two or three pieces turn my fingers to potpourri. I inhale it at night and lose myself in a forest wild and wonderful where I wander until dawn.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Karen came and got me at Ann's. We managed to get all my stuff in her little car and soon we were on the road to Crosby. Once there we moved everything to Ellie's car and continued on to Deer river. Within three minutes of my arrival the Redd Shedd was bursting with welcome from loved ones.
It took a long time to warm up the house. but it's warm now. Yesterday I accepted responsibility for a small stray dog. Annie has been caring for him for 2 weeks so he is slowly recovering from hunger and neglect. The vet said he is grossly malnourished and has trouble eating because of malformed teeth. He also has sores in his mouth which may help to explain his chronic starvation. I fed him today and he ate very little. I will get soft dog food when I go to the store.
I must have missed the woodpile because I was singing an outrageously happy melody as I brought the wood into the house and stirred the ashes with a smile. Yesterday was international poetry day so I have decided to name the dog Lord Alfred Tennyson. His short name will be Tiny Tenn. I'll call him Ten-Ten.
While making space for clothing I came upon my Halloween costume from 2008. I think I should pass it on. Is anyone interested in the Hong Kong Madame costume?
The car has been sitting outside all winter but started easily today. Cedar and I went shopping for food. Ten-Ten helped himself to a shoulder roast when I went to do the laundry. I'd left the groceries on the floor while the refrigerator cooled. That dog is smarter than I am!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Today is Poetry Day. Poetry can be celebrated around the world. Read a poem. Write a poem. Send me a poem.
Ann has introduced me to the music and songs of Krishna Das. It began with "Flow of Grace", chanting the Hanuman Chalisa. Hanuman is a powerful, compassionate being, "son of wind, a fire to consume the forest of evildoers, destroyer of the darkness of ignorance, in whose wide heart resides Sri Ram, the holder of the bow." Tulsi Das, Hindu poet-saint of the 16th century.
It happened one night long ago that I dreamed I was in a holy place. In fact, I was sitting on the hem of Creator-Creator's great gold robe. Thousands of others were with me. People of all nations in all manner of attire were softly speaking in their own tongues. We were arranged in a circle facing Creator-Creator who sat elevated at the center. It seemed we were all equal but some sat very close while others were far away. Peaceful patience prevailed among these devotees of prayer and devotion. It was so comfortable that I wondered what we sat on and found the robe cool and smooth, it was firm but also soft. I was so far from the center that I could not see what Creator-Creator looked like. I could not see which direction Creator-Creator faced. I sat content in the presence of unconditional love, bathed in the glow of grace, at peace, in joy, at one.
I was up at 7 AM and noticed that in the shadows that held the morning at bay a small crack appeared and allowed a narrow shaft of light to splash the dark bark of the brittle old tree just beyond the high wood fence. For several gracious golden minutes it stood bathed in crisp morning light. Now it stands in shadow but we, the tree and I, remember how for one splendid moment it stood bathed in the glow of grace. I wonder where that light will fall tomorrow. Does the tree wonder with me? No, I think the tree is simply waiting... ready to accept the shadow or the light.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today is the first day of spring. And on such a day it seemed there was something that must be done to honor this event and enrich my journey. So I pressed the sky against my face and knew that I must do what must be done. Yes, I would replace my old and loyal digital Nikon camera with a smart new Canon. I'll give the Nikon to Wallis. I pray it carries her out upon a quest of finding the images that will nurture her spirit on the journey before her.
I went up to 404 to give my goodbye to Norma. She has serious health concerns and must have a biopsy. She is experiencing abdominal distress and feels her age as never before. She was born in 1919, as was my mother. She is 89. Just think... my mother was 19 when I came along.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Fess Parker, 85, died today of natural causes. He appeared on the movie screen when I was about 12. He also made a name for himself on TV. He seemed like a pretty good guy in his heroic roles as coon-capped/buck-skinned frontier characters. Mae S did not write today but on 3-17 she penned... "what one dreams of is opportunity for all." On the 14th she found herself lamenting at having "reached a dead end." Yes, some dead ends are undesirable. However, very soon I shall arrive at the "dead end" where I will find myself welcomed with joy! Our home is located on such a road. I never had a particular regard for that old road until now... when I yearn toward it. I feel it tugging at my hands and feet, my arms and legs. Yes, I am the old wild goose hungry for the distant water of northern lakes. And I know a certain river where migratory birds gather to tell their tales of joy and woe, to plan their futures good or ill.
Packages have arrived from Mary P (journal) and Karen V (doll and book of Elvis quotes). Elvis, "What becomes important as you get older is understanding... instead of worrying about the things you can't do anymore."
Had a good time out with Aina. Lunch at Bachman's, looked at plants, got some seeds and talked to the fish.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Mae Sarton wrote on this day of her 70th year and I shall write, too. She wrote of elder abuse and gang rape. She ended her entry thus: "It's a cold gray day and I feel cold and gray inside."
Roberto has returned with food and news. The geese are flying north! Well, it must be time for me to fly, too. The sugar bush is at full flow and all hands are needed... even old hands with crooked fingers.
The window is open and I hear the eager chirping of birds in the bare trees overhead. I think the very sky has tumbled down to fill this room. It feels good to fill the lungs with sky.
When Belle, the mini-horse, found out that I kept the sunflower seeds in a lidded can she tried to open it with her teeth. She is smart and persistent so I knew she would eventually open the can and the birds would be deprived. So I put the can under the bench. She tried to get it open for awhile but realized that it was now beyond her. So she stamped her pretty hoof, tossed her gray mane, curled her lip, flattened her ears and stepped smartly away. I miss that little Belle and her sassy ways. I think she misses me, too.
Aina called and we'll have lunch at Bachman's tomorrow. Suzann came over for yoga with Ann and I managed a few modified poses. Karen called and can take me north on Sunday. Hooray!


March 17. When I heard Laura's knock on the door I had been dreaming that a yellow woman with white hair had floated over me, spread her arms and said, "Way gwah get chii." I took it for a blessing. Perhaps I had been visited by the spirit of the queen palm that has been guarding my rest. Her person glowed bright but the room around us remained drenched in a moist darkness. Perhaps I could say it was like returning to my mother's womb.
Soon Laura and I were on our way to terminal at Melbourne. At security I was frisked. I think Helene's pants were suspect. On board I went to sleep almost immediately. I found the rocking of the plane soothing as we crossed a turbulent sky. Then I was abruptly startled into wakefulness as the plane touched down in Atlanta.
Today is the birthday of St Patrick and my dear friend David Patrick S. Happy birthday David. I pray you are well and happy. David and I lived in Dakota Block apt in Grand Forks where we met during a tornado scare. Several funnels had formed over the city, the sky turned green and we went into shelter. We lived on the same floor in the building but had never met until a storm brought us together. From then on we were best friends. I still love him and wish him every happiness. I pray he is well loved, in good health and prosperous.
Yellow woman bright with light arrived to bless my early flight.
Last night Laura and I sat on the edge of the guest bed and as the queen palm eavesdropped, we admired this lovely book. We touched the images and marveled at such quiet graceful beauty. It was as if a shroud had been wrapped around us and we alone in all the world, our heads bending over these pages, had entered a temple where only the like-hearted could meet and understand. If a hummingbird had suddenly entered the room we would have had perfected communication as we shared the common language of the living-loving heart.
At the terminal I found Lynelle at the curb ready to gather me up and drive me to Ann's. She is an angel to come to my rescue so quickly. Yes, I saw her tuck her halo under her locks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


3-13-10. Last night Yeung took us to a Japanese Restaurant for a delicious supper and then drove us to see the Eiffel Tower at night when it lights up and sparkles for five minutes every hour. It was beautiful. We paid our respects to Mr Eiffel and his great glittering lady paid her respects to us. Yeung purchased some souvenirs for us and Angeline photographed the stars in my eyes. Back at the flat Yeung prepared a a supremely delicious mug of hot chocolate.
Beth, I have opened your journal here in Paris. Since I left home in Nov. I have received 3 more journals. I am going to wear my pants from Nepal today, the ones Helene gave me.

3-14-10. Good morning Paris! I hear voices and the taping of spoons on china. I dreamed that someone was at the door and the black woman who played in "Gone With the Wind" went to the door very quickly. So quickly she created a draft and I could hear the rustle of her red taffeta petticoat. She opened the door and shouted, "Miss Scarlet. Mr Rhett Butler is here!" I was amazed and so surprised that I opened my eyes before he could enter the room. When I told Angeline that Rhett Butler had called on us she was ever so pleased. After breakfast, a shower and shampoo we planned our visit of thee Paree. Veronique walked us to the Nogent station where we purchased all-day tickets to ride the metro. We went to the Arc de Triomphe and took the elevator to the top. It was a great overview of the city center. I got postcards. Then we went to the Eiffel Tower where I found the red beret I had been looking for. From there to Napoleon's tomb. Then to opera to meet Laura. When Laura came we walked her friend Annie to the taxi so she could catch a plane to London. At the corner I looked up and saw Elvis! He stood above the street at the piano bar called The American Dream. I made a quick poem to honor the event. "Those who complain of pain in knee, Will not see Elvis in Paree."
When we returned to the Nogent station Yeung and Veronique were waiting. We walked slowly back to the apt. Me because my knees hurt and Yeung because he'd been playing soccer and taken a painful fall. Yeung who is now my king of hot chocolate made his famous brew for Laura and me. Later we had a wonderful supper for 8: Angeline, Laura, Yeung. Veronique, Matthew, Frank, Titi and me.
It was election day and the socialists got 30% of the vote. Also singer Jean Farrat died. He sang songs about nature and social issues.

3-15-10. Today promises a clear sky with sun over Paris which we will enjoy briefly. This morning I will not clean my hair but carry the dust of Paris back to Florida. Breakfast done and last minute details complete. Angeline and Veronique will go to the plane by train and Yeung will take Laura and me in the car. When Angeline and I embrace she thinks I will cry so she says, "We're both big girls, aren't we?" I say, "No, we are the two little darlings." But I weep anyway.
At the terminal Laura and I buy sweets to carry home with us. We go to our gate for a sit and talk about racism and education. Yes, we wonder how do we help so many lost young people find their way in such as a world as has been created. With so many negative forces pushing them along how do they find a peaceful harbor. As we recross the Atlantic we watch movies. "Blind Side" was a good feeling family drama that brought tears to my eyes several times. It reminded me of Brandon my gentle giant. We used to watch him smile at his wrestling opponent before picking him up, throwing him down and pinning him to the floor. Then he'd smile again and pick the fellow up. I guess he was a lot like "Ferdinand the Bull", too.
We arrived at Atlanta GA to find our plane late and our gate changed 3 times while we waited. Life is moving pretty fast around us while we have been brought to a stop. I wonder if Angeline's house feels empty with no "little darling" sitting by the fire writing in her book.

3-16-10. I was awake by 4AM and up reorganizing my travel bags which will be more full than when I came. As morning kisses the undersides of the violet clouds I turn to Keats and read a sonnet that was probably written for Fanny Brawne which begins: "Bright star, would I as steadfast as thou art." This beautiful journal from Beth W has watercolor images on every page and poems on many.
6AM. Here comes the rosy dawn with lacy queen palm and her steadfast giant pine companion still black in shadows. On the deck I find several pages of bark upon which to write notes. As I sit in the bamboo chair I feel myself being healed. the sun light is filtered through the swaying palm leaves. The shadows and light play over me like gentle fingers restoring my worn out cells. The dreamlike quality of her morning dance soothes my spirit and offers me a restful blessing in those deep untouched places that we hardly know are with us.


3-10-10. On a beautiful snow covered morning we are off to see Simone by the Sea. We stop at rest area near Carassonee to view the castle and get off the busy motorway. Because of bad weather yesterday the lorries were not allowed to drive so today they are trying to make up for lost time. They are bumper to bumper. Although Simone still wants to see us Angeline has grown faint hearted, as have I. Simone said the sea had become quite angry and thrown up 18 foot waves. More than 50 people have been killed.
We stop again near Gruissan and find the wind so forceful that I can hardly get the door open. We find Maxims near the canal and docks is doing business so we decide to stop. As I walk along two chairs come sliding toward me and one falls into the canal. Soon we were inside and eating a delicious dinner. After our meal we drove closer to the sea and get out to walk the wet beach. I pick up a few shells.We watch the sea perform a wild and frothy dance. As the great brown waves roll in the wind comes down and with millions of icy fingers plucks the waves to shreds and tosses them back into the sea.
When we return to the motorway the lorries are gone so we whiz along and arrive at Bordeneuve for tea. We have a light supper, pick up Bernard and are off to choir practice for two hours. I find the 30 member choir quite impressive and enjoy them very much. The auditorium where they practice is an old mansion purchased by the village of Verfeil and renovated. The auditorium was previously the big barn. Angeline tells me that in France no one is young after the age of 40 but one can be irresistible at any age.

3-11-10. Last night I dreamed that a child was in distress because a boy had urinated on her. She was in tears. My niece Terry had some vital role to play in protecting the child but was indifferent to her distress. So I took the child and talked to her, rubbed her small cold hands and ran a bath for her. She was whimpering softly when I opened my eyes in the dark room. I was deeply troubled by the dream and whispered, "Poor, poor child."
Today Angeline and I go to Toulouse to see the cinema "Bright Star", the life of poet John Keats who died at 25. He thought he was a failure but we now know better. Clothing played an important role in the story as Fanny Brawne never wore the same dress twice and Keats didn't seem to have a change of clothes. When we took the underground back to the parking area we sat in the lead car so I could see the tunnel. We stopped at Auchen for food. Helene, Steph and Mathilda were at Bordeneuve when we got back. Helene has given me a beautiful pair of winter cotton pants from Nepal. We had a wonderful scallop supper and went to see Toulouse by night. We sat under an umbrella with a heat lamp so we could enjoy the night air as we drank hot chocolate beneath the stars. Then we went to the RR station to collect Laura and took another turn through Toulouse so we could see the Garonne river and lighted bridges.

3-12-10. After lunch we are off to Albi to visit the Cathedral of St. Cecille. We stayed too long and didn't get to see the museum of Toulouse Laurec. But we walked the old streets and had hot chocolate at a cafe because our three noses had become very cold. I also found some music boxes for Cedar and Lamaya, and a magnet for Wallis.
Home we went and I prepared a wild rice casserole. Soon Berganret and Genevieve arrived. We eight ladies had a lovely time around the table. I gave Helene a t-shirt and Berganret a string of beads necklace.

3-13-10. The sun is not so enthusiastic about showing a bright face today. Mathilda us having a picnic inside and close to the fire. I am up and ready to visit the students at Verfeil. I speak to 30 students for one hour. They are well-prepared and have good questions for me. One of the boys was taking notes on his arm. Susie said he usually sleeps in her class but was quite alert for me. Afterwards we have tea in the teachers' lounge. Next we go to Andre's to purchase slippers made at the nursing home.
Later we pick up Simone and tour her lovely home. Fifi the homeless dog showed up soon after her dear husband Gi had died so Simone has a lovable companion to see her through her grief. Then we go on to Helene's for a Spanish supper for 11 happy friends. Simone gave me a delicate silver flower from Poland that I can wear with my dance regalia. Francois gave me a small painting which I will frame.

3-14-10. Up for breakfast and into the woods to say good bye to the trees, the hills, the flowers and birds. I wave across the field to Mereille. I also say good bye to the boy asleep in the house at the bottom of the hill. Angeline told me one of my attentive students lives there. When all is ready Joel drives us all to the air terminal and soon we are in the sky headed for Paris. It is all so peaceful below that one forgets the bloody battles and horrendous struggles for dominance that occurred across these rumpled green hills.
At Charles de Gaulle we find Veronique and Yeung waiting for us. Laura's ride is also waiting. So all is well. Yeung drives us to the apt in his black Mercedes Benz. The apt is 3 floor above the street reached by a quaint circular staircase. It makes me giddy to keep turning in the same direction. As we women settled down around our tea he disappeared and returned shortly with sweets. He then showed us photos of the home they will be moving into in May. There is a nice yard with room for a garden and a pool, too. Yeung showed us the green room and said Angeline and I will stay there when I return to France for another last time. That will be May 2011. Yeung is Cambodian and reminds me of Justice.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Mar 7, 2010. We had a delightful lunch outside and then went to the rose city of Toulouse, so named for the red bricks used in the architecture. We took the metro to avoid parking and congestion. We walked the old cobbled streets and visited several churches. At one point we met a street musician from Bulgaria who played a 13 string instrument with a bow. He let me draw the bow across the strings and I was surprised at how well I played. When we passed that way again he was still playing so I did a quick step folk dance but he played faster and faster until I gave up. In a small nave in one of the churches we were quite alone so I sang and the sound was so terrific that a man passing by stepped in to see the singing angels. We also met a group of people demonstrating peace by giving hugs on the street. I got three very fine free hugs for peace.
While we sat in the third floor window of McDonald's overlooking the Place de Capitole we saw Beauty and the Beast stroll by! Then we visited an art exhibit featuring Spanish artists in exile. I favored a bronze of four nude women turning into trees. In the PM we had a very fine supper and went to hear a concert of Greek musicians and singers in Lavalette. Fred the owner put on a Salish recording and asked if I could dance to it. I did my best and invited others to join me in a friendship circle. The floor was soon so crowded we could barely move. It was wonderful. We went home under an inky black sky filled with trembling stars above and village lights on the dark hills blinking around us.
3-8-10. I have begun another day at 8:30. Laura is sleeping so I quietly went down to sit by the big fireplace. Two logs are burning but the heat is enough and feels so good... like grandmothers embrace. The day promises to be bright and joyful with friends. Last night there was a thin yellow dog at the pub. Laura tried to give Fred and Silvia money to help feed the dog as they had assumed responsibility for him. But the pair would take nothing and said they were taking the dog to the vet to ascertain if he had an identification chip. If not he would be officially adopted and no longer homeless stray. Everyone needs friends says the happy yellow Dog. Laura and I were relieved as we both wondered what would happen to Dog.
Today Laura and I went to open air market at Verfeil where we found friends and food, took many photos and attended the Catholic service to hear the singing. Guests had already arrived when we got home so we did not change for the fetè. Many wonderful people came to meet and greet us. I am honored by their warmth and gentle enthusiasm for my return to their community. We ate and talked, and talked and ate. I don't know how these beautiful women stay so slender. Jean Michel sat on my right played the spoons and sang. I accompanied him with two paper salad plates. Then he let me sing with him... I'll Fly Away. I learned that song when I lived in Eagle Butte SD on the Cheyenne River Reservation, Eagle Butte. We actually had an encore and consented to sing the chorus one more time. Then we had two extended photo sessions on the stairs. After that I told a story and Angeline translated as necessary.
The American Indian Dance Theater calendar from Sharon H was cut into several pages and distributed among the departing guests. Several requested my signature and I included a personal note for each. It was a long and lovely fetè. I went to bed as happy as a puppy... as my mother used to say.

3-9-10. The weather has prevented our departure for a seaside visit today. We are under a snowing sky. Laura is off to Aix by train. There is more snow coming this way. I sit by the fire qs warm as a hug and wonder about all the people who this old farm house has sheltered. This part housed people and the other side cattle.
Lula the ever smiling Samoyede will not come inside. She is asleep in the snow with her black nose tucked under her bushy tail. When I was here about five years ago she was much smaller so I am quite amazed at how large she has become.
Angeline and I went to Verfeil to post a parcel to Mpls and photos to Deer River. It continues to snow but the roads are warm and the snow is quickly melted. We photographed the 800 year old castle and moat.
We drove to Helene's for tea and biscuits and she presents me with a gift. Later we drove back through the snowy land and stopped to take pictures of the trees of hanging baskets. Angeline says they are mistletoe and will kill the trees that host them but tonight they are beautiful. I believe it is Christmas again.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


3-4-10. George Herbert, Take the gentle path. Laura and I have flown to Atlanta and had lunch at TGIF. Across from me was a large photo of Elvis and a poster from the first Star Wars movie. Brandon's favorite celebrity and one of his best loved movies. So we have come to the right place.
Then we waited at the Paris gate where the French language is flowing through the area.
We are in the sky rushing forward. Its hard to believe this plane can hold all of us up. Every seat is occupied. I've made this journey before but never with a companion. Laura has a lot of traveling memories. She used to be an airline stewardess and has traveled extensively on her own as well.

3-5-10 We arrived under a Paris moon. The lights blinked their welcome from far away. At the Charles de Gaulle terminal we were stamped and approved. Now we are near our gate F24 bound for Toulouse. But first a cup of coffee and a bit of juice to fortify us for the next part of this journey. Laura in black has disappeared into the cosmopolitan crowd as they are nearly all dressed in black, too.
Once again we are high above French soil. Paris from above has much water and is already greening. The blue mist from this height is populated with hundreds of fleecy sheep and white buffalo. Agriculture is everywhere below us. A green patch quilt of fields. Long roads tie the land to commerce. Our flight attendant is an attractive young man of grace and charm. Suddenly the sky is rough and the captain assures us that the turbulence will be brief. I see the snow capped Pyrennes shining bright white to the East.
Joel met us at Toulouse and whisked us down many roads to Bordenouve where we were met by three friendly dogs, Alex and Mathilda. After a good lunch I took a nap.
Then we went out to pick dandelion greens. We took a basket to Lillian and had tea. As I sat there I remembered a previous visit. Her late husband Pierre had given me a painting and read me a poem in French. It was one he had painted and is hung in the Redd Shedd at Deer River.
I feel like I am in a dream but Angeline said she never dreams so it must be real. We visited the St Pierre cemetery. Then home for a good supper. To bed early. So tired I can hardly think. I will sleep like a dead woman.

3-6-10. Up before the sun. Saw village lights to the east. I crept downstairs and sat in the rocker with the quiet house around me like a familiar quilt. Here is the doorway where the cattle used to enter when the house was a barn. I saw a fleet footed rabbit scurry across the road like small spirit, a shadow in the grass. The road looked white under the bright moon. Then Angeline's large rose boulder took shape and the house in the field was lit up. Two cars passed on the hill beyond the field. One like the swift hare and the other like a wandering child.

I climbed back up to the loft and watched the day pick out the details of the charming little barn east of the house. The dark hills are bathed in blue haze and above a ridge of rosy dawn. Angeline is up now so I go down and we enjoy coffee, toast and conversation. When I was at the Montessori school at Indian River, FL a boy told me, Grandmothers are smarter than grown ups. What a wise child! But Mathilda thinks I am unable to talk because she speaks French and I have no French so I am rather quiet. I told her I talk a lot but say little. Now I talk to her in English with a bit of Spanish and Ojibwe tossed in for confusion. She is a tolerant lass and listens to my nonsense with great interest.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


John Muir (1902), "Everybody needs beauty... places to play and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body (mind) and soul (spirit) alike." Muir also wrote, "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings."
At 10:10AM I decided to go for a walk and left a note for Laura. "Walked to park. Back soon. If not, I am hopelessly lost." Took camera and got beautiful pictures of strange birds and unknown trees. I walked as Thoreau would walk. I was slow, deliberate, thoughtful, observant. I even walked backwards at times, to see something in a new way. In my opinion I was a "sauntieure". Cesare Pavese, "We do not remember days, we remember moments."
A note to John Muir: "Dear John, they say you did not think well of the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. That, old friend, is a grievous flaw upon your otherwise sterling character. However, I do not count you among the fools. Sir, I will be generous and allow you this single fault for every great wo/man must have one. Sincerely, Anne."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Awakened under a fiery red sky. The wind was tossing the Queen in a playful dance while the great pine bobbed slowly. I think he was laughing. The sky turned yellow, then gray. Some of the clouds still had rosy bellies. A pelican went over closing the day with a long zipper. Here comes the sun like a burst of fire through the palm leaves.
Jennifer Nez Denetdale, "Forced removal of the Dine' (and other first nation peoples) was part of the cycle of invasion, conquest, removal and colonization that facilitated white settlement of America." She said the people suffered, the land did not recognize them, they starved and sickened, and the women were subjected to sexual assault.
At 7:27AM it had begun to rain and the song of falling water was raised around me. The Queen had grown more settled under the shallow breath of Father Sky.
Sue took me to the Indian Harbour Montessori School today. I told stories to 4-6 year olds. I taught them the crab dance. Sue took photos and they are hysterical. I had so much fun. Then we stopped at Mama Jo's for gifts.
I wish you coud hear the mesmerizing wind song of the Queen and her green court. As she swings her aching arms I feel her reaching for me and I am weak-kneed in knowing we are toe to toe at heart, this woman in a skirt and the woman in the tree.


Mar 1, 2010. When I commented on how green it is here in Florida, Laura said she found it rather brown. A woman at the birthday party said it's been very cold, down in the 30s. I said in MN we say we think it's warm when it gets up to 30 at this time of year. I was awake at 6:07. The sky was red for a short time and a family of pelicans left their mark on the morning. I heard a new voice that sounded owlish. Then read for awhile and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 11:30.
I showered and read some more. I ate a light brunch and read several articles from the Native People magazines stacked in the tv room.
Laura took me to acupuncture and it was fantastic. My first journey took me down into a wild violet. I wanted to get smaller and enter the stem to discover the roots. But I was too big. I sat in the violet with the petals all around, pollen dropping over me and I could feel the little hairy throat of the flower with my tiny fingers. I stayed there for several minutes. Then I tried to get in touch with my breath and started searching each part of my body for tension and there was plenty. When I thought of son Steven as a RobinHood one of my helpers said, "Robin Good Hood is better."
Then my journey took me to a prison. It was entirely black but it wasn't dark because of the white light entering through several high windows. I wore a bright red dress, a dark red beret and black shoes. Son Charles was leading the way. He wore a light blue short-sleeved shirt, dark blue pants and black shoes. He carried a large ring which contained 3 keys. As we went along we looked into the cells and found they were all empty.
Then I was back on the table for neck and shoulder work. Soon I saw a large white flower growing in the middle of my upper back. It was cupped like a hand and had more petals than I could count. I had become so relaxed that I felt like my skin couldn't hold me inside. I thought I could spill out of my hide like a bag full of jello. But before I'd relaxed I felt like I'd put my dress on without removing the hanger and I was holding my shoulders up against my ears.
Out for supper at the pub with Billy, Laura, Anita and Joe. Home early and so tired again.