The Twenty-first Crossroad

So fellow travelers, people often speak of kids growing up “in a flash.”

That has not been my experience as a parent.

The passage of three decades from the birth of our first child to this moment of Favorite Youngest Daughter reaching adulthood has felt more like a marathon, one I ran far more willingly than any actual foot race. My husband is the marathon triathlete. I am more likely found on a 5 mile hike than a 5-K run (yes, I am fully aware 5K is actually 3.1 not 5 miles.) But I digress.

Anyone who has undertaken the daunting responsibility of raising kids knows that parenting is not for the faint of heart. Yet nothing in this life I have accomplished has been as rewarding as the adventure of watching our two daughters grow from curious high spirited little girls into creative, independent young women.



And even as we skyped with Favorite Youngest Daughter last Sunday on her 21st birthday, it’s clear the adventure is far from over. In many ways our lives are beginning a new phase of this grand journey, a stage where my daughters and I relate as women, supporting one another as we take on the dreams and goals we’ve set for ourselves.

Still, as a awesome writer and friend of mine recently blogged “We are never quite the same after someone we’ve loved leaves our everydays.” While Ms Dingle is referring to her grieving the recent passing of a cherished family member, it occurred to me as I read her post I too have been grieving. I realized this process began the morning I left Favorite Youngest Daughter standing on the platform in a train station in Tokyo, two years and six months almost to the day of her recent hall mark birthday.

The memory is a vivid as if it has just happened this morning. I can still feel the effort it took to walk away after giving her a long hug goodbye.  My eyes tear up just as they did that moment,20150831_212415 as I willed myself not to look back, knowing if I did I might run back to stay with her and make the parting impossibly difficult for both of us. This was her moment to step onto the path she had chosen, I had to be strong enough to let go because letting go said “You can do it, I believe in you.”  Still, sitting on the train which would bring me back to our hotel, I had wild thoughts of not getting off, of riding the train until it circled back to her station, of  not going to the airport or getting on the flight that afternoon which would take me and my husband back home. My heart hurt so much I could barely speak when I did arrive at the hotel where my husband had remained to check out while my daughter and I made a pilgrimmage to a sacred memorial which held special meaning for both of us.

In retrospect I see now that was the moment when the heartstrings of full time motherhood fully broke. Yes once a mom, always a mom but from that moment on I would have to learn how to be a long distance mom for both my daughters.

Favorite Youngest Daughter had stepped into independence in a way far different from her older sister. Favorite Older Daughter’s crossing into independence was more gradual, evolved closer to home and by the time she left for college, she had already found her ally and partner for life, the devoted young man I now refer to as Favored Son-in-law. The moment those heart strings began to release came as I watched them get ready for her senior ball. In the way only a mother’s heart can know, I sensed it was a glimpse into her future.



Our younger daughter’s break from home came as an all-in-one major leap of faith which took her half way around the world for her first solo flight. She has never looked back. Oh, she’s been home a few times and those visits have been deeply rewarding, as have our visits to Portland each summer when we reconnect as a family with our older daughter and her husband.


Recently the inevitable goodbyes felt surprisingly harder; I hugged my kids tighter, longer, my tears stung sharper. Insights from my friend’s writing granted me a fuller awareness of the grief embedded in this change from full time motherhood to long distance mom. Looking back I find it’s been there in my writing for a while.

With clarity comes the gifts of perspective and acceptance. Those “everydays” Lisa writes about are the void we must reframe and reclaim as our own and as I said before, our adventures as women on life’s path are far from over. Acceptance allows me to see the sign posts pointing the way to undiscovered adventures and whether I walk those paths alone or with friends and family I am eager to set forth on this next stage of my own journey.




See you on the trails.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.




Razor’s Edge

So fellow travelers, the ability to maintain an objective space for others on their journey requires unyeilding concentration.

How therapy dogs accomplish this is nothing short of miraculous.

Me? It’s a daily challenge, but this old “dog” is doing her best to learn the tricks.

Sitting in a quiet space watching madness ebb and flow
dancing on the razor’s edge between sacrifice and salvation
a million lifetimes evolve within each moment
none are your stories to tell
yet to listen
to simply be present
is enough
for now








This dotted line of hope appeared in the early morning sky.  Spring is coming.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure fina you ready.


So fellow travelers, this early morning image of our recently thawed pond feels like a metaphor for things evolving around me.



smooth as glass

deep as night

soft as velvet

deceptively inviting



a spark of Light

ignites hope

tread water


love calls

from the illuminated shore






All problems have root causes and I firmly believe if we are not part if solutions, we become part of the problem.

I endeavor to be part of the solutions. More to follow.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Hidden Losses

So fellow travelers, sometimes the trails I traverse are haunted.

Footsteps crunch on snow

Hidden birds burst from branches

Regrets and losses

Scatter like feathers

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Inside Out

So fellow travelers, I’ve been feeling besieged by storms of many origins.

Outside the wind howls

Ice pelts windows while inside

Faith flickers but holds

Truth is I miss my daughters

I miss my backyard birds

I miss my favorite trails

I miss my sanity

Well not entirely, not yet.

There’s some still left holding on by a few threads strengthened by revelations shared from the hearts of others.

Wisdom and hope, beacons of truth and insight like lanterns illuminating a dark passage.

Where there is will there is a way.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

On Snow Events and Wonder

So fellow travelers, hush….listen


can you hear it?


Uh huh,  that is the legendary “sound of silence.”

I’m not sure it’s what Simon and Garfunkle had in mind when they penned their iconic song, but anyone who lives in deep snow country knows it and it is what I woke to this morning after hours and hours of constant snow.  Sixty-six hours for anyone keeping track, which of course the airport weather station does for us.

66 hours and 19.5 inches later our yard is an arctic landscape, minus the glaciers, although if our sub zero windchills continue those may be coming soon. Stay tuned.

Lake Effect bands like this are common here. Unlike Winter Storm Grayson which blustered up the East coast earlier this week they are a not product of specific low pressure systems, but the result of several conditions (cold dry air, open waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, shifting winds) which combine to create streams of snowfall over areas of Upstate New York.  Our weather teams don’t refer to them as “storms,” they call them “events.”

How feastive!

I suspect it will be a while before I can put away the outdoor Christmas decorations.

It’s been a while since we had such a severe start to a winter season. Favorite Youngest Daughter commented it’s the first white Christmas we’ve had in a while. Oh we always get snow well before Christmas, but in recent years it seems it melted right before we most wanted it. Not so this year, in fact winter is ramping up to be one long, brain freezing endurance test.

So, if Old Man Winter is laying down the challenge, I’m determined to summit those wind driven snow drifts and seek wonder wherever I can.

Like the quiet “chip!chip!” outside my kitchen window,

drawing my attention to a flash of red, revealing a brave yard resident reminding me to check the feeders,

where little tracks are my thankful reminder not only birds are counting on me

and a burst of early morning color shines with anticipation for the coming year.

Dawn comes silenced winds

leave glistening gems of Light

Pause Wonder Breathe Be


Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.









Leaving a Light on Always

So fellow travelers, tomorrow Favorite Youngest Daughter wings her way West again.

This parting is stretching my heartstrings more intensely than before. I know it is because her path forward from here is less defined than a Mother’s mind is comfortable with. Yet deep in my soul I also believe by following her heart she is making her best choice  and I am committed to sending her on her way feeling supported and loved.


Beyond darkness Light

The comforting warmth of Home

Love is always here



There’s no greater gift we can give each other than our acceptance. When our children reach the time where our paths diverge we stand at that crossroad, holding hope in our hearts that everything we have given will hold them steady in their journey. Knowing all choices hold challenges, we pray what wisdom and strength we have passed along provides them the resiliency they need to live their dreams.  So I will invoke the armor of love to surround my daughter as I wrap her in an until-next-time hug.

Then both of us will shoulder our packs and head out to explore the adventures calling us onward.



Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.


The Last Shall Be First

So fellow travelers, we have arrived back home after a long circuit of family visits for the holidays. Most of the drive was a tense journey on slippery, slushy roads through misty bands of wind driven snow. (God bless my husband for driving.) It felt like a very appropriate metaphor for the stressful twists and turns which made this past year such a challenge to navigate.

But there were moments of glorious adventure, great joy and earnest personal insights too. Just like the weekend’s cherished moments with family, the year now counting itself down brought gifts of love and laughter to ease the pangs of change and loss.

A bright full moon followed us on our drive home this evening and I realized this full moon is both the last full moon of 2017 and the first full moon of 2018. It too is a metaphor for my mind so full of thoughts about the coming year. To be honest I feel a bit of uneasiness regarding what lies ahead in the months to come although there is more hope in the mix than I felt a year ago.  There are many elements I am more than ready to leave behind when I change the calendar pages at midnight and there are lessons to carry forward to fortify the resiliency so essential to thriving in troubled times.

The last being first and first being last, are remnant puzzles from my Sunday School years, left unsolved by college comparative religion classes and only slightly clarified by meditative reflection on the yin-yang continuity of life’s ebb and flow.  What I know now is simply this.  What will be will be and when what is falls beyond our control, all we are left to master is our response to it. Our response may be the only choice we have in some circumstances, but it is also the most crucial choice we make because it creates the framework of how those circumstances affect us and how we in turn affect others.

So I have chosen to carry just one resolution with me as I cross this Light bridge created by last and first moons: this year I intend to be mindfully present in as many moments as I can, to experience these moments as fully as possible as they happen, unfiltered by past judgement or future concerns.

To that intent, a simple haiku for the moons of 2017-18.

So first shall be last  

The fullness of an ending

Beginning afresh

Happy New Year fellow travelers. Thank you for joining me along the way. 

Walk gently on the path my friends and as always, may the adventure of this coming year find you ready.




Zen Moment: Deep Freeze Sunrise 

So fellow travelers,  a deep cold  snap has settled over our humble home.

My little pond has become a skating rink for the resident squirrels who slide across the surface to drink from little pool which forms around the heated aerators. Below the ice, fish sleep suspended in hibernation until Spring.

Last night when howling winds woke me I thought I was hearing voices singing. The clock showed just past 3am but no ghosts of Christmases past, present or future appeared. Still the eerie chorus must have echoed in my sleep, strange images swirled in my dreams until dawn, fueled a bit by the dynamics of  processing the stress from the last month at work and balancing the logistics of family gatherings throughout the holidays.

I’ve been feeling the impact of some personal losses this season too so when I caught the radiant light of sunrise this morning it stirred a desperate longing for peace giving words to this haiku styled prayer.


I want to believe

In every sunrise promise

Dig deeper for faith

Breathe in reach for hope

Deep in my soul I know each of us will find our way forward through challenging times.  We have strong bonds of love woven by family and friends near and far. A new year is coming and although it is “just a flip of a page on the calendar,” as someone rather jaded recently pointed out, for me at least it is still a chance to review our direction and reset our course as needed.

The glowing Light of sunrise is my daily reminder every day brings the hope and promise of  a new beginning.  I will greet this coming year holding strong in my resolve to believe the journey always brings us to where we belong.



Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.



Christmas 2017

So fellow travelers, the last of our Candle Night lights has been lit.

Christmas Day has come.

Beautifully wrapped gifts from my dear friend Lisa.

There will be gifts and greetings shared with family near and far. We will linger over hearty meals and hugs. Thanks to the technology  of Skype we will be together with all our kids for a little while later today.

Outside winter winds howl and lake effect snow adds more and more inches to the holiday card scenes in my yard but no weather can lessen the warmth and Light of the joy in my heart on this blessed morning.

Treasured ornaments

Lifelong memories shine bright

Bringing peace and joy

Walk gently on the path my friends and may blessings of the season go always with you.