The House

The House on Wood Street is tall and imposing. I remember when I first saw her. I was driving a side street and I noticed behind the tall redwood tree’s there was a large bird of paradise plant with dramatic flowers. I didn’t really notice the structure itself. I remember the flower speaking, telling me to take notice.

I have lived in this house now over thirteen years. We were quiet content in our first home. It fit us wonderfully, on a hill with views and lots of natural light. When we opened our hearts to fostering we were quickly told it was not big enough for what our hearts and hands would welcome, so we moved to The House. She was built in 1904 and has withstood the hands of time with very few alterations. As we moved in on a cold winter day our first young momma came with her baby and her things. It was a house for others from day one.

Fostering has given way to adoption and I have always kept my mind on the original heart beat and vision. Every child deserves a home, a place of belonging and purpose. A place to launch from and a place to return. I know longing, and heart-break from a place of empty heart and womb. Adoption is a beautiful story of family for many individuals and the reasoning is as complex as those who make this choice.  My story was somewhat more happen stance. I saw a need and I said yes and guess what, that does not make me a mom. My love for them does. There is this thing that happens, you wake up and notice you even love their stink. You want whats best for them even more than you want whats best for yourself. Sometimes that doesn’t lead to adoption but loving them from a distance and carrying them always in the place that only they can hold.

I do not require that the children of our family call me mom. I can read their faces and know their ways. I speak brokenness and miss trust fluently.  “Mom” just the very word stirs up vision and expectation and some are not good. There is confusion and strings attached and I am patient. In my mind I am patient. I rationalize the lack of title and have fully convinced myself, I want to be fine with it.

One day I am doing my household chores, tending to the house. I take a break and sit outside and look up and the reflections in the window looks as if she is winking at me. Not teasingly but assuredly. I was fussing over my place and my identity, I will admit. I want to be the mom and I want all due respect. I want to be adored and favored, I want to be their everything…The House spoke to me, it was the oddest thing. She told me they were not ready and it will come, but for now she would stand in proxy. She would hold them in her belly, keeping them safe and warm. Sheltering them and giving them a place to heal. She will raise them up and never ask for anything in return. I was humbled, this is truth. The House on Wood Street stands in proxy for all the mom’s who could not, and I am honored to call her home.

I answer to many names; The sweetest name is the one that comes from them. It sounds like a song that only they can sing.

via Daily Prompt: Proxy

The Mid-Life Simmer

via Daily Prompt: Simmer

Lets not talk about it. Oh yes, let’s do…

I have always walked closely with those older than I. They feel safe, They have been there, done that and I never gave their mid-life struggle a second thought.

Now its my turn and I am an outward processor, so in this I will not hold my tongue. I am smiling to myself now as I remember adolescence. My sister went first, she never told me. I asked questions like I was the very first to feel the buds of youth. My dear mother was patient and good at giving me facts, black and white, cold hard facts. I refused to turn 13, I was a tomboy and wanted nothing to slow me down. It came anyway.

We can not, no matter how well-behaved we decide to transition, we can not stop the hand we were dealt. I would stomp my foot and refuse but I learned my lesson the first time. It will come anyway.

I have looked forward to growing old, I embraced 40 with great excitement. You see in my earlier years I was often told I was too young. Every step of the way. Too young to go to school when I was the baby. Too young to ride my dad’s green-broke horse when I was 7, too young to get out of High School at 16, too young to marry at 19, too young to have my first child at 21. I figured that by 40, no one had any right to tell me I was too young for anything, except death. I was spunky and happy about it and it took me well into my 50’s before I have the mid-life simmer that has rattled me a bit. I am not here to give advice, each to her own as how she will process her own change. I will say that I was not prepared for my memory issues and mussy brain. I feel cheated, I am a quick wit. I need that to stay ahead of my quick tongue and active body. I roll though life on full speed and have always trusted in my mind to keep me out of trouble.

I am considering the possibilities and the potential for my current mussy brain and I have decided to just put it out there. I have found it helps. I let others know that if I don’t write it down, I will forget.  If I do, I may forget where I put it. I could hide away as this feels vulnerable and foreign to me. It causes doubt and frustration that wears on our face. I have seen it looking back at me in the mirror.

I ask you, do not stay away from those who are on simmer. I encourage you to find a lid. Not to cover her, but to protect yourself from her splatter and take her as she is. Hot and bothered and possibly ready to spit.




img_7502Travel didn’t come early in our years together. As we step out on wing and rail we have a common way that keeps us steady. We have no great expectation, but keep our eyes and ears wide open.

Heart racing, mind full, it’s hard to sleep. Heading out early for the winter train to Fairbanks. The first dusting of snow came in the night, it is lovely.
The trees are naked they have lost their leaves. The bark is white and stands in contrast to the dark morning light.

“All Aboard” we here the call, find our seats in the front car with a window, almost. Looking forward it had a wall support cutting off our view. We reposition because we asked nicely and it’s the off season so our train is not full. It’s a twelve hour adventure full of possibilities. This train is one of the last that still allows “on-and-off” travelers to wave it down and pay a fare for their needed transportation. It travels through a part of Alaska where there are no roads. Homesteaders and people living off grid uses the rail as their connection to developed communities. I must say, I try not to have expectations but my thoughts were to see Denali Park and mountain and wildlife, and I did.  The travelers were an unexpected delight. On this day we picked up Mary and Clyde, regulars on the rail. They homesteaded in 1963 and have raised their four children on the land. The couple are in their elder years now, as they made their way through the car they just kept walking. We knew they were something special. Husband mentioned that they knew exactly where they were going. They settled in the dinning car and we met them there later for a chat and story. She told me it was hard, good and hard but she would have it no other way. She loved to talk, he stood off to the side preparing her things. She had lost track of time and they were almost home. I felt humbled and encouraged standing in their light.

If you ever get a chance to ride the train in Alaska, take it. I am not sure what you will see, there are no guarantees. You will not be disappointed if you choose to embrace the beauty and stand in~light~in’d

We saw some wildlife; One moose, cow and calf, a wolverine scurrying across a small frozen lake and the ptarmigan were changing color. We saw the largest Eagles imaginable. If you know me, I have eagle encounters.  I saw many on this trip and they were often unnoticed by others. Standing on the outdoor observation deck, I watched one perched on a rock waiting for a fish, it was huge. Later we saw a large nest with a parent perched on the tree. Another one was soaring and took off in flight and flew directly over our window. I am assured in the blessings of the eagle.

The depth and vast landscape does not translate in the images that I captured. I snuggled in to take in the beauty and put my camera away. I was glancing back and noticed the sun was going down. The light shifted gently. The day had been clothed in monocramatic  wonder, with depth and color transforming as we traveled. I noticed a shift and bundled up to enjoy the solitude of the outdoor viewing deck. It was frequented by others when the conductor would slow to a stop and narrate an outstanding view. At this moment many were resting and I wanted a moment to myself before the end of the day. As the sun set on our corner of the earth it kissed us with the most colorful display of beauty. Wild and free refusing to say good night silently it took my breath away and left me enlightened by its glory.

(You can follow my photo’s on Instragram at say_mima)


The Bucket

An odd child, I’m not afraid to say it. Normalcy was not considered. Tall, lanky, full of busy, I decided early I wasn’t much to look at so I had better be interesting. Interesting wasn’t difficult. Self control was my challenge. My early years had some trauma but when you are seeing through your own eyes you don’t realize others have a different view.
I was almost five years old when I came face to face with my fathers tragic accident. It was Easter Sunday and my Auntie had taken us on a walk, I was never one to walk so I skipped ahead. Looking over an embankment I watched as a specialized piece of equipment rolled down a mountainside ravine. My father was demonstrating the piece of equipment to three other men and they were all thrown out. My father was smashed right before my four year old eyes. It was graphic and loud and senseless.
The accident was discovered by, I don’t know whom, but the moments of discovery and rescue was such that the adults did not realize I had watched it all. There was much shock and swirling of events and the day turned to years and it changed me. It made me brave.
My father lived, not always well, absolutely not easily, but he lived. I decided at a young age, to embrace each day.
People talk of a “Bucket List”. I have never made one. My plan was simply not to bucket, at all. I also did not daydream of childhood things such as marriage and children or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was determined how ever to grab the moments, wrestle them fully, and look forward to the next. If I imagine a bucket I only see it as a vessel waiting to be filled, not waiting to be kicked.

Today I have run away with my husband, Adventuring in Alaska. It has not been a destination thought in my mind but the excitement has caught and I look forward to filling my bucket. Will write more later, I can’t wait to see what we will see.

Cloaked In Time

I was sitting at my desk, determined to knock out my “Must Do” list when I received a phone call, “Helloooo”. The soft lift on the drawn out ending is familiar to my ear but even more so to my heart. My Auntie is missing me. She does not demand attention, she does not pout it out. She picks up the phone and gently nudges me in her direction.

A man has passed and she wants to know if I am coming to the service tomorrow. I don’t know this man but I recognize his last name. Auntie is the keeper of the records at Headquarters Cemetery and she is letting me know that Sid will be buried in the family place. Now I am tuned in, Auntie needs something, wants something from me. I know this dance well, she wants me to ride along.

She arrives at my office and gently hands me the keys. I settle into the driver’s seat and take my time, there is no hurry in her step. I lower the window as she would like a little air. She talks softly of the things that matter. She has fallen into a place of remembrance, my age and place in the two generations after her have erased for this moment and I don’t remind her. She references our grandmother as if I knew her and I take her hand and hold the place in her mind that has been vacated by loss, cloaked in time.

(My Great Aunt lives on The Round Valley Indian Reservation. She is 88 years young and  the elder of our extended family. The last of her generation. I am blessed to ride along.)


via Daily Prompt: Cloaked

Bonds of Attachment

Attachment, it’s not for the timid or weak of heart. Today we sit in the sunny window of my upper room. My boy is struggling to find his way. His bravery inspires me and scares the life out of me. I will match his bravery because I must.

Often as parents struggling to bond with our restless adolescents, we ask them to join us. I challenge you, join them. We are listening to alternative rock while I paint his drawings. Yes, I set some boundaries, I don’t want derogatory f’words in my house but strong language is part of both our raging emotions. Say That

We are both a work in progress. I will fear no evil.

Walking On

He captured my heart and 10 years was not enough. He was exceptional and then he was not. The shock was such that it has taken me 5 months to even mention that he has gone. He was the keeper of my secrets the knowing eye that watched my moods and movements. I am more than a survivor, he walked with me through the shadows and in him I had no fear.

I am determined to learn to walk alone. I went out the other day and found, I have no idea what to do with my hands. I hold on to your leather leash and stroke your deeply layered coat. Your nose comes to my hand when I remind you not to rush. We match steps and find our rhythm and there is not question of pace. I have noticed that when you are not by my side, people walk on by. You were my connection, you were my opening line.

My hands find the comfort of a chain link fence, I drag them along noticing the texture. That fence changes with the next row of houses, I welcome the wooden slats and the sound. There is a young man jogging, his companion by his side. This was too much for me, how nice for him. I go inside.

I decided that day, I will share my thoughts. I will wrestle and challenge my ideas and I will not be silenced by my loss. My son asked me recently what is the meaning of life? I said with no hesitation, “So others will not be alone.” I invite you, let’s do this thing called life. There is someone, right there waiting for you to fulfill your purpose, walking one with another. May you never feel alone.