I Wish the World Loved My Daughter the Way I Do.October 18, 2023
Like most great parenting stories, this one begins with an overflowing toilet. If you have even one child, for long enough, inevitably they will cause…
Like most great parenting stories, this one begins with an overflowing toilet. If you have even one child, for long enough, inevitably they will cause…
They already know so well, how to mend the world with their own hearts. They are both unafraid of the sound of grief.
Monday on Monday underwear days are good days.
I got to hug my son on his last day as a high school Freshman this morning. Tomorrow Truly graduates from fourth grade. I feel…
I’m cleaning the kitchen, I mean REALLY cleaning it. My Mother would call my kitchens current state a shit-mess! It has been weeks since the…
Grief is different now. I see it’s always been there, invisible to people until we happen to stumble over it. Once you’ve seen it, not just a small dose, but the giant-soaking-you-where-you-stand dose, you’ll always see it.
Doesn’t this little circle of pets say everything? We come in beauty, we pass in beauty. We are all connected, here to revere each other as sacred even as we struggle with loss.
That is why, on Christmas eve, hours before I was going to perform my full Santa gig, I was driving to pet stores with Truly and our new eight week old German Shepherd puppy, “Dandelion”, looking for the right food, right collar, right treats, right everything.
It is so glorious to feel the merciless cold pulling at you as you reach deeper into spirit.
Why do we grieve at all? Wouldn’t it be more helpful for some switch to flip in our brains when a close member of our…
I’ve been working on a bigger writing project, a book about the first four years since Terry’s death. It’s what I had to write just so I could write about something else, anything else. Saying what needs to be said seems to be a requirement for storytellers. I now have a manuscript titled “Wilder Grief”.
“Her body wasn’t strong enough to hold her spirit anymore, so she had to leave…” It’s impossible for me to accept that our beginning came…
Animals were the first beings they had to negotiate their own relationship with, on their own terms.
We already knew how to lay down together, wrap our tails around each other…
The craft of hope is no longer a challenge to me, so much as honoring its value in the world.
I’d be teaching my kids wonderment, full time.
I will tend my Dragon and pray to the dirt to make this an island of peace.
What will hold your feet to the ground, when the winds of change try to carry you away? Even through Terry’s illness I still had…
We don’t know whats coming next. But we have each other. And what remains will be good, beautiful and worthy of all of our talents and wisdoms.
Its more exciting to say it began with hamster entrails on the living room floor, but it didn’t. That was a few days after the…
“Daddy what happened to Momma’s skin?”
“What do you mean, when she was sick?”
“No, when she died.”
“So you mean when we put her in the Earth?”
I guess we were all wound a little too tight for a game as potentially violent as croqu
Today I untethered the cart
and felt the space we’d made in me,
empty cupped hands.
What can live there now?
here are times when I come up to wake them for school and they’ve found each other and are so entangled I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. If I go away for a few days I know so long as they’re sleeping next to each other our littlest one will be fine. They comfort each other in ways a phone call from me can’t.
What will it be like, someday, when my children are running through the forest after I’ve died? Will they feel me with them, sharing in their joy?
Its one of those things you do together that reveals who you really are. We were always people who would take the road less traveled, even when it was hard, and find all the beauty that was to be had there.
I don’t know how to process all of that – how to be delightfully pregnant with possibilities and holding grief at the same time? Can I feel all of that without curling up in a ball with a case of cookies, a bottle of wine and every episode of the X-files?
Isn’t it funny that my cure for loneliness is learning to be alone again?
It turns out I’ve been carrying around a floating divorce of sorts. Terry and I did not say “’til death do us part” in our wedding vows. Now I understand why people include that clause. If the spirits are real to you, tangible in your life, does your marriage really end after death?
There is a young man, sitting in jail halfway around the world, who tried harder than anyone I know to escape the gravity of life….
The Earth is really a place of great feeling, we’ve just been raised to hold ourselves back from it
This gorgeous young man painted from head to toe with every moment of his Mothers love is sleeping without fear. You know his rest is unblemished, it is still the sleep of young, wild things.
We’re not ready to move on,
we’re ready to move in,
The cauldron of our family
will remake us again,
not seperate from Momma,
but with her on the other side.
Widower. Thats the new job title. Objectively of course it fits. We were married almost 15 years. The kids and I celebrated our anniversary by…
One things for sure, you are not anywhere to be found in all the paperwork I’m dealing with. I’m struck by how little all that stuff has to do with you. The important crap of life turns out to be total crap after all.
We sat together in that place of no refuge.
Our girl is now bigger than popcorn ever was. It used to be her feet found the world, now its her eyes, her fingers, her…
When you’re under a spell your life can feel like that: this is not real, this is not how things are supposed to be, yet you’re trapped. This insanity has become the new real. It feels like you’re farther away from whats real than you ever have been before, but really the opposite is true. This middle place is closer to the new real than you realize, you just have more to pass through.
But for those of us who know that magic must disguise itself in our world, it was clearly the head and spine of a recently fallen majestic being.
These moments pass between us, each one different, like tiny speckled quail eggs we’re sharing with each other. Trust becomes a tangible thing when you’re on a journey like this. Its become part of my daily mantra: trust & patience, trust & patience, trust & patience…
The Forest stole my hiding place and made it into a celebration of connection. Everyone (including our dog Bella) spent this Fathers Day in the…
Relax – that’s what I know my job is now, that’s the message I get when I check in. This is not an easy task…
I don’t know why I thought enormous stress, lack of sleep, and Terry’s health crisis would magically not impact my fear of flying. Yes I’d…
I tell myself I’m being there for them, but I know its the other way around, they are my life raft. She snuggles under my…
Its been storming hard here for weeks, they’re starting to call it the 100 year flood…maybe. The hillsides, sometimes barren from drought or fire, seem…
To look into Cear’s eyes was to stare into your own soul. Once upon a time… there was child born into the world of dreams….
When did it start for you – that deep ache that was also a yearning waiting to be lived? I remember the moment acutely, my feet dangling over the edge of the back seat of Grandpa’s old Buick, feeling so small, like a leaf waiting to be blown out to sea.
…I journeyed to the spirit of the Slough, finding an ancient woman twisting her yarn at a spinning wheel, weaving out the eons singing to the tap of her wheel. Listening to her spinning song slowly turned me to gunpowder-black dust. She sang, wove and spun until I became a small bird perched on her wheel transformed by her radiance.
I’ve been feeling lately, like so many of my friends, that I’m sitting at an important crossroad. I understand that I need to move forward, but have not really been given the direction yet. So I sit with potential, and that can feel oddly frightening, like you’re pausing at a threshold while something ominous and unknown draws closer.
I suspect somehow that our wonderment actually feeds the Earth.
When it first arrives, you think there’s been some kind of a mistake, surely it meant to sit down next to someone else. You distract yourself, move on, until you finally realize its not going anywhere. So you spend time together, without really acknowledging it exists because, lets face it – you know grief, you’ve been there before. You don’t need any kind of re-introduction. Sure you can tag along if you want to, but don’t get too comfortable.
This is the journey available to us if we open to it, the yearning we feel for something more profound, and the answers nature offers us.
Our two year old has developed a seriously respectable roar in the last few months…
When we were out on a lake, Dad thought of me less as a son he’d taken fishing and more like a somewhat lame first-mate. He needed me to get the boat on and off the trailer, so I would do, but just barely so. He was kind to me, but within the understanding that, as far as fishing went I was a bit limited.
Its funny how water connects us and pulls us apart. He was the one who dragged me out of that lake when I nearly drowned all those years ago, now I’m driving his ashes, my Mom, son, and artifacts that story 45 years of their life in Utah out to the coast.
The crucible of the alchemist, the container for his life opus, is symbolized by the egg. It is out of this crucible the true self, radiant self, finally emerges after the struggle of transformation. Tonight I’m stricken by the transformation of my daughter, considering the last two years and nine months – the world that made the crucible that fosters her emergence.
When I find myself in a forest I feel that I am the one being understood, not the other way around. Its as if my spirit is finally free to expand to its biggest size and once there, it finds itself wholly encompassed by something much larger and more mysterious than I can ever fully understand.
Now being loved this much is of course AWESOME, the first 5,000 times it happens.
By the time I caught up with True, she was carefully examining a tan, three foot long Bull Snake stretched elegantly across the front path.
My family has a lot of good stories I may never share. Some because they belong to all of us and are still unfolding, some because they don’t belong to me at all. They belong to my wife, my son, and now my daughter.
The heartache I feel when my son is just away for the day at school still takes me by surprise. I want to hold his fierceness tightly, bury him in my heart until his hysterical laughter blows everything wide open.
Holding her takes on greater power every day, not for her but for me. I can feel her relaxing into me, I can feel that she knows everything is going to be OK because she’s in Papas arms.
As a new dad I was not used to giving up so much of my inner space. I’d already given up the solitude of going to the bathroom alone, did I really need to give up the privacy that sleep offers?
We are there again, in that tiny bucket rushing down a river too fast to know where we are going or what is right in front of us.
This is one of my favorite stories, but I don’t get to tell it often. Its not a favorite because its happy (its not), or it left me feeling liberated (it didn’t). When I tell it I feel like I have to root around in my insides, scrape it off my rib bones and piece it back together.
I need to start with the nightmare. I really don’t want to start there, I’d rather not go there at all. After all, its just a little boys dream …
It took a lot to create a world free of real magic, a world free of true wildness.
He comes to me when I’m in the midst of my most mundane parenting tasks. “How would Shaun have done this”, I ask myself. “How can I do this better”, is what I really want to know. Is it possible to cherish my children more?
My ancestors had a tradition, some think it came from the time of warring clans, of trading their children. Like many things the ancient Irish did, it sounds a bit barbaric to the modern ear.
Our fosterling squeals with glee as I lower her onto Bella’s chest. She immediately latches on to the thick black fur…
My first steps across this bridge were marked by the unexpected, volcanic eruption of our septic system.
She is heavier each day, not from the food making her so beautifully stout, but her ability to trust. As we cherish, she arrives more.
Agencies, institutions and laws do not heal people, that much is clear. At best they can provide opportunities for transformation, guide books, the names of mentors, directions to journey in. They are not in and of themselves, healing. That is the work of our fellow human beings, and the compassionate spirits who offer their wisdom and support.
This is the work –
to be here and more alive
than you were before.
To say yes to the tides when they pull you down.
Children teach you to measure time in new pairs of shoes, outgrown jackets, and trips from one grade to the next.
As the family cook, I receive great joy in working with fresh wholesome ingredients. Last night I served the best butternut squash I’ve ever tasted, the first one harvested from our garden this season.
This is also the fifth day we’ve been fostering a toddler at our home. When we said yes to taking her in we didn’t know if it would be for two days, six months or the rest of our lives.
Etched on the backside of your skin,
termite designs written by twig fingers
on your tender bark.
“Papa, the Lorax talks to me.”
“Yes he does, and he tells me things about the trees. Yeah, and I talk to the trees too.”
Fog’s powerful presence has existed on our Earth for billions of years. It has inspired innumerable mystics and likely served the spirits in ways we can’t even begin to understand
The secret, wind-filled family-time buoyed us all with helium laughter. Blustering fog off the incoming tide wiped the dust from the crevices in our faces. The dry winter was over.
Later in the dream I became that young self, chased by my mischievous big sister on a sunny day, hysterical joy overwhelming me as I tried to keep up with my feet.
I probably should have known that our marriage would be nothing like I expected, given that you dubbed me “stinky” when we first met.
They never tell you, when you get married, that part of your job is to inspire your spouse. I thought mostly about what I was getting out of the deal when I said ‘I do,’ not so much about what new things I’d have to give, and what old things I’d have to get rid of.
Sitting up in the dark last night I realized I’m no longer afraid of letting myself go into the dark. I think being a parent can give you that kind of fearlessness.
I have dreamed of you more in the last year than I’ve ever dreamed of you before. Always crystal clear, sometimes laughing, sometimes imparting mysterious messages, a few times crying harder than I knew you could cry.
I spent my first Fathers Day without you
with my son at my side,
wondering where you were.
We are rivers, each one of us. We have currents and pulses, silent pools and cascading torrents of rushing water.
I don’t stop to think about how much community flows from the couples in my life.
Autumn used to be the time to savor my most intense feelings. Wrapping them tightly in earthen bundles, I’d carry them into the woods on aimless walks.
There Is Really Just One Project.
A culture that understands Solutio cannot pollute its Oceans as we now are.
Alchemy only works when you begin with separate elements. A little of this+a little of that = gold.
The sudden death of someone close is like walking away from a really bad car crash. Even though you’re unscathed, every molecule in your body suffers an impact.
I thought I had forgiveness.
My Mother keeps faded recipes crammed into a small card box in a cabinet in her kitchen. Each stained card is a ticket to a story about someone I would have dined with had I been alive when she was young.
We stumbled across the Barrel Race on a lazy Saturday afternoon drive in our new neighborhood. A strong tradition of horsemanship permeates life here, we…
This evening I walked our acre of land with my son. We’ve only lived here a little less than a year, just enough time for…
My wife tried to win that contest for years. Cyclists of all skill levels sent in photos of their most epic crashes, or the bloody…
An essay by New York Times reporter Judith Warner caught my eye this morning. Titled “Dude, You’ve Got Problems“, it focuses on the harassment young…