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...]


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...]


Finding permission to be called a writer

I am a writer.   It is that simple. I AM a writer.   How can I call myself a writer when there is little current evidence of my craft? That question often plagues me and holds me down like a wrecking ball resting on a pile of broken walls. I also transfer that question into others, though I have no idea if they really feel that way.   How can you call yourself a writer? You don't write every day, you don't get paid for what you do write and your book isn't selling itself? Those critical questions open the door to shame.   My personal favorite admonition: "Nobody wants me as a writer..."   But, I AM a writer.   Daniel José Older, in his blog Writing Begins with Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice is Wrong, states that shame, more than anything else, stops people from writing. He debunks the advice that to be a writer, you have to write every day. That idea is one of the biggest causes of shame.   I found his blog at the right time. I needed to release the shame and give myself permission to be the writer I am. For me, the should-have-could-have-would-haves are paralytic. The … [Read more...]


Strengthening the crackling veneer

Have you ever felt broken? Like someone else is living in your body?   I have, and I think the other person's name is Meno Pause. Meno has more depressed days than I ever had, is less tolerant of others and is so fragile that little things crackle the veneer that holds her together, sending her into a room alone to get the shaking under control. She also has trouble thinking, would rather be alone and often avoids gatherings. She is the opposite of who I am in so many ways...   Meno Pause has been living in me for several years, but I think she is gradually moving out. A year ago, I was afraid she was becoming a permanent resident, but today I know different. I don't know if she will ever move out completely, but I am OK with that.   Over the last year I have become stronger, both physically and emotionally, strengthening the veneer that holds us both together. I am more like myself again, and have decided to embrace whatever comes each day. I mourn the loss of parts of me that Meno took away, but I have hope for the future, and I look forward to whatever it has to offer.   … [Read more...]