Tuesday, May 30, 2017

among the named

for all foster children still waiting for the security of love

into the wind and it will whisper
back your name

water can be only faithful
to its shore

although i could not take you home
i will dare to meet your gaze as pounding
surf to a stone yet to be smoothed

you, whose childhood bloomed
too soon, petals strewn like peonies
surprised as much by breezes as by play

deer have danced a path for you
the cormorant, a nest

sky-cathedral clouds
spill, tumble themselves
just to be near

while fields so lush long
to hold such limbs and
lovely, still

may you always belong here
among such an abundance of trees?
(yes, always)

ls 5.30.17

Sunday, May 28, 2017


christophe louis quibe is an artist i learned about from one of my students.  quibe is a french artist who lives near paris.  he is known for his minimalist art by using only one or two lines for a single project, a simplicity i find beautiful:

carrying vs. compassion

these days when the flag is half-mast regularly and tragic news becomes all but routine, i am reminded of anne morrow lindbergh's wisdom that we are not meant to carry but a few people well.  it is good for me to reread her book "gift from the sea" at least once for every new decade of life and be reminded that she said, and rightly so, the human frame was only designed to carry so much.

so if we are only meant to carry a few people well, what about the rest of the world?  that's where i believe we can offer compassion but without straining under the weight of it all on our own shoulders.  a compassionate attitude that rays out from the center of our being can extend beyond the smaller circle of intimate care to include not only colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers, but also neighborhoods, cities, and regions. 

just today a young lady i met was all too aware of the era in which she was growing up.  she was on her way to an essential oils workshop at the foster family camp we are facilitating and she said, "i wish we could just 'bath bomb' the world instead of using real bombs.  then everyone would smell like lavendar and be relaxed and happy and maybe stop fighting!"  i'm with her.  bath fizz in place of violence any day. 

may our compassion extend even as we carry a few people well.

Monday, May 22, 2017

contemporary gallery

i will hereby unabashedly use my blog to brag about my kids--the kids i teach, that is.  because of them, we just put on an amazing art show--contemporary gallery style!

we showcased not only pieces they did in class throughout the year, but projects they did outside of class as well.  their assignment? to find a contemporary artist and make a project in their style.

we had everything from food network inspired cakes and woven baskets to glass pieces and architecture.  we extended the project to include any visual aspect of a job or vocation, so the middle schoolers were happy to know that included athletic shoes as well as tattoo and makeup artists.

the result was a colorful array of work with heart.  i believe kids rise to a higher level when they have some choices about what they are learning and making.  in many cases relationships were deepened as grandfathers taught granddaughters how to build or kids inspired parents to create again after putting art aside to work and raise a family.

not only that, but all of us learned about scores of artists we had never known about before!

what a beautiful and inspiring end to a year of shared creativity.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

true blue

this, from the oregonian..."crayola's new blue:  brought to you by science, OSU.  its new crayon is based on pigment discovered by a chemistry professor.  crayola is adding a new color to its cavalcade of crayons, and the striking blue hue got its humble beginnings in a laboratory at oregon state university.

the new color will be based on the pigment known as YInMn, which was discovered by oregon state chemistry professor mas subramanian in 2009.

'we are a company all about kids, creativity and color, so we strive to keep our color palette innovative and on-trend, which is why we're excited to introduce a new blue crayon color inspired by the YInMn pigment,' smith holland, CEO and president of crayola, said in a statement.

the discovery of the pigment, which is 100 percent non-toxic and does not fade over time, happened because of a fortunate accident.

'luck favors the alert mind,' subramanian said in 2015.  'you have to be prepared.' "

Sunday, May 14, 2017

how to spend a lifetime

loved this quote from "body of water" by chris dombrowski, "...a lifetime spent inevitably more attentive to the earth and its wild creatures than to one's ego, a lifetime spent pursuing not only the seen, but the unseen and intuited..."

Saturday, May 13, 2017


found a great new word in the paper this week:  quaintrelle (noun) a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures.

that is a word worth living up to!

Friday, May 12, 2017

why we climb mountains

the ledge invites and frightens, loose gravel
scratching solid rock beneath your feet,
until the grating sound--the rasp and rattle--
is silenced as you step into complete
nothing, carabined between simple faith
and gravity.  will the tether hold?
there is a pull, a tension, in the fray
of scattered thoughts and fear of lost control
pressed against the weightlessness of free fall
on a stretch of braided rope. it takes skill,
and grit, to climb while clinging to sheer wall,
inching upward, pulled by strength and will;
but then, the descent offers you rebirth,
as you coil and push away from earth.

marti noel

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

bringing back the front porch

i'm so glad i happened to set the recycling on the curb when i did.  last week, i met the nicest people.  turns out we were both house & pet sitting across the street from each other.  unlike myself who lives here, they are visiting from minnesota.

within three minutes i found out the husband was a retired K-12 art teacher (i'm an art teacher).  he loves middle schoolers (i love middle schoolers).  he and his wife had just gone birding (i love bird watching).  his wife invited me over to a front porch picnic after we had all done our chores.

we pieced together a delicious mixture of our own food plus items from our various house sitting kitchens and spent four hours on the front porch.  his wife is a poet (i love to write poetry).  they both know who gerard manley hopkins is (he's my favorite poet).  they love to kayak (it's one of my favorite outdoor activities).  to top it off, they are of czech heritage and one of the things they still wanted to do during their time in portland was visit a food cart (i have czech friends who run a delicious food cart).

because of this time on the front porch i was introduced to a fabulous contemporary author i want to share with you.  his name is christian wiman.  they brought over one of his prose books for me because it reads like poetry, "my bright abyss" it's titled.  i read it half of it for my sabbath time last sunday and am still thinking about it.

yes, i think it was meant to be.  true, slowed down hospitality in a world that prizes being busy.  a happy connection born from being at the right place at the right time.