April 2013

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To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

C.S. Lewis




My mind’s a wanderer this morning, running a zig-zag track to an unknown destination, obscured and isolated in the scrim of distance. I keep thinking about the boy who died at the Marathon on Monday, the word “peace” scribed in his learner’s hand, the face that said, “I am kind, gentle, heart-full.” And my friend Jon, who ran Boston in years past, my heart jittery with worry that he was there, that his swift limbs might be among the many obliterated in those harrowing milliseconds of abject cruelty. I and we were lucky, he did not run this year, but someone else’s Jon did, and my heart is filled with agony and hope and prayer for a lissome recovery of mind, body, and spirit.

I used to feel grateful, safe in a bubble of security. Then the outside world turned up the volume, and I couldn’t help but hear it.  People were shot pumping gas, murdered in their place of work. The hubster had a gun drawn on him just across the street, our car got stolen, and myriad neighbors  had their homes ransacked by thieves. No one is safe from the world. Accidents and incidents happen; aeroplanes fall from the sky; guns are fired; grocery stores are robbed; slurs are uttered; women, men, and children are harmed in every manner we can conjure.

I trip and stumble, dumbfounded at the wickedness. I cry hot tears. I hug my knees and rock away the pain. But I do not let it deter me from the love I am wont to share, from moving about in the world, from seeing the blue of the sky and green of the grass, from smiling and uttering hello, from being kind or trusting in the good nature of most. That I cannot abide.

Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths.

These are worth it. These are what I have come for.

Margaret Atwood



One church bell rings

Singing out to a warm bed

While one mood is painted on the sky.

One cat purrs and stretches

Prostrating on the chair

While one licks the plate clean.

One flash of genius

Slipping into the ether

While one dreams in sighs.

One bird flutters

Flying into the trees

While one crows a song of morning.

One clock on the mantle

Ticking the seconds of our lives.

How many remain?

Colleen Sohn



I wonder if there is a quotation somewhere, one not revealed to my constant digging, that asks, as we pass that middle of life, if we spend near as much time reminiscing as we do in the here-and-now. Sometimes I get lodged in that past space, cozy and hateful of disturbance, moments of the fil-um of my life rendered with such stunning clarity that I simply want to stay. If only I knew the proper handshake or combination of words and gestures, I might actually step behind the curtain of my fading memory to reveal all.

In the mean time, I collect snippets and ferret them away for safe keeping, like these spent with my brothers, two and four years my junior.

Running wild and barefoot and fast, fast, faster, down hills on a bicycle without brakes.

Splashing in cheap plastic wading pools before dashing through icy cold sprinklers in Underoos.

Turning out elaborate Matchbox car cities of dirt, rocks, leaves, and soaring imaginations.

Frittering away the time in the creek. Fashioning shoe laces into crawdad lures.

Playing baseball, swinging, spinning, and spending hours as badminton-playing tennis idols on the back lawn:Ivan Lendl, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe.

Eating popcorn in a circle of sleeping bags on the same lawn, eyes darting in a mad satellite search.

Dawdling on the path from school, coats fastened into fantastic flapping capes.

Diving grimy hands into the cookie jar to rise triumphant and crumb laden before demanding, “What’s for snack?”

Huddling around games of Monopoly, Clue, and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Conjuring games of “lava” and “wu-tang.”

Fighting for our favorite cushion on the couch.

Tromping and digging caves in the snow.

And laughing, so very much, at everything and nothing at all…

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