• Lupines and Other Sorrows

    Micro-Version: A threat of bombs averted, sorrow miners light their lamps, following the tracks of a tidily dressed six-year old.  They find no shortcuts. Meanwhile, the earth revolves around the sun sixty times and lupines bloom, right on cue. The Long Road: It is the summer of my fifty-ninth year. Soon, my friends who haven’t already will turn 59, too. Others are farther ahead on the

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    Small Doves and Cowboy Poems

    Micro-version: Cowboys, cicadas, toads and a small dove ride across the page. Writers write. Bugs sing. Cattle graze. Clouds contribute to geographic identity while the sun shines, impervious, in the Arizona sky. Long Version: I am reading a series of essays set largely in the Santa Maria mountains of Arizona. The author, Amy Hale Auker, is a cowboy and her essays are like bright stones

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    Butterflies and Bouncing Balls

    Micro-Version: A traveler's tale in which a windy lake and winding trails conjure up the past. Follow we must. Creaky bellmen carry the suitcases. Aging ferns and mosses keep guilty secrets, and butterflies jauntily ignore all. Long Version: She remembers a time she came here almost thirty years ago when the freshness of recovery was still upon her. The mission was to complete

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    The Holiness of Strawberries

    Micro-Version: A church barges its way across the Fraser River, ghosts intact, while the Ladies Guild dines on strawberries and cream. A yogi appears, along with a swallow. Enlightenment is elusive. Still, a seeker seeks. Long-form version: There is a historic church in the town I live in. It is the oldest wooden church in British Columbia and it is here where we set our scene. The

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    Look for Me in the Springtime, I'll See You in the Fall.

    Micro-version: Teenagers crown themselves in the glory of the seasons, while we time travel to cheer on clumsy schoolgirls. The month of June is celebrated. Awards are given, friendships are sealed, and kindness makes an appearance in a 1960's kitchen. The long version (get comfortable). I have decided to lay claim to the month of June. It is a lush, green month, the month of weddings

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    Homeless Where The Heart Is

    Micro-Version: It is June in Maple Ridge B.C. We meet the in-between people, past and present. Trees and opinions abound, but compassion is elusive. A racoon makes a cameo appearance. In June, Maple Ridge B.C. is a soft place. The leaves on the maple trees come into their fullness. The dogwoods and chestnuts are blooming. The Fraser River swells as the freshet looms. It is an in-between

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    In the Peony Garden

    Micro-version: Fidgety Muses awaken a sleeping child, while plucked peonies reveal the secrets of selfhood. Writers and poets take the credit. At 3:00 AM this story comes to me, travelling as stories do, on the wings of restless muses up all night, fretting. Some writers have Muses as winged inspiration, angelic, full of gusto and verve. Not mine. Mine is a worrier, a nag. She likes to

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    Summer Lawns and Longings

    Micro-version: Present backyards and past front lawns intersect, leading to personal struggle and profoundly simple outcomes. A tale of ordinary grief, where mice make off with the goods. This morning, early, I stepped out into the cool garden. We have scattered new grass seed and I decided to water. As the spray covered the ground I was reminded of my father. He was a lawn-proud man, and

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    Love in a Blade of Grass

    Micro-version: A case of spring fever, where a human and herbaceous cross-species love affair blooms, while unwritten history whispers on the wind. Nothing much else happens. At last, the season has turned and the leaves shout greenly from the trees. Rhododendrons and lilacs riot, and dandelions burst and bob in grassy places, lawns or fields indiscriminately. They do not care one way or

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    This is A Poem to My Mother

    Warning: this post includes long-form writing and poetry. Micro-version: A study of sentiment, in which we find out that Mother's Day may not be all it is cracked up to be, and a daughter's tender heart is laid bare. Hallmark excluded, poetry saves all. Full-meal deal: Yesterday we celebrated the 92nd birthday of my dear mother-in-law who, though declining, lights up with joy at the

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