Category Archives: I like to make lists

When I didn’t know what hit me

I’m working on a different kind of list here in the last couple days before that birthday-which-must-not-be-named.


It’s wanting to be a really long list and I’m having fun with making it. It’s a list that commemorates the unexpected things that can happen over the course of a year, little moments that I never saw coming, things I had no idea I’d do in a run of 365 days…

I can’t lie; it hasn’t been the easiest year. There’s been parts, in fact, that were so painful I can barely stand to speak of them.

But this is how you get over, I think: you make a list of the good.


This year I:

watched an adult male harrier float over the red of an October cranberry bog

had dumplings in chinatown and alligator sausage in a cream sauce that’s to die for

went to a major league baseball game. my first ever. on opening day.

(and the home team won!)

shared black raspberry ice-cream on the first day of summer

realized that I need someone who’ll read poetry with me, or write it for me


spent an afternoon photographing a coworker’s adorable babies

wished on a falling star in the mountains at Christmas

learned to like hugs from my big brothers

(well, almost.)

stood high above the New River bridge and then way down below it, again

hosted THE bird-blog carnival and survived

unknowingly started an airport postcard collection

had my hair blown wild as seaweed in a boat on Lake Superior

(and didn’t puke!)

got hooked on lavender lemonade and yoga on the boardwalk

watched lots of spectacular sunsets

found the singular most beautiful orchid. period.

got my first ever parking ticket and had my first ever car accident (today!)

(the good in that isn’t immediately obvious, but I’m hopeful)

learned to make an omelette and pump gas

finally got over some of my little-girl fears of swimming in the ocean

played poker for laundry money

learned what real heat and humidity feel like

found my 5th grade teacher on Facebook and she remembered me!

saw flamingos!

spent the better part of an afternoon lost on Rte. 3 and found myself at José Tejas

watched ravens weave invisible patterns with the wind

– – – – – – – – – – –

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. ~Author Unknown

I’ve been blessed this year, for sure.


Birds are still singing;

the trees are long past their first delicate greening.

Peepers at the roadside are suddenly quiet.

The northward surge of Spring is past us now.

Summer flowers are blooming;

Canada Mayflowers put on quite a show this year

and I found my first blooming Starflower

(but the photo was awful!)

Birds are looking for homes

in boxes and under bridges,

gathering twigs and feathers.

Or building nests

from vines and rootlets

and whatever magic things they can weave together.

They’re making babies.


Lots and lots of babies!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

I’m planting flowers of my own

and reading books

(and remembering how much I love the poetry of the Spanish language.)

I’m checking-off lists

and working on this year’s.

It’s a big one!

I’m planning a very private party to celebrate

and wanting to wander some, to contemplate

and squander time, letting it pass ungathered and unregretted.

There’s no pictures yet to share.

– – – – – – – – – – –

What’re you up to?


to a moonlit September beach

crab traps, fishing poles and the little compartments of a tackle box

to wildflower-strewn hillsides in W. Virginia

toasting marshmallows on a stick and waiting for the whippoorwills to call

to the smooth path of a wake behind the boat

night walks with Luka, the warm lights of other people’s lives as we pass outside

to the first breath of salty air coming home over the bridge

the enchanted fairy-tale scent of beach plum in the dunes

to the places and people that don’t change

the rumbling happy tone of your voice

to lingering can’t-say-goodbye sunsets

the echoes of footsteps, no words between us

to winnowing snipe, pasture horses and more ticks than I’ve had on me in my life in N. Dakota

the stars and darkness gathered all around us, mixed with the sound of the ocean

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Where does your mind wander to?

I’ve been

looking at cherry blossoms as a bumblebee might
divining the cryptic patterns of moths
wandering along creeks

practising my snake-charming skills*
resisting the urge to walk barefoot among the violets and bluets
letting the sun kiss my shoulders

imagining a visit to the Grand Canyon and deciding other places call to me more
watching bats weave their twilight magic across Venus and a sinking Orion
debating my future

feeling like the fifth wheel on a car gone crazily off course
cheering for a rookie
muddying my bare feet to save my shoes

discovering a pair of eagles soaring among dogwood flowers
hyperventilating on a train trestle

the scope’s okay despite its crazy cartwheel into the river below!

eating s’mores

watching Spring spread across the treetops
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Anything fun for you lately?

*If someone can help on the snake, I’d appreciate it… it tried very hard to convince silly me that it was a fierce rattlesnake, using its tail to rattle the dried leaves (and the worried man standing behind me.)


March means…

Everything has its season, but no season is without color and life, wonder and surprise. He who would know the world of which he is a part must know the way the January wind shapes a snowdrift as well as the ecstasy with which an oriole greets the June dawn.
–Hal Borland

A chance at #23.
Skunk cabbage and, with luck, Hepatica.
That first Phoebe.
Pussy willows.
Grackles and Red-wing blackbirds.
The sun streaming through the bedroom window again when I wake up.
Piping plovers!
Returning Osprey!
Girl Scout cookies.

What are you looking forward to as Winter ends?

Favorites at the beach

The line of shoes left at the dune fence
Sun streaks in your hair
Ghost crabs
Sun-kissed shoulders
Halter tops
Floating docks
When the wind shifts direction
Lavender-infused lemonade
Digging your toes into the sand
The cries of gulls
Orienting your towel to the sun
Stopping for black raspberry ice cream on the drive home
Wrap-around porches
Polka-dot bikinis
Your chair at the low tide mark with waves lapping at your ankles
A baby in a white floppy hat meeting the ocean for the first time
The smell of Coppertone
A little pool of water in your belly button
Wading through a sun-warmed tidal pool
The shapes of clouds
Painted toenails


A ritual walk on the sand, the brittle night and the wide blue sky of Winter boundless above us. With frozen lips I named the couple stars I’ve managed to learn and wondered why I didn’t choose to learn the warmer summer sky.


I’m tempted to start my naming with the Big Dipper and its arrow to Polaris; the Big Dipper being the only constellation I’d learned as a child and which I’ve since learned (thanks to Steve) is, instead, an asterism.

I turn my back to the chill wind and its view of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor to start instead with conspicuous Orion, whose belt (another asterism and don’t I sound smart?) points the way to Sirius and Canis Major and Canis Minor… in that general area, too, someone’s imagined a rabbit, but I don’t see it.

A couple spins (I did a lot of spinning to reorient myself in the sky and avoid the wind) and high in the sky I find the almost familiar “W” of Cassiopeia, whose name I can’t pronounce correctly, especially not with such numb lips. From the corner of my eye, a new one, the Pleiades, overhead.

That’s five at least, isn’t it? Have I learned my quota, can I get back in my car and out of this relentless cold, please?

The dark and the hush deepen, all a part of the beauty that touches the quick of understanding. We came for the night, as well as the stars, and it was there all around us. When at last my stiff fingers had thawed and I was on my way home again, the magic was still there. It’s more than the stars; it’s the cold and the wind, and the old, old stories across the sky.

34 in my 39 by 40.

Things that make me smile

Horses in blankets
Red-tails when they perch close together
Comfortable jeans


This video and Josh Turner


(gosh… he’s cute!)

Letting someone else give me what I want
Hay in my hair

Men with flowers sedges

Other people’s kids
A reluctant smile from the DH
(I love stories!)
The smell behind a bunny’s ears

Skimmers and their barking
Handwritten letters
(This is an ongoing list, I think…)