Clouds Above and Below

Traveling by car toward Indianapolis today at 75 miles an hour, I rolled down the window in an attempt to capture the softness of the hues.  Indiana’s soil and even the trees, maybe because of mineral content, maybe because of the mist and cloud cover, but most likely a combination of all the elements, were mauve.


Color has never had such a profound effect on me as this Spring.


From the plane, above the very clouds that rained down on us on the ground, another type of landscape, luminosity that woke me from a snooze.  Today involved high speeds and soft lands.


A World Of Color


This dragging, colorless winter, coupled with months of certification studies in Esoteric Healing have left me panting at the vibrancy of Spring.


While studying in a waiting car, brushstrokes of pink sing seductive songs of whimsy.


Flirting April trees dance on a soft stage of green, all moving toward a grand finale.


Buttercups burst through the fleshy refuse of the Magnolia, a melange that stopped me in my tracks.

IMG_4472Posing for Constance McCloy in Okemos, Michigan, where we received our certifications in Esoteric healing.  Hallelujuh, the winter is officially over, even though there’s still a chill in the air.

A Day Late, A Magnolia Short


Had my sister Gretchen lived, she would have been fifty eight years old yesterday, April 18th.  Today at the New York Botanical Gardens, I attempted to capture her in the same genus of tree we planted in her memory: the Magnoliaceae.


She was grand and strong with a tender soul.  As my mother would say, life threw her for a loop.


Majestic as a Magnolia, she was as messy as the tree could be: one minute in fleshy glory, the next, petals covering the ground with banana peel slickness.


A fleeting beauty in the shortest season, we love and miss you, Gretchen.

Looking Through another Lens

IMG_4097The Eternal City

With all the killing that continues to be practiced, civilization has managed to last a miraculously long time.  As my mother would say, “Wonders never cease.”

  With the horror at the Boston Marathon, mankind and his senseless destruction has hit another low.  And that’s piled on top of the Newtown massacre, on top of too many tragedies to bear.  Every moment of every life, we make choices.  It comes down to whether we choose to create or destroy.  Why not fund the will to live peacefully and respectfully for every person, animal, plant, the earth that gives us our daily sustenance, as if they all deserve to be lovingly cultivated and to thrive with equal importance.

IMG_4098This magnificent world deserves better.


Mud Wrestling With God

IMG_2092Fairy Glen, The isle of Sky


Today, a conversation triggered the face and phrase of a woman I knew years ago.  ‘Clear as a bell,’ as my mother would say, in my mind’s eye, there she was before me: late 60’s, classicly beautiful, a natural-blonde- in-navy-blue-stylish, and recently retired.

She had been an airline stewardess for forty years, was most proud to be one of the activists that overturned restrictions based on gender, looks, height and weight: those  who were qualified to perform that job or not.   Because of her efforts, the industry is served by more than just a few people’s idea of perfect beauty.  For many passengers of today, diversity is a given.  But it did not used to be true.

In our first conversation, she explained that her current activity was ‘mud wrestling with God’.  Until today, I had no clue what that meant.  I thought I did, but at this stage in life, where all lenses are colored by the importance of how I spend time, whom I love, where I give, the care I take within and without, only now do I think I know what she meant.  And it is humbling.

The Life and Death of Spring






Walking through Central Park never smelled sweeter than today.  The promise of new life was everywhere: in the lovers and sunbathers, in the tinkling laughter of children,  in the pink blossoms, and the bluest sky.

And yet where my mind went was to a passage from a novel, The Last Life, by Claire Massud.

It was April when I read the book, and I was in the village of Menerbes, in Provence, not far from where the story is set.  A translpanted Algerian family owns a Mediterranean resort for the well to do French.  On a perfectly potent Spring day, the teenage protagonist’s father gets in his car, drives to a deserted road and after sitting alone, feeling the air and smelling new life all around him, takes his own life.  What I remember was that the narrator thought Spring was too beautiful and promising for her father to bear.

  The morning I read that, I missed breakfast at the house where I was staying.  Instead I stayed in bed reading and listening dreamily to the sound of a visitor’s voice coming from the kitchen.  When I heard him leave, I ventured down for coffee and to tell my hostess about that  poignant passage.  For a few seconds, she looked at me as if I’d slapped her.  Then she began to speak.  The local policeman of the village who’d just left had dropped in for much needed  solace.  Unsure he could stand to do his job another day, he told her he had just cut down an older couple from a tree in their orchard.  They simultaneously hung themselves that very morning.  “Suicide is most rampant in the Spring,” he said.


No matter how hard I try to understand wanting to leave this world, especially when everything else is coming to life, the only thing that makes a flicker of sense to me is if it’s because Spring, so  full of earnest assurance, is always fleeting before our eyes.

The Tattooed Cerebellum


Last Spring, Ron Canal

Ron is one of my closest friends, the center of a core group of friends that have been closely involved for a long time, through all kinds of fun and terrible events.  We hadn’t spoken for a few weeks and I called him today.

“Remember me?” I said.

“How could I forget?”  Ron asked.

“Not if I can help it.”

“Are you kidding?  You’re tatooed on my cerebellum.”

“How do you know about the cerebellum,” I asked.

“I know some stuff.”

“I know it from doing energy work,” I said, “what’s your excuse?”  FYI, the cerebellum is about motor skills mainly, and the fear and pleasure response: not memory.

“I learned some stuff in Texas,” he said, referring to his homestate.  “People in Texas have cerebellums.”

“Oh, I didn’t know.”  I said.  To all my Texan friends, that I didn’t mean but thought it was funny.

Stay tuned for more from Ron Canal and his relationship to shoes.  But only after I get the nerve to go through a history of photos that involve him.

At Larry Selman’s Memorial



Do you remember Larry?

I will never forget him and neither will thousands of others.

In the last thirty five years, if you spent any time in the west village on a day above 25 degrees, you are likely to have crossed paths with Larry.  He is the subject of the  short documentary, an Academy Award nominee in 2002, The Collector of Bedford Street, by Alice Elliott.  The film took him all over the world with the help of his dear friends, and he received a Caring Award, shared with Colin Powell in 2009.  He was a beloved neighbor to many and last night was his memorial.  He died this past January at seventy years old.

Larry spent most of his time collecting money for his favorite charities, usually one dollar at a time.  Day after day, year after year, the last few with an attendant at his wheelchair side, he called out to passer-bys and caught them coming and going.  “Can I talk to you for a minute?” he said, repeatedly in a loud and high pitched command.  Only if one was closed down, could Larry be ignored.

The first  time he asked me for money, I gave him a dollar.  Five minutes later, I walked by again and he asked for more, with no recollection of our previous exchange.  In a hurry, I ignored him.  And I saw lots of people ignore or insult him.  It pains me to admit this.  But it didn’t take long to come around and understand what this developmentally disabled man was doing for the world: taking care.

A man who spoke last night said  that he would be rich if it weren’t for Larry.  Others shared that they kept one dollar bills in their pockets so that he wouldn’t see any bigger denominations but those very people gave frequently: money and their absolute support.

When his beloved uncle died, Larry’s independence and financial security were gone.  All his giving came back in the form of a trust that was developed and supported by about one hundred people in the neighborhood.  Life was not easy for him but it was charmed, especially toward the end.  Larry possessed a capacity for great love and he attracted the love of many who came to know him.  His kind actions created a community of supporters, neighbors who might not otherwise know each other, all who united for the good of Larry’s vast humanity.  He was a teacher of goodness and it fills me with poignancy to know that in a very small way, I took my lessons from him and gave to his charities and his personal trust.

Dear Readers and Followers:


Photo by Kathy Rabbers, Location: Rome

First of all, thank you very much for your presence on this blog.  Without you, there would be no reason.

Some of you have reported that when you click to FOLLOW me, you don’t get emails announcing my posts.  The best I can figure out is that there is a confirmation step and it might be going to your spam.  So please look out for it and together we can end this internet reign of confusion and I can find my way out of this tunnel and stop being so wigged out!


red willow

Photo credit: Ron Canal, Location: Woodstock, The Perl’s