Try and Catch the Wind

I’ve signed up for Mondo Beyondo and still have to do my questionnaire. The past weekend was full as I was in the Pioneer Valley where my daughter goes to school. My brain is still foggy and full of my second solo experience in the valley. Trying to sort it all out.

I found this anonymous quote in the Amherst Starbucks Molly’s first September there:

“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust our sails.”

I rediscovered it in my wee journal as I sat in Haymarket Sunday morning before returning to my reality. That one, and this one by Emerson:

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”

I’m trying, but it’s hard sometimes.

To My Sister

Dear Betsy,

I was too embarrassed to tell you why I was backing off from going to Squam with you. I said I was feeling ambivalent and I was uncertain about whether or not I would go right up until the Friday before, and that was partly true. But the whole truth is, I can’t handle curve balls.

I had a certain idea of my Squam overnight in mind — my plan was to drive Molly’s car, stay here (it was a dream and the Liepers are the best and an inspiration, in their 80’s for Goddess’ sake), catch up with Thea at 5 for my photo shoot (didn’t happen, me after 6 hours on the road, her after several days at Squam — it was just too much), skip into an art gallery before supper at the Corner House, catch the art show, and head home Sunday.

So I did go, but with Marty instead. With Marty I can do things my way and I don’t have to explain myself (too much). He loves me anyway — unconditionally, with all my quirks. I can be totally comfortable in my skin.

With my family, I always seem to lapse into explanations about my feelings which start feeling like excuses, paranoia, my phobias. So I am neurotic. I become self-conscious. Stumbling over my words and what I want to say. For fear of judgment.

The first curve was taking Vincent’s car, then it was staying at Lynn’s condo nearby, then it was Lynn might be going to her condo for the weekend too — I couldn’t handle it. I just wanted my little overnight my way, a way I was comfortable with.

I needed to stick with my original plan — I get overwhelmed and nervous otherwise. I wanted Squam to feel special, the little piece I experienced of it, and it was. I would have liked to have shared it with you as I know you would have been blown away, but this year it wasn’t going to happen.

When I was planning your 40th birthday party, Jacqueline was throwing me curves too. When I called Joyce to discuss the curves, she said, “Keep it simple, stick with the plan, Stan.” She was so right. I try to remember that advice when I feel myself uncertain (curve balls do that to me). So, I decided to stick with the plan, if I went. But I couldn’t tell you my feelings, my discomfort with the curve balls. I was sorry and didn’t want things to be all awkward between us as they sometimes can be. It’s our family way sometimes, huh?

But I want things to be all right between us and for you to understand.

“I yam who I yam.”
–Langston Hughes

Love from your big sis,

The NH Woods

Years ago I was driving through a part of NH during one of my Vermont camping trips and I excitedly popped off a postcard to my mother, who is from Claremont. She is from the southwest corner of the state, this was the north — Woodsville and Haverhill to be exact — the western border along the Connecticut River, across from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

“I feel this soul connection, here Mom, yet I’ve never been here! It’s like I know this place.” I tried to explain.

Later when I called her and mentioned it again, she snapped, “Well, my grandmother was born there.” She gets testy about family history for many reasons I won’t go into here. And her grandmother is my great-grandmother, you know?

I have always felt magic in the woods, talked to spirits and worshiped deities amongst the trees since I was a small child. The woods are alive with spirits and they are where I am most at home. And so it was in the woods at Squam this past Saturday.

I only went to the art show but I understand now why it is too hard to write it all out in one post too soon. It is an experience that must be absorbed first, savored, to be shared, yes, but to be held onto before letting it go. Like a spirit in the woods.


Going through family memorabilia with my dad today before he sells my parents’ house. I feel lucky to be going through it while my parents are still alive. It was pretty cool finding the baby book my mother kept for me when I was born. She was amazing at keeping records from my first tooth to first step to first lock of hair.

She kept my bracelets, got autographs from the nurse and doctor and kept her special dinner menu — she had filet mignon and she even kept the red plastic stick they put in it (she likes her beef rare)!

I am looking forward to scanning some of the mementos. There was just so much history, and I realized it’s much bigger than me or any individual, it’s all of us. And it’s not about the house or even the stuff but the memories inside of us that they trigger when we search — my father’s collar stays, a photograph of him with his five brothers, his film from Vietnam, my mother’s yearbook and boxes of cards, letters and more from my sisters and me. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be — and it’s pretty easy to figure out the stuff that matters and what to let go of.

Wondrous Strange

And so it is my birthday — 51! Met the charming Jess today at work and it turns out her boyfriend on the opposite coast was a good friend of my son’s in their “younger” days. So much to share and so little time to write. Maybe a post later?

**image of jess on mt. hood from rory and jess’s blog

History Herstory Ourstory Mystory Yourstory

About the writing – I have to tell my story. If people want to read it, great. But I have to get it out.

I believe we are all full of stories, and how we tell them makes them interesting or dull. It’s not necessarily the story itself but the sharing of it, the sharing of a piece of us. I have always loved stories — they are how I get to know people, how I look at myself — through my story. I use words to tell my story. Some people use photography or music, dance and so on. I use language. My story is part of the bigger story of course, our story. My tribe’s story. A piece of the world’s story. Perhaps a part of your story.

New Year

September always feels like the beginning of a new year to me. Perhaps it’s the harvest, back-to-school year beginning, my birthday month, Rosh Hashanah, SAW, new job — wait new job?

Yes, I start my new job today working in a photographer’s studio downtown. But I am not a photographer, I am a writer and that’s one reason I’m working there. She liked my resume — it wasn’t your usual. And much as I enjoy photos, I was not looking to learn photography here, I was looking for work — that could maybe support some sort of creativity. Sarah (my boss) told me many people would get excited about the admin assistant job, telling her how much they want to learn photography — but she wasn’t looking for a photographer, she’s the photographer, she needs an assistant. And voila, along comes a Virgo (our motto is “I serve” per Linda Goodman) to serve. I love support positions, always have. I don’t want to be the star, I like being the supporting actress. It’s always felt comfortable and right to me.


“I had one too,” she whispered to me.

I felt less alone. She already had four, I had two, the baby a handful at barely one. Rough, drinking husbands.

“I felt so guilty, I confessed,” she said.

“I still feel guilty, what did the priest say?”

“He gave me Hail Mary’s and said never to do it again.”

“It’s still too painful for me to risk confession.”

Both of us, Catholics.

“I feel like a monster, and can’t forgive myself. I was about 10 weeks. You?”

“About the same. I still feel horrible.”

“I know.”

“I cry on my way home from work every night. I think about it all the time.”

We knew we would never do it again. Once was one more than we ever thought we could.

**photo Life Magazine cover, 1965 and reprinted Summer 1990