Hey, that’s me on the radio.

Big news, here in my little world: On Thursday 24 March 2011, if you lived in an area where the public radio show called The Story was part of your local public radio station’s broadcast schedule, you could have heard me ON AIR. That is, if you happen to use the old-fashioned technology of a radio that is ruled by the time on the clock. Or, on that very same day, if you went to the homepage of thestory.org you’d see a picture of me, under the title of the show and you could click on LISTEN NOW! and do just that; any old time, day or night. Now that time has spiraled on, as it often does, you will need to follow this link to LISTEN NOW!.

What an experience this has been for me. I awoke on Thursday morning with the sense that something special was about to happen…but in my first consideration of the day, I could not find what that might be. Then I remembered and a smile crept over my entire body. After beginning to warm the place up, I fired up loyal Percy, my Mac laptop. (Many of my possessions have names…for example; my 1998 green Saturn is named Gardner.)

When Percy was ready for his first assignment of the day, I brought up the homepage of The Story, clicked on LISTEN NOW!, stretched out on my sweet old rocking chair and listened. If you’ve not discovered this show, I encourage you to check it out. Really. It’s a great show; one that will give you the chance to laugh or cry or learn about something that will expand your world. And since I have learned how to LISTEN NOW! online, I listen to it when I’m ready for some company here in my small, lovely cabin. And, it seems that at least a couple of times a week I am heading somewhere in my car around 2pm when the show airs on the radio here, and I listen to it “live”.

The interview for this show occurred back in early February and then Dick Gordon and Rachel McCarthy and most likely some other folks, produced the beautiful show that aired a few days ago. As I listened to the interview, there were two parallel listenings going on. One listener was on judgment patrol, looking for something to criticize myself about. The other was immediately pulled into the story, into the back and forth between Dick Gordon and I. This is the listener that took over, completely. My critic was out-voted, and became enchanted by the story. Remember, this is me listening to an interview that I’d already given. So I’d heard it all, on the day it occurred. Not to mention that I’d written the story that it was based on, and also told the same story out loud many times before. Still, I was pulled into the story, and after a while tears were rolling down my cheeks. A few of the listeners who have contacted me, have shared that they wept as they heard how this crotchety old man and I came to “see” each other. I am another one of those listeners…even though it was my story. I love that.

As you might imagine, later on that day I tuned in to 91.7 fm, the local station that carries this show. Since the only radio I have is in my car, I timed it so that I was finished with my laundry at the Laundromat by about ten ‘til two, drove over to the parking lot at the Poulsbo marina overlooking Liberty Bay, parked, and turned on the radio. I felt positively twentieth century, parked in a parking lot, listening to the radio – with a view of a sparkling bay and the curve of its shoreline, at that. Miraculously, the sun came out as I pulled into the lot. I live in the Northwest, and almost any time except in High Summer, it’s miraculous to me when the sun comes out. I rolled down all the windows, took off my boots and socks, turned on the radio and listened. Again. And I cried again. Yes, it is a personal story for me. But it surprised me that I cried again. In my world, crying’s a good thing. The second miracle is that someone didn’t park next to me with their radio blaring out their favorite station. Two miracles, right there. That is the definition of a great day.

One of my friends left a message on my voicemail. She said, “Why aren’t you home so you can receive praise?!?” She thought the show was great, and I do too. I hope you’ll listen and I hope it makes you cry.

To read the actual story, The Queen of the Flowers, click HERE


a boat of Hope and Prayers

I have a friend who, as soon as we met, moved instantly into the deepest part of my heart. She is from Japan, currently living in the states.

I was finally able to speak with her on the phone a few nights ago…so grateful to hear her voice. Together on the phone we traveled through a mountainous terrain of grief and sorrow, of exhaustion, of terror, of crushing heartbreak and finally we came to a quiet place of calm.  In that place, she shared with me that she is organizing a gathering on Saturday…that’s tomorrow, 26 Mar 2011 at 3pm, to send Hope and Prayers out to all who have been touched by the continued devastation that crashes upon the shores of Japan. But she is not calling out only for her homeland of Japan, she is calling out for these messages of Hope and Prayer to flow out to all who need them, wherever they reside.

We all call this precious place home – this enormous and also tiny, glowing emerald and turquoise orb. As we continue to feel how small our world really is, it is more important than ever that each of us, all of us, in whatever way we can, find time to gather together to send hope and prayers that move around and around the world. We are all in need of hope and prayers as  devastation in one location eventually crashes hard against us all, as the ripples move ever outward.

The following is an excerpt from an email written by this heartbroken and courageous one, asking us to join together in sending Hope and Prayers out across all the sparkling waters. These blessed messages know just where to go, once we set them free. Join us on Saturday at 3pm, wherever you live, and, as she says so graciously below, whenever you can. Let the waters take your Hope and Prayers to where they are most needed.

…“I am not yet strong and prepared well enough to assist people of Japan physically.  And I thought about a small thing that I can perhaps be able to do.  With my beloved small community here on Mendocino Coast, my friends and I are preparing to have a small ritual on the beach of Big River this coming Saturday. Hoping to make some beautiful noises and sending a boat of Hopes and Prayers.  I am wondering if any of you, if you be so kind, can gather your friends and family and make a small beautiful gathering, or could be of any size, at your community, or just simply send good prayers or thoughts around this Saturday 26th, if you can remember, or anytime this Saturday, or day before, or Sunday, or Monday, or when you remember?  I am so greatly appreciated.   I Thank You So Much for reading this e-mail.  Sending you my good thoughts and love to all of you for today, tomorrow, and days to come.  I will think each of you in my heart during the gathering here.  Thank you for living in this turmoil ridden world, not giving up, but making beauties.  Please take good care of yourself.  Thirteen arigatous (japanese for thank you)”…


Living in the land of in-between

in-be•tween                                                                                                                                   situated somewhere between two extremes or recognized categories; intermediate

I am two months and eighteen days living in-between. It is both empty and full, steeped with the messiness of what’s inside all in-betweens, that of life. Teaming with self-doubt, questions and possibilities, I struggle to find a way to stay present to this very magical, fertile, fragile and at times terrifying place that I have chosen. I know that at some point I will look back on this time and see the random, loose, threads floating in unseen currents of my life, and they will appear as a weaving—a beautiful weaving—the threads all joined into a garment that will serve to be the fabric of my life. Right now, I can barely see the weaver, let alone the loom.

The last time I was directed toward a creative endeavor, I used my hands for peeling and sanding sticks…I wondered if that might be what would come now. Most of me trusted that something creative would come, but little frightened parts of me feared that when given the chance, nothing would come; that when I asked the question I would be answered by only silence, no inspiration would show up, singing to me in the middle of the night, taking me by the hand and dancing me through a field of wonder.

There were other little frightened parts that demanded to know; who did I think I was anyway? I had no right to think that my life could have a different rhythm than what our current culture keeps demanding that we all churn away to. I have looked into the faces of these little frightened parts before. They are lonely ones, tucked away here and there. Silenced or sent off to foreign lands they don’t necessarily disappear. They still have my address, they still know my name…how to get my attention. A friend wrote to me when I mentioned to her that these little demons had come to visit. I told her that I had thought they were gone, and was devastated at times, when they reappeared. She replied, “I don’t know if our demons ever go away, or if you just get to grow old with them, slowly watching them become, maybe, prettier and prettier…” A gift of wise words from one much younger than I.

The onset of this journey was the scariest. What if it was all just silence and then nothing? What if nothing would come? Here in these woods, I have many sticks to choose from, but in the silence that I allowed, the answer came not in the form of sticks. What happened was that I began. Again. To write.