Sunday, December 30, 2012


5:30 moon in the west luminescent on snow, baby sleeping in crook of arm, cat snuggled between my legs, four-year-old calling out, “What time is it?” and blessedly drifting back to sleep. Arm slips out from under baby, cat stirs, I (who love to be alone) tiptoe downstairs (moon following), boil water and pour it into my new, handmade, lovely, big-enough-for-my-tea mug, throw another log on the fire, pull up wool socks, turn on tree lights (luminous, gleaming, luminescent). Water boils and I put a tea bag into my mug in the dark (don’t wake the sleeping child upstairs!), pour water, carry steaming cup to light to find: two bags floating.  Last night’s chamomile mixed with this morning’s black. Shit. But don’t make a fuss over it. (Sleeping child!) Sips of tepid, strange tea, fresh cat food in dish, feet near now-blazing fire, new book on my lap (Mink River, so good I awoke in the night smiling), but don’t pick it up now: this quiet in the near-dark too precious, too quickly gone to spend it in another life (I who love to be alone, who loves the early morning darkness, who wants to nothing more than to be. Here. Now.). And then? 6:05. My children. Calling for me. Oh good morning dear ones. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

snow winter moon

It's the dawn before Christmas and miracle of miracles the third day in a row that my entire family has slept until six. Which means, I am here by the wood stove with tea, the glittering lights of the Christmas tree, and you. The snow that fell two days ago was quickly covered by a thick coating of ice, but no complaints: the ground, at night, under moonlight, is white and we have all attached spikes to the bottom of our boots in order to make it to the car and if it snows just another inch we will be able to take out the new sled and, well, fly.

The world feels (surprisingly) very much full of good things to me right now and ripe with connection. Connectivity: the reason woodbird is here, and for the past few days I have felt a bounty of strands of love and common ground slipping between the trees into our clearing here in the woods and forming a web that bring me joy and levity and deep gratitude. I have many e-mails and letters I want to write, but for now: thank you for that. We hold each other up in this world. You and me and you and me and you and me.  And this stunning piece of art above? I found it at Deborah's blog where she has sweetly shared our winter song "Stratton Mountain Tragedy" and the story behind it. It is a song of winter miracles. Enjoy.


Friday, December 21, 2012


Happy winter solstice, friends. It snowed in the night (at last!) and the cat and I snuck out in the early morning to dust our toes with the stuff and peek both up at the still-dark sky and into the brightly-lit windows of home. Both made us frisky and bright eyed and grateful. It has been a season of making stuff: nightgowns and mittens and house additions and cookies and ginger bread houses and snowflakes and new songs and, if experience tells me anything, it will continue to be a season of making things for the long road ahead. Which is, I think, a wonderful way to spend one's brief time here on earth: with our hearts and hands busy in the creation of things which bring us and others joy and warmth and light and (hopefully) make the world a more enjoyable place to be. May today and the days ahead be filled with love, light and busy hearts and hands for you, too.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012


What a tender, heart-sore week. I've spent the last few days making gifts and baking and trying to keep my heart afloat on the bright-lit faces of my children. I've also had some moments to read but have found that most of the fiction I've picked up has drowned out, with loud cacophony, the tender, quiet, luminous, sometimes tragic light of the real world we live in. And so I have found comfort in:

The most recent issue of The Progressive, in which writers (Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca Solnit, Bill McKibbin, to name a few), answer the question of what it means to live well. Which, as you know, is a question I care about.

Also, the first two chapters of The Woman in the Woods, by Ann Joslin Williams. This collection of linked stories is painfully beautiful. And yes, a child dies, which is perhaps why I turned to it now.

And, at last, Mary Ruefle's collection of essays, Madness, Rack, and Honey, from which I offer you a few lines, which are about poetry, but also more:

I do not think I really have anything to say about poetry other than remarking that it is a wandering little drift of unidentified sound, and trying to say more reminds me of following the sound of a thrush into the woods on a summer's eve--if you persist in following the thrush it will only recede deeper and deeper into the woods; you will never actually see the thrush (the hermit thrush is especially shy), but I suppose listening is a kind of knowledge, or as close as one can come. "Fret not after knowledge, I have none," is what the thrush says. Perhaps we can use our knowledge to preserve a bit of space where his lack of knowledge can survive. 

May your hearts also find the light.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

songs in the lunar phase

Red Heart the Ticker, the band of which I am one half (and of which my husband is the other) has a new hair brained scheme for you: Songs in the Lunar Phase. What is it?  A music subscription plan in which we send you a new song on the full moon of every month for a year. What better way to celebrate (and remember) those days of bewitching lunar splendor?! (And hear tunes no others will...)

You can read more about it (and subscribe, if you're so inclined) here:



Saturday, December 8, 2012


Today's menu:

The chair where I plan to sometime sit and read (with a cup of tea):

Nature in Winter, by David Stokes
Hunger Mountain
Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich

I'm willing to wait all day.

Friday, December 7, 2012


It's the one time of year when I put all my other projects on hold in order to become crafty. This year I've put my vintage Singer on the kitchen table and will let it live there for a few weeks while I make:  these stockings for my children, a flannel nightgown for A, and felted pants and mittens out of an old hand-me-down sweater. I'm an absolute sucker for this time of year. And I'm as far from a perfectionist as you can get, which makes the work both ridiculous and fun.

Happy making to you too.


PS: My friend Desha has reposted a piece about my house (originally on enhabiten in May), in case you want to see what my house looked like back when I was a mother of one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

winter lights

Good morning. It's still gray here, yes, but the glittering sound of that soft C is reflected in the Christmas lights strung from the French doors to the wood stove, and light is abundant, in: All the Living, by C.E. Morgan, which both frustrated and amazed in equal measure (and when you get that close to love, it is a light worth sharing); apple and arugula salad with rosemary dressing; old wool sweaters turned into snug baby pants and felted mittens;  two barred owls and one bald eagle; the first few pages of Things that Are by Amy Leach; ice on water and light on ice;  early morning dance parties full of baby you can drive my car and toothless grins; cranking the woodstove so we can all go barefoot; sky between trees and trees under sky; the moon that wakes us at three am through this purple curtain; the snow that comes and goes and comes and goes again; my daughter's voice; my son's eyes; the glitter spilled across the floor that no-one has yet bothered to sweep up; and that bath, yesterday. Oh yes, that bath. In the late afternoon. With piping hot water and a candle and the most recent copy of The Sun. That was a dizzying bright light amidst all this gray. May your day be pocked and diaphanous and perforated with the particular light of winter, too. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Avah 3

I swore to myself I was done with Avah poems here on this blog, but this one was irresistible. The inspiration comes from an erasure book made by the dear gal Jennifer Bowen Hicks and her talented son Oliver. Happy morning to you all. 

Pretty maid
you come my dear
ladies near
baby's bum
sing and low
honey bird, sweet and high
cricket come, woods 
cricket near
cricket’s ear
woods is near
come quick
congratulations, apple man!
The word that made
crow stack (yes I said crow stack!)
horse made
pretty laid
my dear is gone
eyeball near
and far away
the thing that made the gal come near
dog howl
whatever comes near
I simply feel
the one that he’s forgotten
the one that made the pretty-o-o.