Friday, July 15, 2016


How wild it is to even type that huge number in as a title.  Nine.  Tomorrow my girl turns nine.  Nine!  I think about the years that I've covered in this sacred space.  How I needed my words and photos to hold on to it all, to make sense of something so sensational, so foreign, so tremendous. 

Now she's huge.  She's strong and confident and kind.  She's adventurous and empathetic and bikes down the hill to the market on her own.  She is a believer, a feeler, an artist -- ever the Cancer, wild water spirit.  Today she wanted to make fairy houses in the forest with her two closest friends.  They gathered moss and stones, leaves and bark, creating careful arrangements.  For her real birthday she wants a family day with her auntie and uncle from out of town, with the farmer's market and some time outside.  Oh, and the mall.  With the ear piercing at the mall.  Alas.  We've surrendered to studs. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

down time

Solomon and Eliana are big fans of the term "down time."  Usually the term references their desire to watch a movie and relax, but today it serves as a perfect metaphor for our June foray to Mexico.  It was down time in the very best sense of the word.  Down time in the sea.  Down time eating meals together and playing Solomon's invented game, "Blow that Dough."  Down time using our Spanish and making new friends.  Down time eating tacos, sipping tequila, jumping in the pool.  Down time.  Down time all the way.

From my journal, June 13th:

Children and pools and a marine layer make
for a fantastic start to a Monday, a body
slowed by sun and sand,

the thrilling realization that all I must do
is right here -- this book and pen, these kids and their shouts,
this sea and her waves,

this is all and I sigh with gratitude because 
this is absolutely everything.

During the big storm, mangoes fly from trees,
litter the street like migrating crabs,
like post-party detritus, like golden orbs
open for business, homes to colonies of bees,
to our barefeet and beggar hands.
We scoop them from potholes and cobblestones,
peel back their thin skins and 
suck them dry; mangoes gathered in 
buckets and bins, mangoes beneath
fallen street lamps, mangos caught
in palm fronds.  Long and languid, the trees
are still heavy, luxurious and immediate.
Mamas gather mangoes for
their babies while chickens peck
mango through sticky pulp.  
From the window, I watch
the old donkey slip mangoes from the crate,
mango juice drips down his smile,
he bends for another.

Hermit crabs scuttle across the sand
if you watch a bit, you'll see, they're everywhere,
always moving, fast then slow, reminding us 
that nothing is as it seems.
Colors of sand and stone, burnt seaweed 
white bits of fishbone, the children build them
a school.  The ones who don't stay seated
go to detention in the principal's office,
a long, sandy trench.  For hours they chase them back,
reprimand them, gather more, little pinchers and
long feelers, so sneaky and restless.

spring re-cap

Somehow I missed the whole spring.  I actually didn't miss anything, but I missed stopping and writing it all down.  So here I am with a computer full of pictures, looking at how much they've grown in just the few months feeling mildly overwhelmed with it all.  How fast the seasons run, how the green turns back to gold, how my love stops me in my tracks again and again.  Here are some highlights:

Missoula spring means rain and Arrowleaf Balsam Root and lots of adventures outside...

Spring means a roadtrip to Southern Cali, to the homeland, to the sea and family...

 Spring means a conference in NYC, reconnecting with old friends and family, loving on theatre and long, wild walks, taking it all in...

 Spring is a little boy who is suddenly six, his huge smile and life loving ways, the way he tried to hop in the Clark Fork on his birthday and was so bummed I wouldn't let him swim in the freezing cold water, his sushi dinner, his party with his class, our special walk in Greenough...

 Spring is another Mother's Day and this year the kids can do the long hike, don't hold us back, everyday precious and full of adventure...

 Spring is a spontaneous Memorial Day weekend in Yellowstone, the geysers and trails, the new discoveries so close to this place we call home.