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Winter Soltice Moonrise Over Pond

Winter Soltice Moonrise by Di

The sky and the snow have certainly put on a show here on the East Coast. Huge drifts of the accumulated 24″-29″ look like sand dunes, if sand dunes were white. While neighbors used snowplows, my brother and I cleared out his driveway. Okay, I did 1/16 of a quarter of the work, but I certainly lent moral support.

My niece says, rightly, in reading a bit of my manuscript fit for her eyes, “but where’s the problem?” Being a great reader, she knows good stories need a problem, something to drive the plot along. So far, all she’s seen is a little boy waiting for a ferryboat to dock. Could he get lost? Kidnapped? But in grown-up stories, these are frightening matters. She looks at me with exasperation. “That’s why it’s a story.”

She has just read the The Secret Garden which not only has secrets but mysteries. What’s the difference? Secrets are revealed and mysteries,solved, I guess. A boy waiting for a ferryboat to dock. It does. Passengers emerge, hugs all around. Then, everyone has coffee. That’s how the story is going. What is hidden? What is lost? What transpires? Well, the coffee is good.

Above, from my dear intrepid photographer friend, who sent this picture above at 6:00 AM. There’s mystery, there’s change. Let me google a moon poem( from The Poetry Foundation)…  Here is one by a rare and wonderful poet, who hopefully might forgive my formatting.


Burning the Old Year


Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.


Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995)

Winter Sunrise

sunrise in winter windermere/



Another Entrance

3doors &more

3Doors from Serendip

Yesterday, I had dinner with two friends.  Instead of the planned frittata which morphed into an omelet, we wound up with angel hair pasta, blue potatoes, greens & cookies.  Only the potatoes, for me, struck out.  Cozied by wine, I asked to read an excerpt of my novel-in-progress.  Unfair question.  I read what I haven’t ever read aloud, and the words felt odd, too slow on my tongue at times.  After thinking I was near completion, I scrapped two-thirds of the manuscript and began again.  I am using quotations from Virginia Woolf to help me, she who wrote one of the most devastating lines in literature: Mr. Ramsey, stumbling along a passage one dark morning, stretched his arms out, but Mrs. Ramsey having died rather suddenly the night before, his arms, though stretched out, remained empty.

Can one write after this?  Once in the first class I taught professionally, and miserably, a young boy came up to me after Winter Break and said, Thank You, for Virginia Woolf.  This is why I teach.

My tenure such as it is at Naropa ends this Spring.  I don’t know what lies ahead.  Some people are more graceful with their exits, saving their goodbyes until the end.  But as Joan Didion taught, you need to go to the beginning to arrive at the end.

In 2004, I packed my car with a friend, and we drove from Sag Harbor to Boulder.  I thought I was striking out, leaving teaching behind, starting anew.  Of course I wasn’t, because I found adjunct work almost immediately.  A friend said, becoming an adjunct isn’t pretty, and it wasn’t.  I flew out to Cambridge for a low-res; to San Francisco for a once a month job; and Naropa welcomed me with open arms, or a deep bow.  I taught Art of the Essay, a course I will end with this Spring, in addition to another on Creative Writing:An Introduction.

Seven years, if I do the math, fly by.  Sometimes I still count on my fingers each fall to make sure. I did take a year off in the middle, but what will it be like without the structure of teaching?  On my year off, I fell fiercely into yoga practice.

I have decided, as I did as soon as I returned to campus after my year off, I would devote myself to three things: my classes;yoga;and my book.  Before my year off, I’d dine constantly with friends.  After, hardly ever, even as I became more interested in all things food.  So, yesterday, dinner with friends, and it felt like coming home to myself.

The other home, this place I’ve made my home, is where if I spill coffee on my laptop, I can get into the car and drive to the Apple Store in minutes and get help.  That’s what I did five days ago, with success.  Can home be defined by ease of living?  A place were one is secure, at ease, ready to face an embarrassment of riches and hard times?

The photograph above is accompanied by poems on doors at

and this:

…I never thought how all the while
what I needed was so simply
a door, to the outside
that opens
a door, to the inside
that shuts.

from Becky Birtha
The Forbidden Poems

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