Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I’m a bleeding heart, live and let live sort. A little old grandmother for cripe’s sake. But the worst any of us human critters has done, it’s in us all. Hatred resides in the darkest part of my soul for those imitation lady bugs. I hate potato bugs. Experiments in natural pest control. Not my experiments, mind you. But somebody brought them out here. They eat aphids. So what? Aphids or potato bugs? No contest. Typical human arrogance, thinking we can outsmart mother nature. They are attracted to white - like the white cliffs of their native lands. When it gets cold, they inch inside the crags and cracks to ride out the winter. My house is tall. And white. The siding is where they go in the fall when they get cold usually after a frost or two. Just when you start to think it won’t happen. Every year. Every damned year. The little suckers bite and if you swat them for it, they stink you. Very UN-ladybug like. I think every year that they aren’t coming. This time, I won. They are finally done. But nope. They come. Just one day, they’re everywhere - creeping in every crack, riding in the door on your shirt, crawling all over the ceiling in the kitchen. If you toss them out, they just march relentlessly back in. They make me furious. I can’t bring myself to poison them because we have a well and frogs in our pond. As a citizen of this planet, I won’t spray weeds or bugs. I learned the hard way you can toss them on the floor and stomp them and they still come up crawling again. It hardly slows them down. You have no idea how long it took me to find out they’re pretty much unstompable. I call out the beastly, merciless side of my spirit after years of tolerance, catch and release, and it’s all for naught. So now I trap them in a jar. They’re easy to catch. If they’re crawling across the kitchen ceiling, they’ll eventually fall down. They drop - onto the table, the counters, your neck. So, when they get within reach, I scoop them into my bug jar and slam the lid. They can live in there for days - only getting air when I open up for the next guy. But I do not care. Let them suffer. I even find their captive stink gratifying when I open the lid to get another. “Your stink defends against nothing! “ I think, and slam the lid shut. I’m so ashamed. It amazes my bleeding heart every year. They come yet again and my ardent, stunningly gratifying round up into the bug torture jar ensues. The invasion eventually stops. Kind of the way they start. Just done. I might see a stray or two as the winter goes - maybe one a month and even though the jar is put away, I still have no mercy. I snatch them and toss them in the toilet. Flush. Even the winter ones don’t get thrown outside on the off chance that they find a way to survive. But by February or March, all trace of them is gone. Guess that’s why I think I won this time. So, if you ever think you’re above the base cruelty of your fellow humans, think again. It’s in there. Someday you too will meet your potato bug.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wise and Brave

Our four year old grandson began humming this morning while he was getting dressed. I asked him why he was humming. He's in day two of the flu and had already told me that he wondered if you could be dizzy even if you aren't walking in circles. I asked him if he was and he said yes, so I told him yes, you can feel like that when you have the flu. Then I felt his forehead and happily told him he didn't have a fever this morning. He smiled and said, yes but he has a fever in his ear. We have to tell his mom about that. About the humming, he said he wasn't humming - it 'just came on naturally'. Oh. They are mighty little warriors. Even when they feel puny and dizzy and have fevers in their ears, the humming just comes on naturally. There is so much sweetness in the world of a four year old. Of course I want to be like that.

Friday, February 6, 2015


It works for me. It is so much nicer to be wondering than to be bored. Way more fun to have childlike glee over the thousand types of snow than to sit indoors shivering and complaining. I like the squeak of snow under my boots when it's really cold. And the color of the horizon at night in the deep, deep cold is astonishing. Extreme anything can be dangerous and difficult but it's quite a spectacle if you experience it carefully, from a safe distance, with a sense of wonder. 'I wonder how I'm going to solve this problem?' makes me feel much more powerful than hand wringing and worry. When they were teens and young adults, my children were greened by my exploding sense of wonder. It made little sense to them that while they were demonstrating their competence, I was practicing the world view of a three year old. I have been practicing for decades. I'm getting pretty good at it. You should give it a try.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

LETTING GO You cannot release what you don't own. I own it that people can do crappy, violent things. Misogyny. I own that too. For the longest time I said NO! That is just not right! And stomped my foot. Whoever is in charge - what an idiot. To make tragedy, flies, mosquitoes, misogyny. Boy was that exhausting. Then I rediscovered not being attached. It just is. So, the sorrow and rage and beauty and peace. The preposterousness... They flow past. That's how it changes. Inside you then outside t

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Published this month in Indiana Voice Journal End of Autumn by Belinda Hubert Winter came on hard and fast this year. Whoosh. It’s easy to despair about short, short days and the sudden absence of color after a big wind and freeze. The onset. Our beautiful Autumn is swept away and we huddle inside. We wait for perfect, knowing that’s a looooonng way off. It seems like all the color on the birds who stay is faded. The really bright ones are gone. It’s only sparrows and crows perched among the few dead leaves straggling on the naked branches. But while we dread ice and misery, hunch against dreary gray clouds, the good is still right out there. There are still plenty of bright cardinals and blue jays, woodpeckers and nut hatches, cute little black and white chickadees. You just have to wrap up and walk out to see and feel this new reality. We see what we look for. Hardship creates it’s own stark beauty. The holly berries are red as fire. The beauty berries are the silliest shade of purple, showing off absurdly against leafless branches. Tall dry grasses with golden tops still blow in the wind. There are animal tracks everywhere next to the freshly harvested fields, amid the litter of husks and sharp crispy corn leaf blades . The blown down yellow willow branches make such a pattern curling against the dark crunchy earth. In the early morning light, the frost sparkles up all those textures. Then we get the million kinds of snow. It changes by the hour. It’s our judgement that makes all that bad. We think we can only be happy when the planets align and the bluebird perches on our shoulder. Pshaw. It’s savory. I love to cozy up to the dark. If we obey the urge to look away from the old, the dark, the dried and blown, our attention is all about what’s not any more. We mourn what was, and we miss what is. Winter is not flamboyant or easy on us. But if we open up, drop the dread, look straight at it, walk out into it, we can see the beautiful bones, the underlying traces, tune into the shapes and shadows. This part of the year, we have to take the remnants, the roots, toss on a few spices, light up a fire and make soup.