The Hunt

The following story was published on Jan. 17, 2024 on The Raven's Perch, an online literary magazine. The Hunt Today is the day I go hunting for a moose. One year ago today, I watched the spirit of my grandmother pull itself free from her mangled earthly body. She always called that body a gift, a temporary vessel that allowed her to experience life, though towards the end it became more of a prison. “Take me home,” she said. “Where is home?” I asked. She had been living in a nursing home for a few years, which was difficult for the fiercely independent woman I knew my Grandma to be. Any of her assets, including her home, dissolved for her care. “The cabin,” she said. Without telling anyone, I loaded her in the van. We escaped the nursing home and wound our way through the colors of Autumn to her favorite place - yellow aspen and paper birch, red maple, green adler, balsam fir. She died surrounded by everything that fed her soul. The rustic cabin, nestled in the Minnesota North Woods, is my home now. She transferred title to me several years before she entered the nursing home, before her body was riddled with arthritis. We spent precious moments … [Read more...]


A Moment Stopped

Water droplet imprints on my glasses The sky swollen with dark gray clouds I smile Inside my heart dances as mist washes away the drabness and consistency of life The slats sigh resistance as I step onto the boardwalk Ripples on the lake slap each other as they run away from raindrops Drought exposed thick, soft muck lines the bank Colorful leaves create underwater paintings A mallard and his mate swim closer then away then closer looking for food, unable to decide if I am a threat A small muskrat swims away from the silt plume created by the spring rushing to feed the bathtub lake, a hollow fallen tree his home Unexpected pleasure amidst the busy Accepting the gift I stop … [Read more...]


Being outside

I was at a reading last night in which the author posed a question asking if the land speaks to you. It is amazing how much outside speaks to me! The following poem speaks of a time where the wilderness felt like home. Home Silence, my purposeful steps on the trail the only sound, meadow on one side, the river on the other. A small golden doe stands between me and the river, neck extended, ears propped at attention, assessing. Deciding I am a threat she lopes off. Stepping into the forest the breeze whispers through the trees. Grandfather Oak stretches his arms above me sheltering me with his strength. Looking up blue sky peeks through gnarled fingers splattered with green leaves. Tiny dragonflies perch on thin fingers of a lifeless arm, one, and then another, and another, until there are five, comfortable with my presence, watching my every move. The forest is beautiful here, the thin underbrush speckled with the suns' kiss. I dance through the trees with the wind and the sun, my arms in the air a grin on my face. I am home. … [Read more...]


Beside Her

I read the following poem at a reading recently. It was written as I sat with my mother in the last year of her life. We sit in silence holding hands, one ancient, one old. She asks about me. I talk about work. "I love pickled liver." "What made you think of pickled liver?" "I thought that's what you said." I stop talking. Linear conversation is hard. I am old. She is my mother, residing between reality and a world within her, hearing things that are not said, believing things that are not meant. She is dying, slowly, struggling to breathe. She is afraid. Afraid of the unknown of the suffering to come of dying of dying alone. "I will be ok," she says. "Will you be ok?" She worries about me. "Yes." "Are you ready?" I ask. "Yes. Are you?" "Yes." Back and forth between fear and acceptance. Fear ultimately wins. We sit in silence holding hands, one ancient, one old, remembering. … [Read more...]



Looking for word combinations and inspiration from past writing, I ran across the following poem. I felt it is appropriate for the journey on which I am embarking. Words flow from deep inside like an ebbing tide leaving its writing in the sand They share the story of the life floundering within crying out someone hear me know that I am here … [Read more...]


What do You Collect?

I collect words. Declutter and simplify. Those words are thrown around everywhere right now. There are people who make a living showing us how to declutter, simplify and organize. I'm not one to jump on a fad wagon, but the urge to get rid of things has been pretty strong lately, especially things that I have been storing for a long time and haven't even looked at, let alone used. You know, those beautiful nick-nacks that I plan to display when I have company, but rarely come out of the box. How about the duplicate items that "I might use some day"? I just have too much stuff. As I looked around at what I wanted to sell or get rid of, I realized that there are few things that mean enough to me to matter. I would rather sell them than hang on to them. If there was a fire in my house, the things I would mourn the loss of most would be the family heirlooms and the photos. I really don't have "collections" of things, except plants. I have plants all over my house. If offered the right price, the few collector's items I have would go in a heartbeat. Another interesting thing I realized about myself is while most people collect things - plates, spoons, various … [Read more...]

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Creating a Self-Watering Planter

  I am so pleased this self-watering planter worked!   There are so many different ideas when it comes to building a self-watering planter, but they all head in the same direction: Having a well at the bottom of the planter with a wick to draw the water up to the plants' roots. I pooled different ideas from my research and created two self-watering planters that have produced lots of lovely flowers.   The first design problem I faced was finding a planter with enough depth to plant gladiolas that was reasonable to purchase. Most large planters were way out of my price range, so I started thinking creatively. What about garbage cans, or large buckets, or stock tanks?   I landed on 40-gallon stock tanks, standing about 13 inches tall. Using about one-third of the height for the well left me about nine inches of soil.   The first step was collecting the supplies. I purchased three-inch perforated drain tile, pvc pipe, a bag of pebble rocks and some organic potting soil to mix with composted grass and leaves from my back yard. I already had landscape fabric and the cutting tools I needed.     Drain holes … [Read more...]


Reily’s Luck

By Louis L'Amour   Sentimentality... Is there a book that takes your breath away every time you hear or read the title? Or one that breaks through the bricks walls holding the files of your past, releasing a flood of memories and emotions? Louis L'Amour's 1970 novel Reilly's Luck does that for me.   I was introduced to Louis L'Amour's writing by my second mom, Jan Federson, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. Jan, and her husband, Feddy, lived in a large walkout rambler near McCoy Lake in Eden Prairie, when all the roads off Mitchell Road were gravel, and there were only a few houses in the area. Inside and to the left of the front door was a large living room with one wall lined with cupboards on the bottom and shelves on the top. Every shelf was filled with books, as Jan was an avid reader. She loved westerns, and I believe she had every book written by L'Amour. I don't know how many of L'Amour's books Jan encouraged me to read, but Reilly's Luck stuck with me over the years.   The beginning chapters of the book tell how a 4-year-old Val Darrant ends up in the care of Will Reilly, a gentleman who is a gambler by profession and handy with a … [Read more...]


Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston was a female black writer in the early 20th century, and she wrote this novel in 1937.   In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie tells her story to her best friend Phoebe, from her first forced marriage when she was a teenager to living with the love of her life in her 40s. It tells of her relationships, describing the three totally different men she lived with, and the adventures incurred throughout her life. The majority of the book takes place in Eatonville, a town in Florida near Jacksonville that was incorporated on August 15, 1887, and was one of the first self-governing all-black municipalities in the United States. It also is the community in which Hurston grew up.   Janie was raised by her grandmother, Nanny, who was trying to give her a better life than she had. Both Janie's mother and Janie were products of rape. When Nanny saw Janie kissing a boy over the fence, she felt it was time for Janie to get married and be taken care of by a man.   Janie was not interested in marriage, or the man Nanny chose, who Janie came to realize wanted not a partner and a wife, but a maid and someone to help with … [Read more...]


Creativity a part of survival

Creativity. Life has a way of crowding out creativity. But what is life if not creative?   Survival. Survival at the mercy of our society's structure.   But there are those who don't survive very well without following the creative impulses, whether they lead to inventing, or organizing, or creating beauty through words, color or structure. I am one of those people... When life crowds out the ability to create, I withdraw inside myself and move toward being a hermit, which causes other issues inside of me. Spending time with people has always put deposits into my emotional bank, and moving away from people depletes the balance to the point where "why bother" enters into my thought process. The fallacy that I can be self sustaining and not need others permeates my mind.   Drastic changes happen.   My husband sees those changes, and gets concerned. He acts, and I flourish.   Over the last couple of years, life has crowded out much of my creative time. I have let every day duties and responsibilities drain me to the point of not having enough energy to create. My husband changed all that. He bought me a pottery class, which is … [Read more...]