On This Day

11 months, 2 weeks ago, I was trudging through the day-to-day like an elephant on two legs in an animated film.  I was full with pregnancy, with baby, aches and pains, in bladder, daily chaos, and exhaustion.  I was in some sort of suspended stasis; neither did I want to be pregnant any longer nor did I want the onslaught of labor and care of a newborn.

Thanks to the equally annoying, nostalgic, and awe-inspiring features of technological devices and their applications, I can see last week, this week, today in tidy little boxes of unasked-for updates.  That me has tired eyes, a wan smile, the ruddy mask of pregnancy fingering its way across my face.  Except for the dropped weight, that me hasn’t changed much in the last near year.

And yet, looking at that me, it seems like another life.

Looking at this other life in my arms, I feel like she’s just arrived and yet, that other, older me in the photos is saying she’s been here for eons.

For the growing she’s done, I’ve done.  For the countless hours of lost sleep, the endless ribbon of days and nights spooled out and folded in and around each other.

It’s time to celebrate her first year of life, but she still feels brand new to me.  How has this time elapsed without my say so?  For all the holding and staring and loving, I couldn’t hold her trapped in time with my gaze.

But if I stay focused on her in this day, all the others, past and present, will fall away.

The Music of the Morning

The distant beep beep beep of a backing-up garbage truck
Residual rivulets of rain on the roof
Ringing in my ears

A Benedictine monk was told to repeat a Psalm over and over in his head
When it was all he could hear, he asked his superior what then.
Repeat it until you become it.

Without the outside distractions of beeping and running water,
the ringing becomes all consuming.
How can I turn down the dissonance and resonate with the truth?



The Simple Things ARE the Things

A toasty bagel oozing cream cheese

A crinkly wrapper compressed solidly in your fist

Sun light streaming

Fears, panic, stress receding

From a simple soul baring followed by an authentic affirmation

Jennifer Butler Basile

Jennifer Butler Basile

The joy and light of crisp fall leaves all around me

Radiance enters my soul and sings


The bounce in the step
the joy bubbling up and over
through words, demeanor, joie de vivre

The hearty laugh
blossoming at the core, rolling out in waves
infectious, contagious, sanctifying – us

The conscious breath
undulating and growing with each notice
the physical embodiment of our existence

It fills us –
if we watch for it
if we train our eyes with a gentle gaze
if we open our heart to the gifts around us

It imbues us with a calming peace
and a loving embrace

We can all glide through life with a little grace

Smash the Taskmaster

I will not feel guilty for doing what the Spirit moves me to at any given time.
I will revel in the mindless work of plucking pine needles from fingers of moss.
I will lose myself in the monotony.
I will let my mind drift along meandering paths –

    not to the should’ve, could’ve, would’ves.

I will write for the pleasure of it,

    not the drudgery.

I will not let unfinished business ruin the relish of the deal on the table.

There is no sense in feeding our souls if we are constantly counting calories.


One Blessed Moment


A mail truck swinging in ahead of you as you swoop down a hill.

A child vomiting on you as you’re about to walk out the door.

Sometimes the universe conspires not against you, but for you.

Saving you from the speeding ticket that lay in wait just beyond the mail truck.

Forcing you to stay home and not only soothe your child, but cleanse yourself of the worries of the day.

When your world is spinning at an alarming rate, there is no room for error.

But certain things cannot be ignored;

Course must be altered –


if only for one blessed moment.right on time delivery


Reading the Leaves


Tea leaves swirling

Pulling to the middle,

metal flakes drawn magnetically

Center spinning,


with each revolution

gathering more to its core


Mind numbing

Eye opening


Soak a Single Moment


Tart and sweet,

warmth running down my middle.

The cricket click of a processor.

The whine of refrigeration.

The wave of radiation shimmering in the shadow box of mullions.

No matter where I am, I can find the glow of the sun.

It and I travel all over, and yet, connect –

if I look, if I feel, if I stop to soak it in.

Sometimes the grandest thing to be done

is to do nothing but soak in the sun.



Some mechanical hum
the lonesome wail of a railway train
the cyclical sound of rain on window

The acrid smell of heat coming up
The warmth
as it soaks through my sweater
spreading from limb to limb

An upside down paint-by-number
with a hidden smiley face
Drink from that spring-fed well
that defies gravity

And go about your day

Lowest Common Denominator

We’re taught to see the big picture.  The interrelationship of all things.  This keeps us all on the same page, united in our humanity, celebrating our differences in their similarities.  It helps us make meaning and induces awe.  I get it.  I value it.

But this mindset is antithetical to a ‘one day at a time’ mentality; a live in the moment attitude; that ever-present push for mindfulness.

Especially for an anxiety-ridden person such as myself.

How can I not ‘sweat the small stuff’, when it adds up to a whole mess of stuff?  Each tiny bit of tedium I must attend to throughout the day fills up the entire day.  I cannot shut off the mechanism in my mind that fits each peg into its hole in the mosaic of my life.

X leads to Y then to Z and every consonant clamors in dissonance.  I can’t hear the letter for the alphabet.

I’ll always be an English major, though I graduated a number of years ago.  I’ll always be a book reviewer.  An English/Language Arts teacher.  A writer.  A critical reader.  A literary theorist.  All this is type-set into my skin.  I eat, sleep, and breathe words, letters; their combinations, their phraseology.

I am forever searching for ways to form patterns, find themes, stack layer upon layer of meaning.

But what about when I need to reduce?  To distill an idea down to its purest form?  Base.  Primitive.  The smallest atom of an idea.  I need to reverse operations.  How do I learn to do that?

“The proper, wise balancing
of one’s whole life may depend upon the
feasibility of a cup of tea at an unusual hour.”
― Arnold Bennett, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

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