Yes, but..

Somewhere, there’s a photo of me in silhouette standing on the very last dozen inches of one of the peaks of the Presidential Range, only good wishes and one misstep away from kissing one of those bad boys all around me for as far as the eye could see.

I loved showing the Dad-snapped photo around when I was young, “Look here, am I intrepid or what?” (I certainly hadn’t planned to be, lol, but facts is facts!)

Later, it became a bittersweet photo/memory, as did the days of my being dragged out to high seas in a tiny rowboat with him, to do some fishing away from land entirely.

My mother, even prior to their divorce, had always worried during those times when I was finally living life, that they were perfect opportunities for himself to dispatch-via-tragic-accident someone he’d considered the middle-man between them.

It was nearly impossible to defend him — he had done horrendous things — but I wanted to say (and would’ve, could I have found the unhurtful, unthreatening way to say it), “Sometimes, he has been a father.” I think she (and others) attributed my safe return solely to her frantic prayers being answered in the Affirmative.

But none of them saw his face on that mountain day, or those sea days, or on farm or extended family days. These were the only things he could give me, sometimes delivered with a gasp of his own — both of us overwhelmed by peace and health and beauty for a while. Together. On the precipice of family.


I has them.

It would’ve gone alright with the rest as a middle name for real: Relax Qualm McGillicuddy, though it works better as a statement — a comma after Relax would’ve been perfect.

I had qualms about everything. If I didn’t, I imported them. I was my mother’s daughter, which is to say not half Irish just yet, which is to say French Canadian. My neighborhoods in a historic seaport were incredibly diverse, so I was surrounded by Italian qualms, many French Canadian ones, and the rarer Irish qualm (who had qualms about having qualms but had them anyway, only slightly moreso than did the Greeks).

The problem was, we were mostly of the Catholic working class persuasion, and that was rife with qualms. The only Jewish girl I knew didn’t seem to suffer them. She was joyful, animated, sure of herself. I desperately wanted to be Jewish for a while, back when I didn’t realize one could be Jewish and yet not religiously so.

I continue qualmward. Not because it’s mandatory for the conscience — that’s only how it got a foothold. I need qualms, the awkward 50-lb butterflies of doubt, to warn me off of what I think I want to go for — or at least make me think longer, consider more.

Or, angelqualms.


Love in the afternoon


Old man walked by with a friend today.
His gimpy old beagle was eons past gray.
Nose to sidewalk and stomach swaying;
every few steps, an aged tremolo baying..
The dog, I mean; old man had a cell phone.


Cat rounded the garage on soft cat-feet
expecting it didn’t know what it may meet;
I pointed him out, we whispered the rest
as we moved to windows to view our guest.
He, smoky love with amber eyes
glancing up at us without surprise,
strode like a king under the driveway’d van;
when gone from view, daughter said, “Man
we aren’t cat-starved or anything.”


A Re-blog (“The Citizen’s Income”)

(Relax note: The more I [an average world citizen] read about this feasible idea — and realize also the quieter benefit of how quickly it could eliminate a lot of complicated, expensive, uneven bureaucracy on every level — the more attractive it becomes and the more I’d see it pursued for its potential as a genuine boon for any nation.)

One of the recurring ideas that crops up in alternative economics circles is the citizen’s income. In a nutshell, it’s a universal and unconditional payment made to every adult in the country, every month. This provides everyone with a ‘guaranteed minimum income’, which is an alternative name for it. We have it in a form […]

via The Citizen’s Income — Make Wealth History

More on the matter from Jeremy here.


Here in my little town…

The cows (all shiny auburn with soft cream faces) have been moved from their rain-soaked mudpit to a larger, drier field. I’m sure their owner and/or hired workers don’t want to be hosing them down once or twice every day before they come back into clean barns.

The horse paddock looks like a great place to mud-wrestle, too, but the horses’ pens have just been moved backward by a pen until the ground dries up.

The pond on the way has finally lost its green film and is clearly reflective of its circling pines once again. The peeper ponds further up the road, well beyond the now-thundering old mill dam, reveal the sky’s folds, too, these days.  By night on my way home, I pause right there where the road sits surrounded by the pond, turn down the car radio, and all but inhale the deafening peeping from all sides.

When I arrive at work, which is bordered by many rolling fields and farms, I park in what I call my picnic area. Just a few parking spaces into the long and winding driveway leading up to massive parking lots.  I stay down there with the milkweeds and marsh-bird houses, under some wide, calm trees, until it’s time to call myself into work. I do picnic there — last minute coffee, a little something with peanut butter. I don’t eat much during the day, but I won’t be able to work without protein.  I sometimes have time to text the *kids* or even call an ailing cousin.

My pre-work picnic may be on hold until summer.. I’m collecting two kids from two different schools and bringing them home so daughter can meet us here from her work and bundle the kids into her car for the drive to collect the baby from another town entirely. By then, it’s time for me to concentrate on just getting to work on time! Not that anyone would care if I was late. I’m sort of the boss. That makes two of many reasons I’d like to keep this job for as long as possible. The location, too.. it’s truly amazing in its beauty. I am heartened each day, except in winter, before I go pour out every atom of energy.

Birds really do become twitterpated as Friend Owl said.. I’ve been watching them all and learning much that will never be useful to anyone! I won’t go into it all here, but that heartens me, too — and especially to exit work on a break to see a near-sunset and to hear the mourning dove coos emanating from the telephone wires. I arrived one day in time to see an owl hunting mice! And of course, there is a chipmunk tale to be told.. he keeps his sparkly eye on me and thinks if he doesn’t move, I won’t see him. I stand so stock still, he forgets all about me now and then.

I don’t know what heartens you, but I hope that sometimes it’s the outdoors. Tonight, the sky is bearing white puffy clouds, the moon has a colorful aura around it, and there’s a planet shining nearby. I cannot imagine all this not having an effect on us. What trouble the Lord went to, to provide for all creatures, and to provide ordinary miracles for our eyes and ears, day in and day out.  How did I ever once take it for granted?



“I know My sheep, and…”


“…the rest of that changes more every day.”

It’s Good Shepherd Sunday, also celebrating the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

In this state, today is one more thing:  Suicide Prevention Sunday.

This is a tiny little bodunk if historical state (said with lavish affection), but even here, suicide is the second leading cause of death among… ready?

10 to 14 year olds.

The bulletin goes on to say that every day, 22 veterans commit suicide in America.

We have a lot to pray for.  An awful lot.



A Re-blog (“Catholic Artist Spotlight…”)

Catholic Artist Spotlight: Michelle Arnold Paine BY LISA HENDEY ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2016 Michelle Arnold Paine is an artist whose faith plays an integral part of her work. I discovered Michelle’s magnificent work on a recent retreat and have enjoyed my frequent visits to her website since then to learn more about this gifted painter. […]

via — Wonder and Beauty