We won’t be traveling to the seaside this spring. I stumbled upon these photos and my heart broke with this actualization. I love the warm sun, salt air, and the smell of botanicals. Who doesn’t? I believe most, if not all, feel called to the sea. The sea carries the same elements our bodies do: sodium, chlorine, magnesium, sulfide, calcium and potassium. Returning to the sea has become a yearly Mecca for our land-locked family, a re-immersing that balanced our systems, both physical and spiritual. The sound of water and wind mute the thoughts that worry us. Soft sands cushion our falls when we fail at our attempts to walk on our hands. Warm winds invoke a playfulness that remains dormant more than I’d like it to. Dolphins swim to the shoreline for a closer look, perhaps to see what we are laughing and squealing at. We laugh at nothing but the joy of being alive, well and at the sea.

We will find other antics to celebrate the return of warmer times. Also, the year isn’t over, yet. The world will always be our oyster and magic resides within the folds of uncertainty.

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Forgotten Meadow

Remember the way the first sounds of spring filled you, the time you and your mother followed a cacophonous sound. You peered through dried stalks of corn to find flocks of sandhill cranes; fields upon fields of them. You had never seen a sandhill crane before, let alone the hundreds that gathered that day.

The noise and sight was enormous. It excited you. In this place you had wandered countless times, you wondered how you could have missed them before.

You weren’t aware: This was the first time the cranes had returned in generations to that exact place, once meadow, now farmland, and at the tender, dark earth of it, a single blade of grass beckoned the wind patterns to change, the earth to tilt, and the cranes to enter into a longing, a familiar comfort and remembrance of their ancestral home. They acted on the wild will of their hearts and flew the distance to be there, all at once.

You weren’t aware that each of the hundreds of cranes that stood before you represented a miracle of God.

You weren’t aware that the first sounds of spring and life that came from every direction existed only for you hear.

You weren’t aware that a blade of grass held the vast memory of a forgotten meadow.

You weren’t aware that it is this kind of innocence that brought you home to yourself, once again and all at once.

You weren’t aware.

Of the corn. A.I.
Playing with A.I.
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The Hour of Lungs, Breath and Sorrow

Dear Mom,

I woke up at 4am today with a deep yearning to cry. It’s been this way for weeks now. An ache stretches down my throat, presses against my ribs and curls inside my lungs. This time of morning, the birds are already singing. I recall how you were always awake at this hour, like the birds. Sometimes, you would call and it would make me so mad. Other times, I’d answer gently and we’d talk. Most times, I wasn’t home or I played dead and allowed the phone to ring and ring into silence. I realize now this is the Crying Hour: The hour of lungs, breath and sorrow. I realize you were calling because you were yearning to cry.

I roll onto my stomach, and pull a pillow to my chest. I remember hugging you the way I would when you still remembered I was your child. I fall into a dream about a stream running through my garden. It’s clear and shallow, and there are millions of tiny tadpoles and fish. I am excited the kids will have something new to do. They can spend the day catching fish while I worked the garden. My excitement fades as worry sets in that the kids could drown, but I follow the stream to an adobe spirit wall with an eave built in to protect whichever God or Goddess I choose. I choose instead to nail my herbs there for drying. I examine a plant I have never seen before. Its leaves are cupped as if praying or asking for water; asking to be filled. Empty hands; begging hands.

And then, we are boarding a plane. The children are excited as we rush down long corridors of a light cerulean dawn, passing rooms and spaces with straight rows of seats for waiting. There are people coming and going, and in the excitement, I fail to acknowledge who we were leaving behind. You and Aunt Baby stand beside us crying. The seats in the terminal go from filled to empty. We are the last to board because we can’t say good-bye and I wake up to the sound of my own sobs.

I can still see your softs hands holding the things I’ve kept of yours that you once held close beside you: Your purse filled with crumpled tissues and napkins now serve as reminders of your tender grace.

I oftentimes travel an imagined road home to see you. I open the car door, releasing the children like thistle seeds to the wind as they run into your open garage and through your unlocked door. I follow them in as they shout your name to find you: Lola! Lola!

The tears fall now, Moma. What would you tell me to make me stop crying?

SHHH. Go to sleep now. My love is still here. My love is still strong, like the aching that wakes you.

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Mom’s Friend


me and momma


Mom’s friend calls me often. 

“Is your mom with you?”, she always asks. I’ve had to explain to my mom’s friend over and over her the complications involved and that scenario.

“No, Mom is not with me, and it’s highly unlikely that she ever will be, ” I answer, trying not to let onto how annoyed her question makes me. It’s not her fault. She doesn’t understand. She’s only being hopeful.

“Ah, well, I don’t know why you say your mom doesn’t remember. She remembers,” she says and then she tells the story for what feels . “She hasn’t forgotten! She remembers the time we went swimming and all of us friends had to hang on to one tire to stay afloat!”She tells me this story for what feels like the millionth time. 

Then I have to explain, yet again, about how it’s the newer stuff Mom doesn’t remember, and about Alzheimer’s and how there is no cure. 

Mom’s friend does not listen. Either that, or she has Alzheimer’s, too. 

Coincidentally, I recently came across pictures of my mom and her friend swimming with the tire.

It’s almost Teo’s first birthday. I can’t tell you how many times this year my heart has hurt because of how much I wish Mom could be here to share in all the joy her grandson brings. Somehow, there’s got to be a way to bring our lives closer together. Yearly visits aren’t cutting it, and saying goodbye is always hard. The perfect solution is out there somewhere. I just know it.

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To Lola and the Titas, Who I Know Are Here, and I Thank Them

Our ancestors are here. Their light shines through us and we illuminate like the fish bones my Lola would pluck from the crown of my head. They would appear there if I accidentally swallowed one. Then, Lola would feed me perfect bites of fish and rice from her soft hands, assuring I would not swallow another bone. I only remembered this when I found myself doing the same for my own children, fingers to their lips.

I understand why I crave food that reminds me of home; I miss my mom and the family that came with her. I swallowed her stories so long ago that they are mostly lost to me now. But when I make food my ancestors like, they return and I remember. They cling to my clothes and trail behind me wherever I go: garlic, vinegar, soy. They linger in the thresholds, sometimes drifting out into the street, enticing neighbors to ask: What’s cooking? And, I can’t answer, because it’s too awkward to explain to someone you hardly know:

You smell the ghosts of food cooked two days ago. I am happy to share the leftovers with you. But, please be prepared to listen as each bite rises from the crown of my head, like steam from hot rice. I’m not chewing. I am talking, and all the tiny bones that hurt to swallow are now illuminated by light.

I bet you won’t ask what’s cooking next time you are passing by and wonder. Or, will you?

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Interesting to observe

Other interesting lives

And what others find interesting.


Don’t you miss Mexico?

I asked him.

I wanted deep conversations.

He wanted to be left alone with his work.


My body and all its liquid


Stark and naked

I am always startled to see it.

Full glory

and grace.

He tells me I’m beautiful.

Then there’s beauty I haven’t developed a pallet for




On the outskirts

Mourning for their proximity

Distanced now.

There was never a choice in the matter.

Many said we’d forget about the dogs

Would cease to love them.


We move through days

tethered to diapers and feedings

and we love the chore.

The smell of humans

Skin to skin

an aroma

that once it hits you

never leaves,

will always be





It all boils down to water.

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Say What You Want To Say

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Grief aches near my heart, rises up into my shoulders and throat. It contracts, becomes full, and opens. The sound of my sob shocks me. It is unrecognizable. Each morning, each night, and all the way in between; it’s uncomfortable. I … Continue reading

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Jungle Room

The plants have all been moved inside. 

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Life, Love and Letttus

 I make a terrible gardener. I’m afraid of bugs and spiders, and I’m  never completely comfortable touching dirt. But the good Lord knows I tried. 

I started with a vigor, clearing the land, laying bricks, planting seeds. I tore up weeds before they crept up too far. And Teo, he was just a babe. I’d have to dart outside as he napped, monitor tied around my neck, and dig in the dirt. Somewhere along the way, I began to link the tilling of my garden with the rearing of Teo, as if the two were intertwined; reflections of one another. I know this is a silly thought, and probably hormone related, for as the hormones waned, and the plants began to grow, and Teo became the sturdy baby I knew he would someday become, I relaxed. I let the weeds grow wild as Teo learned to crawl along the dirt and grass. Flowers grew tall and bountiful, some taller than myself, which isn’t saying much, but 5’1″ is tall for a flower if you ask me. 

No longer fearful of the outcome, I sit beside it. It smells like marigolds and water. I listen. It’s a home for crickets. And it’s where I get my tomatoes these days.

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Dad In Missoula

In all honesty, whenever I hear that one of my parents needs my help, my initial reaction is anger and resentment. Anger for all the times I’ve been thrown in jail for being an “unruly” child, or thrown out on the streets for being a “slut”. Anger because my father abandoned us for a younger, prettier family. Resentment because Mom and Dad were both in denial that they would ever get old and need to be cared for. They never planned for this. Dad used to always tell us that when he was ready to die, he would go out into the woods, lay down and die.

Right now, I feel I deserve nothing but to be enveloped in my new baby, but the needs of my parents are around every one of his milestones.

I understand my anger towards my parents is an attempt to convince myself that my parents don’t deserve my help. Selfishly, I want to simply live my life with carefree ease. Who can blame me?

I call Dad in the hospital.

“I heard you fell,” I say.

“No, that’s not what happened”, he responds. “I was driving through Missoula, trying to get home. I had to stop to rest, and I happened to stop here, at Providence Hospital.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re being taken care of, Dad,” I reply, as my eyes well up with tears. He is thousands of miles from Missoula and hasn’t driven in years. It’s never fun or amusing to witness the frail confusion of someone you love.

“I guess I didn’t realize how tired I truly am,” he tells me.

I remember something I read by Abraham-Hicks, that suggested that the best thing you can do for a person who is not doing well is to envision them in his or her highest, most resilent, healthy state of being. I go to one of Dad’s many boxes of photos I’ve inherited to find a picture of him in his youth to meditate on. I open a box I’ve never opened before to find two journals. In them, my parents have recorded my actions and outfits for the first two years of my life. I read some of the entries. My anger lifts like a fog and my resentment melts away. In their writings, I clearly see how human they are. In their notes, they love immensely and they are flawed, just as we all do and are. 

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