Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Manhattan, we are bringing back your son...
The sweet, the brave, the little smiling one.
We bring him back to you, exploited mother.
"All of her sons," he said, "I call them 'brother',
My hunger, it is theirs, and theirs is mine..."
He died today upon your picket line. Irene Paull.
Yesterday I told Cedar that some people are making their clothes from bamboo. "What!" she shrieked. "Yes, I don't know how they do it." She looked at me closely, her brow puckered with dismay then she replied, "I suppose they use bamboo skin. They are poachers," she hissed. I told her bamboo was a tree. She relaxed and we rode on in silence. We entertained a vision of the trees full of bamboo-baboons safe and happy among the leaves.
Mae Sarton wrote today in 1982 of a sweet white flower... "an old-fashioned rose with a crumpled face." Then she reminds us that writing is a craft as well as an art. "But as an art I always come back to my belief that what a style transmits is a vision of life..." Yes, a particular life lived under uncommon circumstances that produce a profoundly unique vision.
Mary Oliver speaks of expectation. "...maybe something will come, some shining coil of wind, or a few leaves from any old tree."
Yesterday in Grand Rapids we saw a small mouse outside the credit union. We could not leave because it had found shelter and safety under the car. As he scurried about in confusion I suspected he was blind. Later at the library I found a book about mice and read that they are born with sealed eyes. It takes weeks for them to open. So I finally understand why the 3 nursery rhyme mice pursued the farmer's wife... they were really very blind.
Mary O had a vision of the goldfinch, "little dolls of gold fluttering around the corner of the sky."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


MLK Jr., "Forces that threaten to negate life must be challenged by courage, which is the power of life to affirm itself in spite of life's ambiguities. this requires the exercise of a creative will that enables us to hew out a stone of hope from a mountain of despair."
In her 70th year May Sarton was selected to deliver the Ware lecture, Unitarian Universalists, Bowdoin College. This year Winona LaDuke delivered!
Gladys Taber' "The magic of June is a very special magic... It is compounded of much beauty and kindliness on nature's part, it really leaves nothing to be desired. It is the deep heart of New England beating to a rhythm that never grows old, that is forever young, forever fair. Surely the petals will never fall from the rose this time, surely it will be always June."
Mary Oliver has questions for June, "Just where does self-awareness begin and end? With the June bug? With the shining, task-ridden ant"?
In June of 1997 I was in Vienna and I wrote, "I must tell Dr. Romeros that I took my warts to Europe. I will say, "The magic band aids failed."
Today Wallis, Lamaya, Cedar and I went to library. Cedar seemed listless and looked tired. When we got home she ate a banana. She complained of head ache so I gave her a baby aspirin and a glass of water. Soon she was sleeping. I took her home about 6 PM as Melanie E and I were going to see a movie at the Reif Center. We saw "Mine". It told of animal rescue after a disaster. It was heart breaking. But many pets were rescued and evacuated. Some were adopted and never returned to former owners who had lost everything and really wanted to find their former pets.
When I saw the people embracing their dogs I could feel a warm hairy body in my arms. I know it was Cinnamon.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The lady in the flat under me feeds pigeons. Today the flapping flock arrived at 7:45 AM. First they took their roof top positions above my window and their soft cooing wafted in to me. "Harp Song for a Radical; the life and times of Eugene Victor Debs" (Marguerite Young) lay open in my lap but I did not turn a page for several long minutes. I could hear the birds shaking their wings. Then as if on cue they leaped from the roof and plunged to the ground. They gathered around the spread of grain without jostling or any greedy aggressive conduct. Then as though it had been choreographed, they burst into flight and hurried south.
Flo H and Carol A arrived about 10:45 AM. After a brief visit we went to Annie's for lunch. Kalene was there, so tall and pretty. When I introduced her to my friends she gave them each a warm hug and I beamed. She tried on her dance dress and we decided how the top could be enlarged. It will be very nice after all. Then Annie and the teens left for Grand Rapids so Justice could take his drivers permit exam (which he passed). Cedar came with we three older women. We went to King courtyard and played for an hour. Well Flo and Cedar played for an hour. Carol and I were pooped in half an hour and sat on the swings to watch. Then we came back to the flat and I made blueberry smoothies with the wonderful blender that Flo had brought for me. Soon they were on the road back to Park Rapids.
Cedar and I put a few pieces into the puzzle. Then Annie came to retrieve her little sweetheart. It's been another lovely day. Now Dale and Michael are cutting grass and the fumes and whine of the busy gas powered motors has invaded my restful flat.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Before I finished my two loads of laundry I walked to the hospital. My friend Marlene S had been hospitalized on Tuesday! Her daughter had left a message and invited me to visit her mother. Marlene told me she was being released after lunch. Her heart will not let her climb to my flat so I said we'd meet at ground level in a few days.
My friend Karl is asking for prayers. He will have reconstructive back surgery this week. He once told me a story of how he was running at night and was attacked by an owl! He gave me my first drum. It was a dream drum. Yes, I'd been dreaming of a drum coming to me from far away, just a drum... and no beater. At last it arrived... without a beater. I carried that drum for several years and then one day the head split beyond repair. I put it in a velvet bag and carried it into the woods. I hung it on a tree to wait. I didn't know what I was waiting for and I often visited the drum.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I got up at 7:23 so the lunar eclipse happened without me. But the moon and I had had a lovely conversation the night before. When Ann and I returned from Hobby House the moon had spread her light across the water in the form of a champagne glass. The far side held the bowl and our side the silver stem.
Yesterday when I looked across the yard from Hobby House I saw a woodchuck on the cabin porch. He was up on his back legs with his front paws on the glass door. He was peering in like a curious neighbor come to visit. On our return from Jean's Ann and I had seen a deer.
And so once more I rolled up my gypsy robes, shouldered my baggage and drove myself home. Several messages waited on the phone. I went to Grand Rapids for pins and the fabric for the back of the log cabin quilt. I also stopped at the library.
Later Ann called to say that she had examined a photo of the quilt top and discovered that two blocks needed quarter turns. I unpacked the quilt top and found the misapplied blocks. As I listened to "All Creatures Great and Small" I picked out the stitches and repined the blocks. Then I spread my Ruth Ann Garden quilt top, loft and back on the floor in the familiar sandwich arrangement. I pinned the layers together and basted around the edges with red thread.


June 25. There will be a lunar eclipse at 5:17 AM Saturday. I hope I can get up to see it. The moon energy was delicious last night but kept me wake. There was a mist in the air which put an opal ring around the glowing grandmother. On the black water the white light danced breathlessly. The loons were loud and raucous with delight that they had been invited to such a lovely event. Eventually I went to sleep but the peace was suddenly shattered by an avalanche of thunder tumbling from the sky. I opened my eyes to see the rolling clouds shimmer with lightening followed by a long throaty growl from above. The rain lulled me back to sleep and so I dreamed.
I was walking in the rain and saw an eagle dropping feathers from the sky. I thought I'd go to Annie's for some fabric to wrap them in. I didn't pick them up as I planned a quick return. Annie's house was so shambled and she was so harried I had to leave without the fabric. But the house had relocated while I was inside and I was now standing on the curb in a residential area surrounded by many houses and looking down a busy street from under a canopy of tall leafy trees. When I turned I saw that Annie's house had disappeared. "I must be lost," I said. An elderly man approached and said he had lived there all his life. He asked who I was looking for, the address and phone number. I told him I didn't know. He gave a disgusted snort and stomped off. As I walked along I passed a school with children playing in the snow. I kept walking but it was getting dark when I entered a brushy forest and saw a tall menacing looking man walking toward me. I was hunched over as I ducked under the brush but he remained upright and did not have any trouble with branches hitting him. We passed without speaking.
Then I came to a road and saw a small cafe. The side walk was cordoned off with a yellow ribbon. One side of the walk was paved with shards of broken plates and mortared into place. That's where pedestrians were walking. On the other side the broken ceramic had been laid out but was still loose. As I stood admiring the beauty an elder woman and a little girl came with a small basket. They selected several pieces, put them into the basket and walked slowly down the street. No one objected to their conduct and I suddenly realized who they were. It was my grandmother Vanoss and myself!. I was unable to shout above a hoarse whisper but fortunately I had a bell in my hand which I rang frantically. Still they did not look back and at that moment I was awakened by the jangle of the telephone.
Ann and I worked on the quilt all day. We had a break and went to Jean's for some fine dining. After a long day of quilt construction we finally arrived at the end of the process and found we had created a fantastic log cabin scrap quilt. It's a beautiful gift for my beautiful Chey on her beautiful wedding day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


June 21. After bags were packed and waiting at the door I called Wallis to tell her I was leaving for Crystal Lake to spend a few days with Ann M and Anne M. We will be the 3 A's, or Triple A. I was also taking the produce from the refrigerator with me so it would not go to waste in my long absence. It was a pleasant uneventful drive with one stop for dairy products at Walker. Arrived at the cabin hungry and was soon eating a delicious chicken sandwich with a wonderful cup of aromatic coffee followed by a decadent chocolate dessert. Anne M and Ann M are reading and I have brought a book, too. I'm still reading "Giant". It is an interesting story and so well done but I am too busy with other things and do not open the book every day. I hope to finish it here by the quiet water. It's glorious to "just sit and stare". But I also hope to complete Chey's wedding quilt.
The Triple A decided to visit the ARCC clothing depot in Akeley. Soon we were three delighted shoppers. It was there Ann found the perfect red shirt to cut up for the log cabin quilt pattern which requires a hearth in the center. She also purchased a puzzle which was soon laid out on the card table. After a delicious supper of baked wild salmon, broccoli and rice prepared by Anne M we puzzled a bit. Then we watched "Backstairs at the White House" episode one.
Jean had stopped in for a visit. She is at her cabin on the point with Heath her two-year-old grandson. I remember when her cabin was a pre-Doug structure. In fact, this cabin is also full of pre-Doug memories. He's gone now but his spirit is still with us in the wonderful memories of him and these cabins which bear his artistic influence and evidence of the many man hours he put into them to make them the beautiful structures they have become.
Before I fell asleep I was gifted with a loon concert that blessed me to the tattered edge of my hungry soul. The moon peeked in and smiled through the white pine canopy.

June 22. I was up early to witness a transformation. When I sat down before the big window the lake lay before me mirror still. The trees across the water leaned toward me to admire their reflections. By the time Anne M joined me a heavy fog had deposited itself on the gently riffled water. Within moments we were isolated from the rest of the world by a cloud that had graciously included us in its moist embrace. We were enjoying our second cup of coffee when Ann M joined us and soon were all deeply enraptured by the pristine beauty and peaceful spirit of this place.
I went for a long walk and took many photos of nature. Got home to enjoy a salmon omelet. Then Jean, Heath and I went to Park Rapids for sewing supplies, Heath needed water shoes. We had lunch at the DQ.
Before going to bed the Triple A played 5 Crowns. The 2 A's went to bed while I stayed up with the puzzle for another 10 minutes. The water shone under the light of the moon and included me in its glow.

June 23. I was the last one up. Read and puzzled. After gazing on the lake and watching a great blue heron stalking along the shore I got serious about the quilt. So we 3 A's began to fold and cut. Later I cooked buffalo meatballs and made a salad. Anne M warmed up the rice and broccoli while Ann M stitched blocks. We finished 13 blocks and completed an impossible angel puzzle with 2 missing pieces before going to bed.
It had been a long and busy day but it had passed too quickly. I thought again about what Anne M had said: "If your face is dirty I need a good wash." As I sat alone with my journal the moon peeked in to bid me "Good night." I looked up into her dusty face and decided I needed a good wash before I went to bed.

June 24. Ann M and Anne M went for a walk while I visited the lake and followed a turtle. I finally caught up with him as he was sitting on a nearly submerged branch of a fallen tree. I picked up a few stones for painting with Cedar.
Anne M made a wonderful breakfast. I picked wood sorrel for flavoring the salmon omelet. At the mailbox I retrieved two movies and we all sat down to watch one more episode of "Backstairs at the White House." Ann M prepared Kenyan tea which she had carried back from Africa.
As I watched the movie I remembered WWII. I was just a child but I recall the rationing stamps for limited resources, leaving tin cans at the curb, collecting newspaper.
After Anne M left for Mpls Ann and I returned to Hobby House to resume work on the quilt. Then Jean and Heath came over in the kayak for supper. Afterward Ann and I went back to the quilt. While Ann stitched the log cabin I arranged blocks for a baby quilt. After 12 more blocks had been completed and a master block for tomorrow I made smoothies and we talked about playing cards.
The moon put on a spectacular water show. We decided we were too tired for cards. Ann decided I should spend this last night in the big bedroom because the moon will shine in most of the night. I think it would be lovely to spend the whole night moon bathed so I accept the generous offer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Got up early and went to Grand Rapids for pedometer, quilt batting and blank CDs. The pedometer, so I can begin to record my wisdom steps. The batting, so Ann and I can work on quilts. The blanks, so I can put my cassettes on CDs. Soon Annie called to say she was ready to begin work on the jingle dresses. "I'm on my way!" But first I stopped at Marlene's to drop off her Goodwill jewelery and give her a small card case she'd admired.
Annie had set up the sewing center in the Redd Shedd and soon we had made a wonderful mess! While we cut and sewed, Cedar got paper and paint. She quietly completed several stunning pages of art. We also worked in the garden. I picked onions and secured a box of blue-green eggs for the Crystal Lake fete.
Mae S: " is possible to keep the genius of youth into old age, the curiosity, the intense interest in everything from a bird, to a book, to a dog..." It's true that I still carry youth within me. It's deep inside, unseen and silent. But it bursts forth unexpectedly and builds for me a house of mirth.
Meridel LeSueur: "I never expected to be a great writer. I just wanted to be a writer saying what was true. I just wanted to write what I knew. In love or despair... to write." So I have no grand expectations I only want to share the truth that rumbles in my bones.
Today Annie installed a small air conditioner for my comfort. I ran it until the outside air was cool then opened the windows again. I love the way it feels when the sky comes down and crowds itself into the flat. I think I am in a snuggle.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Before going to bed I watched "Edith Piaf: the Passionate Life". She was an incredible woman and a creative genius. The documentary said she sang at Carnegie Hall but failed to mention that she also appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Mae S had "tea on the terrace" today, Sat. 1982. Cedar and I used to enjoy beverages on the Redd Shedd patio. Mae had begun to "feel like a camel in sore need of an oasis. The oasis is silence. I woke up in the night starving for silence, for time alone here, but there is none in prospect." She was just too busy. Duty had crowded her life. She had too many visitors and a full calendar. How busy do I want to be? Now I have the time I need to enjoy my life... one day at a time... moment by moment.
Meridel LeSueur, "...only from the working class could come the poets and singers, the prophets, the heroes and the martyrs." I suppose this is just another romantic myth. Surely such gifts arise among the moneyed as often as among the unmoneyed.
Annie, the children and I went to Duluth this afternoon to find fabric for two new jingle dresses. We are going to begin working on them tomorrow. They will probably be danced at the next pow-wow. There will be photos.

Friday, June 18, 2010


June 1. It's 9:17 PM and I am in room 339 at the Black Bear Casino Hotel. Marlene S. is in the casino. I have had a refreshing shower and turned to the journal. We left Deer River about 11 AM, had a nice lunch at Cromwell and arrived at destination about 2:30. We got our room and relaxed for awhile then joined a large group of elders in the Otter Creek Room. A traditional feast was followed by a very nice pow-wow. Lucille Silk, from White Earth, asked me to dance her shawl for Grand Entry. I was honored to line up with the dancers wrapped in Lucille's bright shawl. I also danced several inter-tribals. The pow-wow concluded with a give-away. I got a detangler comb for Cedar. Then we all danced our gifts.
The severed artery in the Gulf is still at hemorrhage flow. It's been 8 weeks!
Meridel LeSueur seems to be speaking directly to me when she writes: "Writing is primarily a sensuous and creative expression of life."

June 16. It's been another enjoyable day! I was up early and went down to pool area to visit with other early risers. I left Marlene asleep as she had worked hard to win our gas money. She returned from a late visit to the casino with $40 for the tank. We had a continental breakfast and I changed tables so many times I felt like Waltzing Mathilda. When people were leaving Marlene arrived so I sat with her as she ate. But when I turned and saw Billy Mills I went to greet him and shake his hand.
I attended several workshops and enjoyed a shoulder massage. After the awards ceremony we gathered for another wonderful feast. Then we visited displays and found a lot of free stuff. Marlene even bought me a pair of earrings! We spent some of our coupons on food and went to see the comedienne in the Cobalt Lounge. We left early and watched a dance program on PBS.
I also met a fine young woman who informed me that I may have a 1/2 brother that I didn't know I had. We plan to maintain contact! Finding our relatives is so exciting!

June 17. At 9:30 PM I am back home in Deer River sitting in the middle of a tornado watch until 11 PM. We are expecting severe weather but at the moment we have a nice rain and easy thunder.
The day began with me walking a one mile course marked off on the casino parking area. But the highlight was when Billy Mills invited me and Marlene to sit with him in the Buffet Cafe. Yes! THE famous Olympian from 1964. He still holds the 10K record of being the only American athlete to take the gold in that event. I got his autograph again I now have his signature 3 times!. He is such a gracious man.

June 18. Well rested but too tired to dream. Mae S had "gone to bed comforted by an electric blanket." I had gone to bed under a tornado watch. We both slept well.
According to Meridel LeSueuer. "Struggle is the underlying energy of all life." My old friend Chris M told me that we must never assist a hatchling to remove itself from the egg. It must be allowed to chip itself free. Without the struggle the hatchling dies. So we can survive and thrive after we accept our struggle and carry it through to the outcome.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I opened my eyes to a big surprise... SUNSHINE! Yes, there it was bending low and peering into the bedroom. It shown gaily on the bright green leaves dancing happily beyond the glass. There are scattered clouds but not heavy like they have been.
Avid rummaging has provided me with two elusive items essential to the completion of my kitchen. An over the sink cutting board, 25 cents, and a lettuce spinner, $1. But now I am looking for a bigger blender. Last night I made a pot of extreme veggie soup and wanted to puree some of it. I have a small blender that I use for fruit smoothies but larger would be better for soup.
May S was having a bad day in 1982. "The constant remaking of domestic chores into order that keeps a house alive and peaceful takes a lot of doing." But the worst thing about that day was that she'd put a new ribbon in her typewriter and it stopped working! "Does not move forward or backward."
"You can't hatch anything without heat." Meridel LeSueur. The heat of creation has been absent from my days lately. I think I'll work myself into a sweat and see what hatches. She also said we need a spark to illuminate. "Life is for fulfillment of desires down to the deepest and most spiritual. Learn how to love without violating the beloved." MLS. What shall I illuminate? What shall I love? What are my deep desires? How shall I fulfill them?
Mary O, "There are days when I rise from my desk desolate." A few pages later she suggests the song of the sun followed by the moon. Instantly I heard them singing together. The sun sang with the deep bass of Melvin Franklin. The moon with the clear vibrato soprano of Joan Baez. It was a heavenly duet.
I have discovered that I can use my Arrowhead Library card to hear free audio books on my pc! After 4 hours of sweat and effort I have succeeded in downloading my first book. I am happily listening to "All Creatures Great and Small". Nothing can stop me now!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Sharon H sent me a card with a terrific quote from Cycles of the Moon: "By observing the progression of the moon and noticing the effect on her body, mind and spirit, she learned how to work with Mother Nature to create peace and abundance in her world."
I have put some images of the A-frame on facebook and can heartily agree with Mae S today. "It's lovely to share the beauty of this place." Klinkinborg tells us, "Dad is now 76, healthy, vigorous, almost adolescent again." Now there's a worthy goal!
I was forced to purchase another lamp! As my eyes seem to be growing dim I find I need more light around me. I had thought I could go to bed with the sun but I just don't like spending too much time asleep. The world is still filled with such wonderful things... I don't want to miss a moment of my little days. I recall a chat I had with Mom. She scowled at me and asked:"How come you didn't come over yesterday?" Me, defensively: "I did come over but you were sleeping on the sofa so I didn't want to bother you." She scolded: "Well you should wake me up! I can sleep anytime! You wake me up when you come over. It's not a bother. I want to see you... talk with you. Sit down. I'll make a fresh pot of coffee."
Annie saw four foxes on Friday. What a splendid gift! Four foxes in a day is a message! I had good signs yesterday. I saw a heron flying in the rain, the car in front of me had 607 on its plate, and when I entered Walgreen's, Elvis was singing! And you know what the wise old woman says. "Signs are everywhere. Look, listen and learn."
Mary O has written a wonderful "Fox" poem. Find it on page 34 of "West Wind".
As I continue reading "Giant" I find I like Jett Rink less and less. In the movie he is portrayed by James Dean with more sympathy than the character created by Edna Ferber deserves.
Speaking of books, I got my "Mail a Book" catalogue, filled out the request card and will soon be rotating books by mail. Perhaps i can give up my little personal library. Except for my poetry collection. I'll keep them for all the rest of my days. Is that planning too far in advance?
I have a quote for your writers but the fine print is too small and i can't tell you the name of the originator. "The characters of my own creation story are weaving themselves into my vocal cords."
I'm watching a movie entitled "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean George. It makes me want to be a 13-yr-old boy, hike into the forest, move into a tree and live off the land. My supper simmers in the slow cooker.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


June 10. Cedar spent the day. We rummaged a bit. Nothing really exciting. Then we were off to the library. Rummaged in GR, too. When we got home she sat on the settee and fell asleep. Michael brought us pizza from the Community Cafe. so we had a quiet day and a good supper.
I'm learning to create albums on facebook. It's a frustrating process. I'm working my way through it with many false steps and too much starting over.
Perhaps it's like learning to walk, or roller skate, or ride a bike. We get up and try again.
June 11. In PM we went to the church that gives and feeds. But earlier I had both Lamaya and Cedar for a couple of hours. Cedar has a small basket of clothes that I got for her on a previous visit to the Free Store. Lamaya was dismayed that I had no such basket for her. So when we were at the Free Store she and I filled a small bag with things to start her basket. I'll have to purchase a few more items as Cedar has half a basket full and Lamaya's basket is only 1/4 full. They are planning to have a fashion show and dress up with the things in their baskets.
June 12. Went to GR with Annie and the girls. Justice is at Rosebud preparing the Sundance ground. He'll be back next week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Another overcast morning. The birds were in full-voice before 5AM and I was awake to enjoy the chorus. Now at 6:45 they are all quiet. I guess they were trying hard to raise the sun.
Klinkenborg referred to his farm as "a few bony acres." While Mary O "was walking the field in the fatness of spring."
One day Cedar said, "Gramma, when I get to be an old woman can we still be friends?" "Yes, we will always be friends." I find her words so dear. It is more than an expression of love and loyalty. It is the voice of longing. That we will always be together.
I dreamed about Mom again! She was here in #8. When I came from bedroom to living room I found her unpacking a box of items wrapped in white tissue. She held up a very nice mouse puppet. It was the kind that fits over the hand like a glove. "Oh, it's a lovely puppet but I don't work anymore," I told her. "Nonsense," she scoffed, " we will soon have many programs. Our calendar will be full. Now put her on the shelf with the others." When I turned in the direction she indicated I found a shelf of hand puppets. There was a small pale mouse which I replaced with the rich plush brown one Mom had given me. I took the discarded mouse to the closet and put him in the toy bin. Just then I felt an itch on my abdomen and found I was hosting a wood tick. I removed the pest, stepped to the kitchen and dropped him into the sink. Before I could turn on the water about 30 black bugs came out of the drain. They attacked the wood tick and tore him to pieces. Then they carried his body parts down the drain. I felt someone looking over my shoulder and turned to find Justice, his eyes wide with surprise, his face pale with horror. I left him there and went to rejoin my mother. She was gone but the box was there so I removed 3 more puppets from the tissue. When I turned to put them on the shelf they dissolved into the air and I was awake.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Oh! What a night! I had a most fabulous dream! It was a great reunion of the quick and the dead. It was at the old place on Tract 33, CL. It was Mom's big yard and small white house. Wallis' house was there, too. but it was not blue, it was orchid. The street had no tar, it was a simple dirt road. Across the road was Cliff Beaulieau's old house... now so long gone. I had wrap-around vision and could see everything at the same time. I could look in all directions without turning my head! So I saw all the old houses as they had stood when I was very young. My mother and maternal grandmother were putting out the food. The small round table grew bigger and bigger until it was large enough to contain the huge feast. Chairs grew up out of the grass. Mom was young and slender, she wore no shoes and a pretty green dress. My grandmother was young, too. She wore a blue dress and a long white apron. Then I heard a drum and saw a great parade of dancers from many generations in period regalia. The most contemporary were first. They were coming along the dust choked road. I can still hear their quiet voices and gentle laughter. .. smell the dust under their feet. I hurried into the lilac house and got a camera. It was not digital. I stuck several rolls of film into my pocket and ran outside. Soon I had wonderful pictures of all my relatives. They were all so beautiful and happy. Suddenly the camera burst open in my hands and film came coiling out. There was more film than a camera can hold and it continued rolling out until I stood in the middle of a great mound of ruined film. I was grief-stricken at such loss. Against my will I began to wake up. So with my eyes shut tight and hands still clutching the camera... I was forced to leave the gathering. No one turned to say goodbye. So I found myself suddenly alone. Only then did I realize there had been no children or animals at the reunion. No one was old, broken, wounded, disabled or diseased. We were all at the moment of perfection, as we are meant to be. Even perfect in spirit. Now this hopelessly flawed creature that I am is harder to bear. Oh! What a night!
But Mary O has lovely words for me. She writes, "All summer I wandered the fields that were thickening every morning."
Klinkenborg wrote of visiting his parent's CA 'ranch'. He saw it as a testament of his father's character. Of his own home in MT he said, "I hope the mess I make speaks as well of me someday."

Monday, June 7, 2010


I opened my eyes to a stunning day and found 3 goldfinches already busy knitting up the morning.
In 1944 Mae S wrote: "Speak to the children now of revolution Not as a violence, a terror, and a dissolution, But as the long-held hope and the long dream of man, The river in his heart and his most pure traditions."
Late last night I received an unexpected joy. My 16-yr-old granddaughter that I haven't seen for 10 years or more has found me on facebook! I even saw photos of her! What a beautiful gift of love has presented itself to me. She hopes to visit us in July. Oh, so many plans have already been inked into my calendar for the summer. I pray that I will not be far away when she arrives here.
When Klinkenborg looked back on the days he's spent helping his parents build and improve their 13 acres of land in CA he came full circle. He began to witness the demise. He saw how all that was new, with time, fell into decay. He told us that "the ideal landscape lives only in the mind." Well, why not? There are some dreams too beautiful for reality.
Mary Oliver has written: "I don't want to sell my life for money, I don't even want to come in out of the rain."
Today I lost a bag of stuff from the Thrift Shop but found an e-mail from Joyce, a dear old friend. Yes, internet is a wonderful tool. In less than 24 hours it has restored a grandchild and a friend.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"I continue to create because writing is a labor of love and also an act of defiance, a way to light a candle in a gale." Alice Childress.
We got a breathless sky and a quiet rain with bird songs in the trees. Rain falling straight down, tapping the leaves into a stunning tremble of lively green joy. A visiting crow sits in the leafy cathedral to pray.
Mae S has lost another friend! So she was "thinking of old age at its most splendid." But Klinkenborg remembered his "mother found it difficult to laugh". Not every old age is splendid and there must be days without laughter.
I'm not yet a quarter through Edna Ferber's "Giant". So I got the movie from the library. I've seen it before, of course. It has a second disc with bonus material which I will also watch. I read somewhere that James Dean was not pleased with his portrayal of the older Jett Rink and wanted to do it over. But director Geo Stevens had already spent too much money and time on "Giant". Dean died in an auto accident before the film was complete. His scenes in the story were done and he decided to go on a long road trip in his silver Porsche, which he called "the little bastard". He was 23 when they started filming and it took 3 years to finish so he might have been 25-26.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Today it has occurred to me that I never miss my former husbands but I'm dreadfully lonesome for good teeth.
Mae S wrote, "Living alone I find shared laughter is one of the things I miss most." She also said, " mourns one's young face sometimes." Well, since she raises the topic I will confess that I often wish for younger feet.
All day I have been waiting for rain. Not that we need it but gray clouds have been tumbling over us and the trees are dancing with that waiting-for-rain rhythm. At 4:02 PM it has begun to rain. It is not a joyful rain. No it is heaven weeping for creation, dragging her hair across the Gulf. Before the rain began dripping from the eaves I was wondering about myself. Here I sit at the gateway to the future. What am I doing for humanity?
Several hours ago I turned my ankle just a little but it still hurts. Am I stuck here? Will the 16 steps down and up be more than this ankle will accept? We shall see. No, I went down and up without agony. But sensible creature that I am, I shall remain aloft until tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Mae Sarton had received bad news. Her dear friend Eugenia was dying. She wrote of her, "...a radiant spirit, torn by life but always responding to beauty..., having the power to choose and take the path toward elevation rather than despair. She sowed light... light like some miraculous seed." Mae was so busy that she penned, "Is there to be no time for mourning? No time for poetry?" Oh, how that resonates with me.
As Klinkenborg stood waiting for the sunrise in Mt "A cardinal starts to spear the air with his voice."
Marlene S called last night and set up a date at Shelley's tonight at 6. She said she likes to watch old movies. "I do, too! Those wonderful love scenes make me remember when I got all those passionate kisses. Now I can't even find someone who wants to hold my hand." Marlene gasped and the phone fell silent for a long moment. Then she said shyly, "I didn't know anyone else thought about that. I remember those kind of kisses, too."
I don't mean the sloppy stuff you see today where there seems to be a contest to see who will suck the face off the other. But those gentle, wandering butterfly kisses that give you wings and carry you to ecstasy. It's true that we are elders now but we don't forget that we are also romantics.
I watched "Arthur" on netflix and heard him say, "Not all drunks are poets. Some of us drink because we are not poets."

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Mae Sarton had great news on this day in 1982. "The sun is shining and the birds have shadows again." Cedar loves to stand at the window and watch the fat pigeons glide to the ground. They tuck their bright orange feet and whistle past the glass.
Verlyn Klinkenborg writes that a summer morning is "a cathedral of anticipation." How aptly put.
Under certain conditions at a certain hour Cedar tells me that thousands of leaves on the nearby tree turn themselves in mantises. It's true! I've seen it, too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Chris Larson sent this: "WE THE PEOPLE have the power to revive democracy in the USA. May we memorialize peacemaking not just fighters. Rather than impose our standards on other countries through force, let us set a good example of democracy at its best here at home."
Today I re-read all of those old letters from friend Elsie Mooers. Then I packaged them up to send to her family. I hope they enjoy them as I have and appreciate having them home again.
Yesterday I introduced Cedar to Django Reinhardt the Gypsy jazz guitarist. I found a picture book of him at the library and read it to her. She was appalled to hear of how badly he was injured in a fire. But after a long recovery he learned to play guitar with the two good fingers on his left hand.
I found this 'news report' in an old journal: Anne M Dunn was arrested at Murdo, SD, when she attempted to ride Elvis Presley's motorcycle out of the local museum. Not only will she be doing the Jailhouse Rock for 30 days but she'll be dancing in her socks. Dunn's oxfords were confiscated when they were discovered to be the famous Blue Suede Shoes taken from Graceland by a mad fan in June. Dunn faces additional charges and will be extradited to TN when she completes her sentence in SD. Another entry read: Six hundred dolls from a local museum walk the picket line in protest of 25 years in the same dusty dresses.
There was also 'news' from Rapid City. Local writer Judy Merritt had her skillet reclaimed by the Black Bean Society for failing to issue cross-wind warnings to four out of state visitors for whom she'd prepared her lethal black bean omelet.
Last night I heard a cricket ticking off the seconds and felt summer slipping away.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


May 28. A young woman called to request a moon ceremony at Annie's so I didn't go to pow-wow or spend the night at Chey's. We (4) gathered for a woman circle and were supremely blessed. The fireflies were out, too. It was lovely. The preparation is nearly as important to me as the ceremonial part. Because Dana was new to the woman circle there was a lot of explanation and it was good for Geezis to hear it again. After we opened and closed the four doors I invited all to share some final words of closure and it so enriched the experience. Afterwards we went inside to eat together and smoke Annie's pipe.
When Justice was little he'd be waiting for us so we could all eat together. He'd fling his small arms around me. He'd look up in near rapture and tell me, "Oh, Gramma, you always smell so good when you come back from ceremony." It was as though I'd been gone to a far place for a long time. I got home about 2 AM.
This morning we went to Grand Rapids for camper stuff so we could take Moby to his first pow-wow camp. He also got a new license plate and insurance so he is ready to roll!

May 29. I went to LL PW with Annie and kids. We took Moby. Annie's father had saved a space for her to park so we had a family community. Annie made the first PW breakfast in Moby. Then we dressed, signed up to dance and joined the Grand Entry at 12:30. There were over 900 dancers! It was fun to find old friends and meet new ones. I danced with a young man from PA and my inner voice told me it was time too let my seven feather necklace go. So I gave it to him with a brief explanation. I forgot to tell him that it was strung on a special lace from shoes I'd worn for a peace march in Wash DC. I'll probably never see him again but those 7 bones carry my breath, good wishes and prayers for his well-being.
We left before pay-out and rode home under a bright moon.

May 30. I returned to CL in my car, picked up Gene and Chey and went to PW camp. We danced all day. I took more photos today and danced many rounds with Darlene Ogema, Marcellus' other great-granny. After it got cold I went back to camp and sat at the fire with Avis and Violet.
In early afternoon there had been a sneak-up dance and no one was really exceptional. I thought, "Where is Sylvester Shotley? He could show us how it's done." Soon the MC announced that Sylvester had been hospitalized and air lifted to Mpls hospital. There was an honor dance for him and the arena filled as dancers were joined by spectators who know him.
There was a give-away to honor Moon Roberts, too. He was a beautiful and gifted young man who took his own life a few weeks after Brandon was murdered.

May 31. I stayed at Chey's and slept late. Then we made a picnic and went to the cemetery to eat at Brandon's grave. There was Wallis, Lamaya, Chey, Gene, Ten-Ten and me. Lamaya ran the affair. She helped spread the table (sheet), put out the food, prepared the spirit dish for her father (Brandon), put down the blankets for seating and even helped refill the plates! Wallis and I returned to Deer River exhausted but pleased with a wonderful extended weekend.

June 1. I've been away from Mae Sarton's journal of her 70th year but on May 28 she wrote about the brevity of life and the joy of spring. "But I have at most 10 or 15 springs! Is that possible? Almost a lifetime gone. On the other side though, what I do have is 70 springs in my head, and they flow back with all their riches now!" It was a gloomy Memorial Day weekend for her, "without a gleam of sunlight."
On our return from CL yesterday Wallis pointed out how the fern stood under the trees along the road like little people. Yes, I thought, how quickly they unfurled and opened their green umbrellas. We had missed the fiddlehead stage. I was going to pick fiddleheads with Cedar. Now it's too late.
Just a few days ago I could see far into the forest and count the tree trunks. Now the heavy foliage veils them completely. Wild mustard spreads it's cheery notes along the road... like a nearly forgotten song of spring.