Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the other garden

i only feel free to play
in somebody else's garden.
i dislike my own
it's full of weeds--
an overgrown meadow
best left for rabbits.

out here i'm happy
i can explore--
no time to think deeply
when you are running free
dancing in the rain
taking shelter under a tree.

i'm tired of thinking deeply
i want to be free--
so i will stay
in this other garden
as long as i can

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the wind

you come to me like a whisper in the wind
but sometimes i want something more tangible
here with me:
to laugh with,
and poke with a finger
(instead of a mouse click)

but continents are wide
mountains tall
rivers strong and deep.
perhaps we could meet half-way--
on the plains of Dakotah?

but you have already been there
and i have barely moved
out of this cloistered land
lo these many years...

so the burden of travel is on you
and until then
i suppose i must be happy
with the wind

Friday, May 20, 2011

the many-colored land

living in a cave so long
cold and damp i shivered.
sunshine?--not for me!

why was that?
we can get used to most any thing--
but should we?
how then to wake up?

the best way, i think
is to do a good deed,
to lift up a fellow wanderer.
o! then the sun shines!
warm light floods the soul!

and if we are lucky
(and i was!)
entrance may be gained
to the many-colored land.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Owl's Secret -- afterthoughts

One day, after a nice lunch, my friend Blake said to me. "Hey! Why don't you write a story about this owl." So I did, or rather tried too. For The Owl's Secret is more of an emotional impact statement than a story. Me processing the impact of a dear friend sharing parts of her life's story. Sadly not many people have even been able to get through, maybe two... Sorry about that... But I will say that it is one of the deepest and most heart-felt pieces that I have ever written. I cannot yet read part 09 without crying.

For as long as I can remember, I have used my stories to process, to deal with life. Sitting on the swing-set and staring at the cracks in the asphalt..seeing not urban decay, but tiny rivers and kingdoms. Looking up to see the zeppelin descending to make me a part of its crew.... All that I took in from books and movies was, and still is, packaged and put on shelves in my mind to be used in processing the emotional content of whoever and whatever life brings my way. Sometimes only a page of notes written and cast aside in a few moments....sometimes a whole vast world elaborated over decades...

Anyway, if you are reading this, then I hope that you have read The Owl's Secret in it's entirety. At the end we find the key to the magic...a power which connects the two main characters in the present day, projecting them back in time to re-make the past as they would have it be. She found the book first, but did not tell him because she did not want to hurt his pride. She attempted a few spells, like invisibility and headache-removal, but the one we do not see is this: after she was taken, she wished her true self to go and be safe in a place where he would be able to find her. Which of course he did.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Owl's Secret -- part 10

Christmas was the other social high point of school life at Donegal Academy. And there was always so much work to do. Around Thanksgiving, Mrs Rosso had conferred with Mr Johan about one serious matter. Both had agreed that, during the holiday season, Little Sammy must be kept as busy as possible. So, in addition to cleaning his room, the responsibility of his schoolwork, and his monthly detail, he would also assist in decorating the Great Hall.

Today, this moody, brown haired, bespsctacled boy was hanging garland with red ribbons on the Grand Stair-case. Little hidden tacks were stuck just under the railing to hold it fast. The end was to be secured around the railing-post topped by an owl clutching a book. As he wound out the end of the garland, Sammy reached up to brace himself by holding on to the top of the wooden book. He felt the carven binding cords against his palm as he stretched to complete the task.

Being alone is one thing, but being lonely is something else altogether. Sammy had enjoyed being alone until he met the one person in all the world who seemed to have the key to unlock him. Now she was gone and her absence left a big empty place in his heart. As he pulled himself up, this dark shadow of loneliness continues its awful work in twisting his deep sadness into anger.

Then a most amazing thing happened: the wooden book broke away from the owl. Oh no! He had damaged one of the school's well-known treasures! But when he looked up, that clever owl was still holding his book! Then what did he have in his hand? he went to sit down in one of the overstuffed chairs to examine it.

A sky blue book, about three inches by five, an inch or more thick, with gold edged pages lay in his lap. But how had he gotten it? Where had it come from? "I wish I knew more about this," he said to no one in particular, thinking out loud because he once had someone there to hear him.

A strange soft light began to fill the room, emanating from the owl atop the railing post. Sammy stood up, as out of the light a form was taking shape before him. At first he thought he might have passed out and Mr. Johan was coming to help him, but as the figure drew closer, he saw that it looked uncommomly like -- Santa Claus!!

"Who..who are you?" asked the boy, preparing to run at the first opportunity.

"You have the book, don't you know?"

"No--I didn't mean to..I mean I don't want the book."

"But you have taken it. And still you don't recognize me, after all I have done to protect you."

"Then you are a guardian? And this book"

"Magic...yes. Magic for you to use as you...aah, but I see you have already made your choice."

"What do you mean? I didn't..."

"Now you realize, of course, that such a wish will use all of the magic at once. Most people who find the book use the power more selfishly of course. But what you want can be done."

'Wait! I still don't know what you mean."

"And you realize that you are making a choice for another person. That can be tricky, and may not produce the results that you desire."

"But I didn't choose anything!"

"Your heart has made the choice. When you see the light, speak the words that will come to you. I wish you good luck, and do not forget that this will use all of the magic. I won't be able to help you again after this... " and his voice faded away.

He was gone. In fact, everything was gone, all except a doorframe. Sammy walked slowly toward it, and as he approached, a strong feeling grew within him that all of his loved ones were just there, on the other side. If he passed through, he could see them again! Be with them...

But he couldn't do it. He had to stay here...she needed him. Suddenly all was enveloped in a warm blue fog. He stood on a little hill -- the sun rose behind him with enough strength to clear away all the shadows and darkness. The words came to him: ALL RETURN -- RESET.

He felt his body pulled back through time--his life flower rapidly backwards as he re-experienced it. He saw himself being seen--as others saw him. But he could not speak or change anything.

Finally, Sammy fell out the other end and was..was nowhere. But all around him he felt that everything was alive and that he was a part of it--he was it! Overwhelming his senses were all the living voices of the sky, the earth, and under the earth, as contained within the sphere of all time, past, present, and future.

With one blink he stood again at the cross-road where they had first met. Was this that very day? Why here? And if this were that day, would she even remember him? Would they--would she have to re-live everything all over again? He ran ahead to the apple tree. He saw the blonde haired girl almost asleep under it. And then. as he stepped on a twig, she got up, dropped the little sky-blue book with gold edged pages that she had been reading, and said, "Sammy! I've been waiting for you!"

The Owl's Secret -- part 09

After these events, the summer passed quickly at Donegal Academy, with adventures and discoveries too numerous to mention here. And as summer blended seamlessly into autumn, regular classes began, leaving little time for anything more than weekend walks, if there was no rain.

In late October, as Hallloween approached, Sammy began to have strange, terrifying dreams. At first he could not remember them, but as the days progressed, some details drew sharply into focus. Storms...darkness...a abandoned car, and an overwhelming atmosphere of cruelty. But life in the daylight went on, following its usual collection of routines, so he tried not to think too much about it. He did mention he dreams to Colleen at the movies on a Friday night. She had rubbed his temples and chanted, "Good-dreams-good-dreams." But even this magic, strong as it was, did not work.

One day, in early November, Sammy took refuge in the Great Hall to read The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle. He had one hour before his next class and how better to spend it (since she was in class) than with a dashing hero of Napoleonic times.

As he began the story "How the Brigadier came to the Castle of Gloom," a familiar voice startled him back into the real world. It was Sue, and she looked quite upset.

"Sammy...Sammy, I have to tell you something," her voice quavered and almost broke. Sammy dropped the book to give her his full attention. "It's Colleen...o Sammy, I wish I didn't have to tell you this..." She put her hands on his shoulders. "Colleen is gone--her mother took her last night. I'm so sorry..." She gave him a quick hug and ran out through the door to the girls' dormitory.

Around midnight, when everybody else was asleep, Sammy crouched on the floor behind a huge roll-top desk just outside the headmaster's office. A fierce determination had seized him, pulling him up beyond the fear of rules or consequences. he let his fertile mind form a plan and let his body carry it through. In this matter nothing was going to stop him.

First he had to find out where her mother lived. That would be on file here in the office. The he needed money for the train to Harrisburg. From there he could take the bus to...

Ah! Somebody was there at the door! Sammy turned off the flashlight and crouched down, making himself as small as possible. Who was it?

"Hey!," said a deep, yet friendly voice. It was Mr. Johan, the housemaster of the boys' dormitory. He was a well loved character, known to be lenient and easy going, because in his day he had been a 'lifer' at the Academy.

"Sammy," he continued. "I know it's you. I know why you are here and I believe I can guess what you're trying to do." He paused, and the boy could hear only the labored breath of an old man struggling to say the right thing.

"Sammy...some things in life are just too powerful for us to do anything about. As much as we want to try. As much as we..." he paused, choking back a memory of his own.

"I will leave this door open. I want you to go back to bed now. That will probably be the hardest thing you will ever have to do...I know."

The boy collapsed against the side of the desk and began to cry. The flashlight slipped from his grasp and rolled across the thread-bare carpet, becoming lost in the darkness.

The Owl's Secret --part 08

They were alone in the semidarkness of Sue's cubby. As there was no room to stand without bumping their heads on the rafters, Colleen and Sammy silently arranged the pillows and spread the blanket. Instinctively they helped each other and shared all that they had. Neither of them knew what to say, so they just lay there, side by side in silence. Their fingers touched under the blanket, and they began to hold hands.

"I'm sorry, Sammy," said Colleen at last as she let go of his hand and turned on her side to face him.

He reached out to her, finding her shoulder, then trailing his fingers up to her cheek. The corner of her eye was damp with tears. "Don't be sorry," he said. His hand left her cheek and moved down to her waist. As they pulled closer together under the blanket, the pillows shifted and settled again.

"I'm glad we're here together," she whispered, touching her forehead to his, and drawing him in closer, thinking of what Sue had told her. This might be the last time they would be together. Having shared so much in such a short time, the thought of separation seemed like the end of the world. She had to tell him something.

"Sammy," she whispered to his cheek.


"There is...well there may be a time when I have to go away. I don't want to--not one bit! But I--but we can't control some things in life. There is..." And she struggled for a way to explain it to him. He looked into her blue eyes and waited, realizing how difficult this was for her.

"Sammy, there is some magic that is just too powerful for us to stop. Black magic that comes out of darkness. you are a pure and gentle soul--a knight serving your princess..." At last the words flowed out of her heart and she could open herself to him.

it was after 3 a.m. when Sue returned from her mission. She quietly slid the dresser aside and then opened the tiny door, pushing up slightly so the hinges wouldn't squeek. What she saw made her smile,the giggle (something she had not done in a great while), thes shake her head and even think of finding her camera. pushing the door closed, she coughed and stamped her foot. Yawns, stretches and other amusing sounds came wafting out into the room.

"Good Morning." said Sue. "First things first! Colleen--no! That's your answer. So stop worrying. And Sammy--you better get going so that they find you in your own bed at morning bell. I'll give you some time to say your goodbyes, but not too long, ok?"

Sue went out into the hall. She paced, tapped her boot on the linoleum floor, and reached for her lighter. But it was too much for her. There was something she just had to know. So back in she went--it was her room after all. Colleen stood wrapped in the quilted blanket, while Sammy sat on the edge of the bed putting on his shoes. they were talking, but Sue could not hear. She came around the side and placed her hands on Colleen's cheeks. Leaning in close, she stared deeply into her eyes. The younger girl blushed and pulled away.

"Ha..haa, oh this is GOOD,' laughed Sue, sitting down on the bed beside Sammy. She slapped him on the back, then looked closely at the blanket. "Oo, don't worry. I won't tell.....But this is soo good! Ha! No..I promice I wont tell. Hurry back to your room now, Sammy! And Colleen, you better go wash my blanket!"

The Owl's Secret -- part 07

This could possible be the worst thing she had ever done. On the same day that she had told him...o, she dared not even think about it. And even if she could, Colleen knew that there was nothing that could shop her from leaving. Sammy was so very smart in some things, but with other matters he was incredibly naive. And in spite of all that had happened to him, he still loved his parents--how could he ever understand what had been done to her? Above all, Colleen loved and treasured his innocence. That at least had to be protected. She could never tell him--he must never know.

"Hey, girl! Where do you think you're going?" It was Sue and...and... Colleen looked up, right into Sammy's brown eyes. She sensed that he wasn't mad, but what was he exactly? Normally he was uncommonly easy to read; if ever anyone lacked a poker face, it was him. But this expression--this vibe--was new. He was looking at her in the same way that he looked at the wooden owl.

Neither one of them would speak. It was one of those times when their heart's feelings were so strong that any word would just fall flat. Sue looked at Sammy, then at Colleen. What was up with these two? She slapped her thigh and broke the empasse.

"Ok, you two. Here's what's going to happen. Right now we're going up to my room. You can hide in my cubby. I will find out what's going on."

Colleen dropped the heavy green duffel bag, ready to object. but the scrapy rasp of wings against the window screen in the stairwell cut her off. Sammy picked up her burden as Sue guided the girl gently but firmly up to the third floor.

In her room, Sue shoved aside the standard issue dresser to reveal a small door in the wall. "Ok then, Sammy," said the older girl, "You get some pillows and a blanket--not the blue one--and take them in here. Oh--I don't know--make a little nest. Yes! A little love-nest. Ha ha! Yes! And while you are doing that, my girl here and I will have a little chat. Well! What are you waiting for?"

As Sue pulled Colleen down the hall, Sammy unlatched the little door. A dry, musty smell tainted with the odor of cigarettes and scented candles wafted out into the room. Sue was a 'lifer,' meaning that she had been sent to Donegal Academy as soon as she could walk. 'Lifers' knew everything, did everything, and helped the 'part-timers,' like Sammy, who had been admitted at the advanced age of seven, to cope with life at the school. But only if they chose to do so. Luckily, Sue had liked Colleen fron the start, and regarded little Sammy with a mild amusement. She knew that her brother teased him relentlessly, so she was willing to balance the scales on her family's name by helping him--this time.

Sammy pushed the duffel bag through the little door, followed by a nice quilted blanket and several of Sue's many pillows. he still did not know quite what to think, but in his heart he felt he could trust Sue, and , in spite of recent events, his faith in Colleen remained unbroken. She had to have a good reason to act this way, and he trusted her judgement. All he could do now was settle into his temporary home and wait.

The two girls soon returned. Once again, Sue had to take charge of the situation. "Ok." she spoke with all the authority she could muster. "I willl go and find out what's up. You two stay in here. Sammy, I will tell my brother to cover for you at curfew--if they even bother to check tonight." Sue sighed again, wondering why had she become so invested in this? "Well then! No objections? In you go then, girl."

Colleen squeezed into the nest. As she turned around, Sue looked directly into her eyes and smiled a wicked smile, forcing a blush out of the nervous girl that seemed oddly inappropriate under the circumstances. Sammy took no notice of this, or if he did, could make no logical sense of it.

Sue pushed the cubby door to, but did not latch it. Then she heaved the dresser back into its place. "Ok, I'm off then." she whsipered, "Be good in there you two."

The Owl's Secret -- part 06

The mature, self-contained girl wearing an embroidered denim jacket, tossed her dark brown hair and lit a Pal Mal cigarette. Nobody who cared could see this brazen act of insubordination occurring right on the steps of the red-brick girls' dormitory, just west of the commons. Sue coughed, sighed, then looked up to see little Sammy striding purposefully toward her. "Heh," she laughed, and prepared to ignore him.

He saw her as well. To him ,she was the guardian of the forbidden gate, as boys were not allowed near the girls' residence. But tonight was different. He went right up to her, a young knight facing yet another of his many fears--the tough, scary older girl.

Sue continued to ignore him, so he had to make the first move. But how to play it? How to make the scene? If he did it wrong, she wouldn't help him. Time was of the essence, so Sammy finished his inner struggle and stepped forward into the porchligh.

"Hey, Sue."


"Nice night."


Good!, he thought. She was engaging him at least. Recognizing that he existed was a positive step. He decided to strike.



"Have you seen Colleen?"




"Sue! This is important! Something is wrong! I-I need to know if you will help me."

"Wrong? Heh! Something is always wrong...uh...Sammy is it? Little Sammy..."

"Sue! This is..."

"...Important...yeh..I heard you. look, little Sammy, you aren't suppose to be here, ok? Go play or go to bed or something."

"Sue--do you like Colleen?"

The older girl coughed and crushed the filterless cigarette out in the bannister. Then she glanced accross the commons toward the Great Hall. It was strange, and she would deny it later, but in the fading light of the day she was sure she saw an owl--a big owl--looking out he window at her.

"Yeh..I like Colleen. So what? Hey--you like her too, don't you! Ha! So that is what this is about!"

Sammy opened his mouth but Sue was too quick for him. She grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the door.

"Come on then, Little Sammy! You're in luck! I feel generous tonight. Let's go find your precious Colleen."

And with that. this unlikely pair vanished behind the forbidden door.

The Owl's Secret -- part 05

The Spring Reception, held each June in the Great Hall, was one of the two social high points of Donegal Academy. Trustees mingled with graduates, teachers and returning alumni. Parents were invited too, and some even came, if they could schedule it. But for most students, it was a time to stay out of the way and sneak off to secret indulgences, as discipline lapsed proportionally to the number of outsiders present on the grounds.

Colleen and Sammy stood to the side of the throng, making their obligatory appearance in the Great Hall. She held his arm, steadying him, as his leg still ached from an accident earlier that day. He stared intently at the wooden owl atop the railing post.

"Don't worry, Sammy," she whispered in his ear, 'I have used a bit of magic to make us invisible."

While his mind wandered from owls to alchemy, Colleen scanned the faces in the room. By old habit she took careful note of the exits as well. A crowded room was a high stress area for both of them. Usually she was the stronger one, but for some reason this evening, she felt weak and vulnerable.

Then her eyes fixed on one person accross the room, a lady speaking to the headmaster. An ancient fear gripped her--could it be? Why was SHE here? Why? So that was it, then. it was all over, her pleasant life in this paradise. She was to be cast, dragged away hell again. The nearset exit was ten feet away. She would be there in seconds. A plan took shape in her head.

Ah! In her fear, she had forgotten about Sammy. Hesitation! She had a long talk with him that afternoon on the ridge. She told him not to worry, that they would be friends forever and that she would never leave him. But now SHE was here! SHE would ruin eveything! It was all over. Colleen bent down to kiss his head and smooth down his unruly hair. Then she pulled away and disappeared out the door.

It took Sammy a while to realize that something was wrong. He was aware that Colleen had left him, but his spirit was much stronger now than it had been that afternoon. Why, she had probably gone to get a snack or to the bathroom. It was all right. She would be back soon.

But after ten minuites, he began to worry. Not the soul-crushing worry he had endured in the past, but a serious, inquisitive concentration. Time to look at the facts. Sammy took a deep breath and swallowed hard. Something in the room had disturbed her, but what specifically? He had no clue. Inadvertantly, his eyes found the wooden owl--and he let out a gasp! The head had moved! The owl was now looking out the door to his left, toward the path which led across the commons to the dormitories.

Without hesitation, Sammy cut through the crowd to the door. The sun was almost at rest, and some students wandered in the twilight. But he did not wander, he made right for the girls' dormitory.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Owl's Secret -- part 04

The smell of fresh cut grass mingled with that of cow pies drifting up fron the hollow. Sammy, on the ridge, had pulled out the old Ingersoll pocket-watch at least a dozen times. Late...late...but only by a few minutes. People were late all the time. Even he had been late for breakfast that very morning.

The nervous boy paced and circled in a shady spot near the side of the road. His left arm twitched as he raised it to rub his forehead. Yes...yes..people were late all the time...but what if this time was different? Ah! His mind burst out in all directions at once, throwing together potential possibilities. She could have been grounded for some minor offence. She could have forgotten their meeting--no that wasn't possible! O! She could have been hit by a car on the way! He looked around wildly--what should he do? He had to find her--NOW! But if he left this spot and she did come, that would hurt her deeply. But...what if she had left him! Left him like all the others...

Suddenly, the world around him vanished. A toddler, deep within his memory, broke away from his mother and ran down the street toward the man he knew had to be his lost father... A four year old sat crying on the stairs, begging his mother not to leave him... A seven year old stood stiffly beside his grandfather's coffin, trying to be a 'little soldier'... And, from the not too distant past, a boy lingered outside the door of his grandmother's apartment, unaware that she had been dead for days... Any one or two of these events would be a lot for a child to deal with, but the combination of all four at once was overwhelming.

His brain was on fire. His chest ached. Sammy clutched at his purple Vikings jersey and gasped, "Darn it!...all of them...leave me...all of them!" He collapsed in a heap on the ground, his right hand smashing a rotten apple at the same time as a sharp twig stabbed up into his thigh. Fresh, pure blood flowed out, making a dark stain on his patched and faded jeans.

"," he sobbed. "Now SHE has left me....she promised....she promised...why?..."

Then a voice, a special voice like a spring breeze, but nonetheless a human voice struggled to reach him. The cry of an owl, unusual in the day time, cut a path through the fog in his mind so that the voice could get through. He lifted his tear-stained face and wiped his cheek with a soggy hand.

"Sammy! Sammy, what's wrong?"

She dropped her bag in the grass and ran to him, helping him up. He flinched as he tried to stand, so she held him close, wiping his face with her fingers. She looked him over and saw the blood...

"Oh! Come over here to the bench. Let me help you. What happened?"

Together they made their way back to the road. He plunked down onto the green slats of the wayside bench, thoroughly ashamed of himself for being such a coward and a fool. he couldn't tell her what had happened..he just couldn't.

The Owl's Secret -- part 03

He lead her back through the over-filled stacks to his special place. At the west end of the library was his alcove, where two heavy oak chairs faced each other accross an ancient table worn smooth by the sleeves of several generations of students. The standing oval window was framed by dusty peach curtains trimmed with tattered gold fringe. The smell of old paper and lilac hung heavy in the warm still air. This was one of Sammy's holy places--a place that he was now willing to share.

As he searched for the Daily Register of 1831, Colleen looked around, running her slender fingers over the dark, ornate wood-work of the chairs, the window frame, and the book cases. Swirls, rosettes, loops, and even tiny figures of what could only be described as animals all waited there. Who could ever have the time and patience to do all this detailed work, she wondered, to take such care with items that most people would only glance at and move on. As Sammy flipped through the fragile pages, she tugged gently on the curtains and looked out over the grounds. Her mind wandered off to visit the freindly cows on a nearby farm.

The past tended to come to life and absorb all of Sammy's attention. People just like him--like them--had lived and studied here. What were they like? What were their hopes and dreams? And, most important of all: did their dreams ever come true. Strangely, Sammy worried about things like that. Ah! Focus.... Why did that owl have a book? Here it was: "May 28th, 1831--Dedication of the Grand Stair-case made possible by the generous donation of..." Yes, yes, he already knew that...

"Did you find anything, Sammy?"

"Oh..well..almost..."he stammered. it still took him by surprise that someone else was nearby. In the past he had always come here alone, always done most everything alone. he didn't realize how much he had minded that until recently.

"Aah! Here we are!," he excalimed, as she hopped up onto the table becide the book. 'Due payment being made to the Swabian Christian Rosenkreutz, wood-worker, for his wond'rous presentment of the forme of an owle."

"So that's his name?"

"Yes...hey! hold on..." Sammy got up and ran to a shelf, seizing a copy of Alchemists Through the Ages. "Here..wait..."

"What? What is it?"

"Look at this!"

He lay the book squarely on top of the Daily Register. Colleen twisted around to that side and looked. There on the page that Sammy had opened was a picture of 'Christian Rosenkreutz--master alchemyst of the 15th century.'

"See...," exclaimed the disappointed boy, "It couldn't have been him."

"So, what does this mean?"

"Mean! Well..." Sammy looked at the floor, wishing that he could crawl under the table. "It means that...that..."

"Oh, it's all right!" She jumped off the table and gave him a big hug from behind.

He gently touched her hands as they crossed on his chest. "Oh well, dead end..." She knew he was quite distressed, so she pressed the full length of her body against him. He relaxed at her touch and turned to look out the window.

Just then the bell rang for supper.

The Owl's Secret -- part 02

Donegal Academy had been founded in the 1820s, and had grown steadily and haphazardly since then. Fortunately most of its donors were full of worldly pride and wished to be remembered forever. For our immediate stiuation, this meant that Sammy could just loook on the name plate beneath the owl to see who had donated it. With that information in hand, they could proceed to the library.

"Hmm," said Colleen, smiling. "May 28th--that's an interesting day."

"Really? Why's that?"

"Because it's a special day."

"Yes, " replied Sammy as he ambled along with a curious half-limp developed upon a jump off the swing set last evening. "It's: May 28, 1831--'Grand Stair and Owle Carving donated by Featherwell Q. Fussygig, Esq.' So all we have to do is..."

"Hmph!," she stomped right in front of him, stopping the boy dead in his tracks. Her nose leaned in, scarsely within a milimeter of his. "May 28th! Remember that date, Sammy."

"Yes, of course I will."

"I am serious!"

"Well, I can't forget it now! Come on, let's go to the library." He put his hands on her shoulders, ready to spin her around. Then he stopped. Something had occurred to him---"Colleen?"

"Yes." She hummed, coccking her head to regard him with a mild amusement.

"Is that your... birthday?"

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" She broke away from his grasp, dancing and skipping around him. "How DID you ever find out?"

He blushed--secretly glad to have made her happy by guessing correctly. "You gave me enough hints!," he said quickly, as he tagged her shoulder and ran off down the hall.

The Owl's Secret--part 01

Far out in the deeps of time, beyond the shores of living memory, a young, unnaturally gifted wood-carver traded his homeland in the Black forests of Swabia for the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Some space of time was allotted in his earthly wanderings for him to carve his master's piece: an owl on the railing post of the Main staircase at the Great Hall of Donegal Academy. Apart from a ledger record and a day journal notation, he then vanished from history.

Many years later. a brown haired, bespectacled boy stared deeply into the eyes of that same wooden owl. Why, he wished to know, was the owl clutching a book? Owls were wise, of course, everyone knew that. But why this book, a thick volume about three inches by five. he ran his finger gently over the binding cords visible on the spine.

So intent was his concentration that he did not notice the one sneaking up on him. She was one year older, a little taller, and, though he hated to admit it, more athletic and coordinated. This time, while he thought of books and owls, she silently leaned in close around his right shoulder. Her blonde hair tried to tickle his ear, but to no avail. At last she planted a cold, moist cream soda kiss right in the middle of his cheek.

"Aah!," he jumped. "Hey..what...."

"You don't want me to kiss you. then?"

"Yes...well...of course I do! But your lips were so cold!"

"And I was trying to warm them up."

"Ok," he looked at the floor. "Just warn me first, ok? I nearly jumped out of my skin just now."

She giggled as she found her way to one of the large, overstuffed chairs that ringed the Great Hall. "So what do we do now," she asked, using a tone that at once teased and encouraged her now serious companion. Since meeting in the orchard some weeks ago, the two had become inseperable, embarking on an endless summer of exploring all kinds of things, from books and trees to owls with books, and even the raw sweetness of first love. Though he had been painfully shy, she had drawn him out, and step by step they were creating a world together, their own space apart from the world that had treated them with confusion and cruelty.

"Let's go to the library," he said at last. "I have got to find out more about this owl."

"So you like the owl, do you?," she asked, more than a little curious herself, but not quite knowing where to start.

"Well...why does he have a book? That particular book, I mean. We must find out who carved him."

She got up, linked her hands behind her back, and twirled once or twice untill she was there again leaning over his shoulder. This time her hair did tickle his ear, so he reflexively swatted it away. She dodged his hand, catching it in mid-swing. "Let's go to the library, then."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


from the bench
under the cedar
where today
spring is too warm
summer becons
but things are not grown
it's still premature
too soon for this
yet as always
i jump ahead
reaching the same conclusions
over and over
assuming things are
as i wish them to be
i cling until cast aside
or dragged at a distance
like a mouse
caught by a cat
who does not wish
to eat it

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bird Spirit Dance (a collaboration)

I close my eyes in the field
Gentle breezes lul my head
As I drift away into darkness
The sound of her wings calls my name.
Awakening from pleasant warmth,
I see her friendly wave
As she floats upon the wind,
"Hello, friend..." "Hello," I reply.
She laughs, "Why are you here?
Go to bed sweet friend!
Dream and fly forward
Upon warm winds
Seeking green fields
And this dear friend
Reaching your hand.
Close your eyes and be free."

Friday, May 6, 2011

There is a place

There is a place
We made together
Just for us
Warm and safe
Set back in time
To make our wish
And there connect
Two damaged souls
In bonds of healing
Peaceful warmth
Now flows forward
Down to us
So far apart
Yet deeply mingled
Grown together
Daily drawing
Deeper strength
From that place
We made together

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The jars were in the basement;
Did we even know they were there?
Why were they preserved?
Was it fear? Was it cruelty?
But it was love that filled them,
Love that kept them safe!

Let's clear away all the junk,
All the stuff we crammed down there.
I know there will be good things inside:

Not every person can sit on the floor with a child;
Not every person can save their first kiss for thirty seven years.

Monday, May 2, 2011

To R from S

I had a scare just recently
I didn't know what to do
So I went to see a friend
Who was both kind and true.

She listened to my scattered thoughts
And helped me settle down.
Often a new perspective
Will help reverse a frown.

One thing she said rang true to me
I took it straight to heart
Departing and feeling better
Because of her gentle art.

Nothing but time it cost her
But it meant the world to me
I know where to stand now
And I can clearly see.

So if you can but listen
When someone seeks you out
The gift that you may give them
Is what it's all about.