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My Foe Is Me

I’m okay with the earth sleeping in the winter. I can take a break from foliage, petals, colors, but when the skies stay gray day after day, it gets tough. I don’t want to go out the door. A meeting to attend. I’m going, you understand, but I struggle with myself. I need a new voice in my head! I need to say “Thank you” and “Welcome!” to God and to the sun. (Both are out there, whether I can find them or not.) I make up my mind to leave the victim voice (in my head) at home. That part of me is not going to town. She is staying home with the coffee grounds, Tylenol, the amaryllis that has not yet bloomed but teases me. Gray days encourage a pity party. Maybe you know the tune: “Ain’t life ter

Centered and Sure

Last week I sat in front of the laptop, glancing out a window to the side yard. Cloud-hooded day. Redbirds and finches overwhelmed the feeders, and a red-headed woodpecker pecked his way up the gray trunk of the bare maple. The moment was fragile, small like the upstart of a redbud. I was stunned to stillness. All of it, part of a story, a map, a piece of the whole. A few days later, three of us drove through the backwoods together to see what we could see. We came to a creek and stopped the car. A hint of paradise. We let the creek’s song mesmerize us. Still too far away from it, we exited the vehicle to be closer to water, leaves, trees. We became watchers of wildness in the wooded area ne

Shock Can Last for Days

It’s late evening when I hear about a high school classmate’s death. I learn via an email. My reaction is Whaaaat? Thinking I’ve misread the email, I reread it. Then I read it aloud to my husband, hoping he’ll hear a misunderstanding of the message. My brain is processing as fast as it can, but my heart cannot handle it. So I subconsciously process it all night. I rest, but I do not sleep. I think and think and think. It. Does. Not. Help. My friend’s death jars me. What further shocks me is what I do the next day: I turn to actions and doings—laundry, cooking, making a plan on the phone with a friend as my way of coping. All of it, done with hollow, empty, sad feelings. This kind of emptines

Rectangles

How can I tell you? Rectangles are everywhere in the living area of our house. Cell phones, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo DS, cords and chargers. New toys for smart boys. When playing, they are quiet and happy and focused. I’m old school and don’t understand half of it. I see the rectangles they hold in their hands as separating the twins from each other, from grandparents, from a sister. The boys look like they are here, but don’t let it fool you—they are not where they seem to be. My first thought: they are being selfish and rejecting everyone in the room. Hard for me to watch hour after hour. Relief comes when the dogs intervene, when we have meals with no electronics. Communication, spare an

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