My son texted me: “peepers!”
March 15. Maybe the earliest sounds of peepers in his thirty-something years.
In the old farmhouse, we’d wait, sometimes not so patiently for those early spring nights when we might open a window, to let in the sounds of peepers – from the spring run, and the creek below the farm. It was a sound of new life, transition and SPRING! Usually it meant the sap had turned cloudy and it was time now to wash up the buckets, and put the sap house to bed for another year.
Peepers were and are the sound of the mystery of the transitions: the rhythms of movement, from winter to spring. Cold, dry nights will still come, and peepers will be silenced. But once they have peeped, the tides have turned.
My heart somersaulted with my son’s text, warmed by his remembering, his attention to the markers we honored and still honor, in which we delighted, and which he shares now with his toddler son.
On our mountain pond, geese flew into today, temporary visitors. In spring and in fall, one sets himself on top of the big rock just south of our dock. He honks proudly, claiming space and domain. His long neck reaches up to the pewter sky, his voice echoes across the waters.
At these season shifts, my senses become even more sensitive, acutely aware, and eager.


…is a whole new learning and living curve. Folks say, “You’ll be busier than you ever were!” or “Are you keeping yourself busy?”

Not really. I don’t WANT to be busy. Moving full time into our pond-side cabin has represented a desire to NOT be busy, or on call 24/7 as we were in our last jobs. For the first time that I can remember, there is rarely time pressure. We have new relationships with time. What am I doing? I am reading, knitting, cooking, baking, taking daily walks/snowshoeing, making cards, and writing! We are sorting, rearranging, continuing to lighten our load.

Especially in this winter stillness, I am feeling settled and comfortable, contented. Big word, contented. I began hungering for that feeling of contentment, a couple of years ago. I always felt it when we were here in VT, but less so when we were not here.

This afternoon, in bright sun, we hiked around the pond. We were mesmerized by animal track designs, princess pine patches, and pond-views through the bare trees. When we got back to the cabin, the aroma of our cast iron dutch oven of venison stew called us quickly to lunch. A snow squall soon arrived, transporting our window views into what always feels like a snowglobe to me. Magical. I am grateful.


In January

In January
Quiet rules.
The songs of chickadees and distant blue jays float amidst the far off train whistles passing through down in the big city.
Tire tracks mark hours of the day. The neighbor’s plow truck drives by. He plows when the snow depth requires.
Well, and sunrise through the bare trees mark hours too, against the next ridge, so high and formed. It is a view we don’t see from May through October, thanks to lush leaves in our way. And then, so quickly, the sun sets over the pond.
Yet the daylight grows.
This new season, a clean month, fresh, like a blank slate, has passed softly, with a gentle rhythm unfamiliar in our previous lives of busyness-productivity-doing-doing–doing, that we have lived.
January has brought a sacred routine. Making the bed just so. Brewing coffee in the percolator on the stove. Turning up the thermostats. Opening morning curtains. Delight in birds at our newly hung feeders. Laughter at squirrels trying to muscle their ways into those coveted sunflower seeds. Two meals a day. Sometimes a nap. A daily walk. And now writing. I am thankful for time and space and energy for writing!

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To life

July 2014

It is in inhabiting the tender seasons, the circles of a life-pulse that move around me, and around which I move and breathe, that my insides begin to ache, from feeling so much.

The milkweed-soft soles of my newborn grandson’s feet draw my fingers, and my lips to touch. His silky limbs, long and lean, reach and sway as he begins his quest to learn of the world. His fragrance is sweeter than honey. His eyes rivet on mine. And I can barely wrap my brain around the fact that his parents are now parents. How does this happen?

A partnering mystery of this bittersweet week: a dear friend (mother to my daughter’s best friend) learns that she is going to be a Grannie. I cry. We cry, at this news, first shared with a Grandma in the hospital bed, working hard on her passage into something eternal. As her body slows, readies to leave, the news of her granddaughter’s brand new pregnancy sweetens moments of grief. How do we hold all of this together? The opposite of death isn’t life. It is birth.

And then within hours of being with and embracing new life on earth, and new life beyond earth, we celebrate with loving friends/family, the marriage of two young spirits and their son. On top of a mountain, loved and cared for for generations, under the watch of two sentinel oaks, beside the pond dug by the groom, there is no more perfect place to be. This is the essence of deep love, stewardship of God’s creation, devotion to family. And all I can do now is cry. Where do I put all of these feelings? I can only begin to process them in water – through my tears, in the gently rippled waters of our own pond.

All Beautiful the March of Days

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seasons come and go. What remains constant? Even when we attempt to live differently, to change the scenery, to push it away, stress is ever present.

We drove into Brooklyn for 5 days of medical testing, at NY Methodist Hospital’s Pastors’ Clinic. I carried the stress along. My insides felt like a thousand crazy cartoon characters chaotically running into each other. I felt deep fatigue in my core, exacerbated by the “spring forward” time change.

At Methodist Hospital, I was not in charge of anything. I just had to get to my appointments in a timely fashion.

It took 3 days for those little cartoon characters to fade away. Then there was a crust, of exhaustion and hardness and weariness. It finally cracked on Friday morning, in our healing service, when we surrounded one another with prayers, silent and song.

I have been too tired to sense much of the Spirit’s movement in and around me in recent months. I am grateful to feel again.

And now we rest. We drove up to Silver Bay from Brooklyn yesterday. We are the only guests here in Trinity. The quiet is sweet and winter-gentle. The only sounds we hear are of the snow crashing off of the roof.

When we left Monticello on Monday, I felt consumed with the anticipation of telling our churches we are leaving (we will tell them on March 30). Focusing on us and our health in Brooklyn removed that consumed feeling, and affirmed again the importance of our health and wellbeing, and confirmed the plans we have made. We know there will be responses of grief and anger on March 30 and in the weeks following. And we are confident in our decisions to move into a new season, and in our self-care practices.

1-2-3- Liz is Pregnant

November 2013

“WHAT? NO WAY!!!!!!” Was the first response – but the facial expressions, screams, tears, laughter, really summed it all up.

12 of us had gathered at Gordon’s new River House for Thanksgiving 2013(it’s new to him – the old, lovely Adirondack abode of some dear friends who don’t want it sitting empty, so Gordon is there, for maybe 10 years.)

We had prayed, filled our plates with an abundance of food, and were JUST about to start eating when Gordon hopped up and said, “Oh I need to get a photo! I told Ed I would send him one. (Ed is the owner of this gorgeous home.) Gordon takes pics. 3 of them I think.

Then Gideon (at the opposite end of the table) says, “Gordo, let me take a picture, with you in it.” OK. Pass the camera down.

Gideon is poised. Ready to Roll. “Alright. Everybody say….  1-2-3 – Liz is Pregnant.”

Liz turns, glowing, to look at the 10 other faces around the table.

TOTAL STUN. SHOCK.  WHAT???????? NO WAY!!!! “THIS HAD BETTER NOT BE A JOKE!” says Aunt Chelsea. Papa butters his roll.

So Gideon tries again, this time a little more emphatically. “1-2-3 LIZ IS PREGNANT.” This time he got our attention.

Pandemonium ensues.

REALLY? My son is going to be a Dad? His beautiful, glowing wife will be the mother of a Frisbee grandchild, a much anticipated, already-loved-and-adored Baby Bee?

I think I was in shock the rest of the night. Really. Then I went to bed.

I have not worried about my children for a long time. Honestly. I pray for them, think about them, have hopes for them, loving being with them, cherish emails, phone calls, text messages, face-to-face visits. They are solid, gracious, mature, wise, loving, bright, compassionate, hard-working. When they meet challenges in their lives, I am confident that they will figure them out.

And now my first-born is going to be a parent. And I lay there in bed, worrying, well maybe just imagining, this Baby Bee. And wondering about this prune-sized being who will be a new generation, a light to his aging great-grandparents, an indescribable joy – no matter who he or she is – to his grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends. His or her parents are adored by so many, and this child will be adored and cared for and hoped for and planned for, as so many other babies have been in the world.

But the thought is overwhelming, isn’t it? That at Riverdale Farm, there will be a new generation, one that Wyatt and Laura might only have dreamt about? And this family will continue on, grow on, blossoming and growing as a sweet garden beside the river headwaters.