Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MY Redemption Song.....

... sounds like the creaky chains of the porch swing
as my son and i snuggle in motion,
while watching the hummingbirds at the feeder
and the morning mist slowly lift off of the mountains.

it sounds like the screech owl,
crying out from its moonlit perch by the edge of the creek...
the shrill call echoing through the dark vale.

it sounds like familiar voices of family and friends...
milk and honey flowing from their lips,
a soothing balm of comforting words.

it sounds like the strains of a fiddle,
the tapping of feet,
the crackling of an evening fire...
laughter at dusk.

sometimes it is barely audible, yet still tangible...
felt, more than heard.
in the quietness, i can still detect the faint melody.

so as the morning mist loosens its nightly hold on these hills,
this blanket begins to relinquish its smothering grip on my heart...
and new stanzas are written and imprinted
on this fallible, hopeful human soul.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;--
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

-William Wordsworth

Thursday, June 12, 2008

After a day of cloud and wind and rain
Sometimes the setting sun breaks out again,
And touching all the darksome woods with light,
Smiles on the fields until they laugh and sing,
Then like a ruby from the horizon's ring,
Drops down into the night.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Travel and Transition.... these will be the theme words for my summer. And thus, I'm afraid I won't be blogging much. But I wanted to part with this photo of the sunset from my deck. It is quite representative of my journey right now, but with hope that the dawn will be even more glorious.
I may be able to stop in here and there. And you can also e-mail me through the address on my profile if you'd like to keep in touch that way. I will miss every one of you and wish you all a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Speaking of Brave....

The little kitten tops that list. I thought I'd give an update on her after all the comments from the last post. Colleen apparently had some uncanny insight, as she left a comment saying that it seemed the kitten was a metaphor for our throw-away society.

After examining her, the veterinarian concluded she had blunt head trauma, most likely from being thrown out a car window.... and she'd probably have permanent neurological damage. I must have happened upon her right after she had been thrown out, thus her dazed and disoriented condition. They kept her at the clinic to observe her for 2 days and then I picked her up and brought her home. She was at least partially blind, not responding to visual stimuli. She couldn't walk... she would walk in circles and tumble down on herself. And she was having seizures about every 10 minutes. I really didn't think there was much hope for her.

I kept her in a crate in our utility room (i'm not supposed to have indoor pets) and tried to make her comfortable, but knew I'd have to make a decision about euthanizing. If her condition stayed the same, she would have a miserable life. It pained me to watch her try to walk and topple over backwards in the effort.... and how she huddled in the corner with a look of terror in her eyes before each seizure. The only hopeful sign was her appetite. She was a little piggy, and thus I nicknamed her "Miss Piggy". She also had a loud motor and purred contentedly when I held her or pet her.

We had plans to go out of town for the weekend, and Fiddlegirl agreed to keep kitty for us. When I was driving her there, Miss Piggy had the worst seizure yet, and my heart sank. I worried about her the whole weekend and knew the decision I'd probably have to make when I returned.

But amazingly, when we returned, Fiddlegirl told me she had a seizure the first night, but had none since. And she was letting the kids hold her, and was walking better. I took her home and observed the same. She was still a little wobbly, but could walk without falling over. And over the next week, she continued to improve. She still couldn't see well, but she would find me by my voice. I'd let her out of the crate when I'd be outside, and she would trot underfoot, and run around and chase Sir Laughsalot. And the seizures had completely subsided. You wouldn't have been able to guess that she was the same little kitty that I found limp and lethargic on the side of the road. I could barely keep up with her newfound energy and playfulness..

We can't have inside pets, and I knew she needed to be inside because of the blindness. But it just so happened that a local animal rescue organization was having a pet adoption fair this past weekend and told me to bring her. So I did..... and to my heart's delight, a young married couple fell in love with her there, and adopted her on the spot.

A small miracle, that reminded me about hope.....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A breech in the dam.....

it was the kitten. it triggered the floodgates to open. i saw it lying on the side of the road, looking disoriented, and on the verge of getting run over.

it was early morning and i had just dropped my son off at school. i pulled over, a little haphazardly, and ran to get it before a car hit it. i picked it up, and its body went limp in my hands. its eyes were open, but not seeing. it was breathing, but it was a strained breathing.

what do i do? there was a vet's office on the way home, so i hurriedly drove there, not knowing if the kitten would make it, even that short distance. i brought it in, wrapped in a blanket, and asked what to do. "we can't look at it unless you are going to adopt it and pay all the medical expenses." what? it's hurt.... i couldn't have left it lying in the road to get hit.

"sorry", they said, "we can't do anything if it doesn't have an owner". i looked down at the lethargic kitten, with it's labored breathing. it was so tiny and pitiful. and then i felt it..... i felt it deep. i knew it had been shoved down for a long time. it came up in bits and pieces sometimes, but i was always able to push it back. i prided myself on my composure. i prided myself on being brave and strong.

but this little kitten suddenly triggered the floodwaters. all the loss, pain, sorrow, hurt..... it somehow became a symbol for that. and it happened right there in the middle of these strangers in a veterinary clinic. the saltwater trickled down just a little at first, but then came tumbling down in torrents. as hard as i tried, i couldn't close the floodgate.

"i'm sorry", i kept saying. "i don't normally do this." i could barely speak. i was just standing there at the counter, sobbing, and holding the almost lifeless kitten, with everyone staring at me. i think then they had sympathy, and agreed to look at it, if i'd sign a waiver giving permission to euthanize it if needed. "the vet doesn't like us to do this" they said, "but he's not here yet.... we'll see what we can do." they asked for all my contact info, and i had to repeat it several times for they couldn't understand me through my faltering voice.

i couldn't leave soon enough, and when i got in the car, i let the rest of the waters flow, until the dam had been thoroughly breeched. of all places, i thought to myself. i guess that's what i get for holding it in so long. i don't know how long i cried in my car..... i stayed there until my vision wasn't blurred anymore.

the sadness stayed with me all day. but i know i found the kitten for a reason. someone knows it's too much.... to be brave all the time.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oh my, oh my..... how time does fly!

It seems just weeks ago, I was watching this little, snaggle-toothed boy walk through the double doors, into his first year of school...... and feeling as if my heart were walking away from me.

This mama had a harder time transitioning to this life change than he did. I remember agonizing during the year leading up to school about the best way to educate him.... should I homeschool, put him in public school, find a private school? I wanted him to have the best possible start for his "official" education.

Now, his Kindergarten graduation is coming up next week, and I wonder how it came so soon. I'm grateful for his little, country school that gave him a great first year.

Just last week, I came with my camera and took all the kids' yearbook pictures...... and I saw in their faces and smiles, the results of a small, close-knit community school.

Yesterday, I gathered with other school moms and community members, and peeled apples, and baked apple dumplings and pies all day in the school cafeteria in preparation for the school's annual Ice Cream Social. Everyone knew each other, and the 9 hour day of baking didn't seem tedious in the least bit, with all the conversation, laughter, and shared work. Students came in and out to help.... they made signs, and decorated the school. Community, as it was meant to be. Education, as it was meant to be.... a joint effort between parents and teachers, and the local community.

And I ended my day.... and I will end this first school year.... with gratitude.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

feelin' the love......

I was loved on twice yesterday by two fellow bloggers. First, I received this awesome homemade citrus soap in the mail from Brandy, a gift to celebrate the opening of her new online Etsy shop. She trepidly contacted me to ask for my mailing address last week, not sure if I would give it to her. I assured her that I didn't mind, and that if I were to have a stalker, who better to have than a knitting, baking, soap-making mama who sends me free things in the mail. :) I encourage you to check her new shop out.... she has soap, cloth napkins, seeds, reusable bags, and felted goodies, with more to come. All are handmade.

Then, to add to the beauty of my day, I was contacted by L.L. Barkat, letting me know she put up this post about me. I clicked over and was moved to tears and extremely humbled by it. If that is all that ever came from my music, it would be enough.

So much love from this little blogging community of mine.... I never would have dreamt it when I put up my first post a little over a year and a half ago. Thank you, ladies... and thank ALL of you who have come into my life and moved me and encouraged me time and time again.

Friday, May 16, 2008


why did you knock,
but not enter?

why did you whisper in my ear,
knowing it would echo
as a shout in my heart?

why did you find me beautiful,
only to leave me ugly?

why did you come,
only to go?

you came,
my heart to accost....
i once was found, but now am lost.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Here in my head, language
Keeps making its tiny noises.

How can I hope to be friends
with the hard white stars

whose flaring and hissing
are not speech
but a pure radiance?

How can I hope to be friends
with the yawning spaces
between them

where nothing, ever, is
Tonight, at the edge of the

I stood very still, and looked
and tried to be empty of

What joy was it, that almost
found me?
What amiable peace?

Then it was over, the wind
roused up in the oak trees
behind me

and I fell back, easily.
Earth has a hundred
thousand pure contraltos--

even the distant night bird
as it talks threat, as it talks

over the cold, black fields.
Once, deep in the woods,

I found the white skull of a
and it was utterly silent--

and once a river otter, in a
steel trap,
and it too was utterly silent.

What can we do
but keep on breathing in and out,

modest and willing, and in
our places?
Listen, listen, I'm forever

Listen to the river, to the
hawk, to the hoof
to the mockingbird, to the

then I come up with a few
words, like a gift.
Even as now.

Even as the darkness has
remained the pure, deep
Even as the stars have
twirled a little, while I stood

looking up,
one hot sentence after

~Mary Oliver

Friday, May 09, 2008

You are my ship

that didn't come in,

sailing on the waves

of what might have been...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wordless Wednesday
"Boys Just Wanna Have Fun...."

(for more wordless wednesdays, go here)

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Don Shows His Hand........
THIS is why we can't get anything done about the devastation being caused by the coal industry in our state:

As you can see, our politicians in WV are mostly bought.... and not just our politicians, but our states' DEP. Despite all of this controversy, Spike Maynard is running for re-election. And on the Republican ticket, running unopposed, is Beth Walker, wife of the Vice President of Walker Machinery, the company that makes millions of dollars selling equipment for MTR sites.

And Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, who attacked the reporter in the video? He just told the Wall Street Journal that his goal for the upcoming year is to open a new mine every 17 days. Denny posted about it on our End MTR blog here. It's absolutely maddening...

Meanwhile, study after study is showing the ill-effects coal is having on people's health in the coalfields, how it is the major contributor to global warming, and how more and more mountains are being blown to smithereens to extract it. Our state is being raped daily. And when the Coal is gone, there will be nothing left. The hills that have sustained the mountain people here for generations will be no longer and WV residents will be left with nothing.

It's wrong on every level.....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Nature Art

(Taken on a Spring hike behind my house....)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Am I Fainting?

Hmm.... Four hours of intensive instruction each day, afternoon workshops, evening concerts, and late night jams. This low-key, homebody, mountainmama isn't used to that kind of schedule.

But the vibrant energy of the Dulcimer Week kept me going. I learned enough to keep me occupied for months and months to come..... which was exactly my goal. My wonderful instructor, Jeff Sebens (below), met us exactly where we were.... and taught in just the right way. He challenged us and took us to the next level on our instruments, but didn't give us so much new information that we became glassy-eyed and overwhelmed.

Of course, it didn't hurt that all our classes were held on the gorgeous Davis & Elkins College campus with its historic buildings and lush greenery. Our class was held in the Victorian Halliehurst building:

And this was our classroom... the parlor of Halliehurst, with its ornate fireplace, high ceilings, beautiful paintings, and old woodwork:

Spring was in full bloom and sights like this greeted me on the footpaths between classes and events:

Another added bonus was that my mom was one of the instructors, and we got to room together. We've never had a whole week together like that.

Good medicine, folks..... good medicine......

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Seneca Spring.....

This was just one of the many beautiful Spring sights I saw in my travels this past week. The mountain roadsides were lush with Redbud, Dogwood, Phlox, and many other blooming trees and wildflowers. These lovely trees happened to be at the base of Seneca Rocks.... majestic in every season.

I'll post soon about the Dulcimer retreat..... after I unpack and unwind from my intensive, but fun week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Strains from a dulcimer........

....will be flooding and surrounding my senses this week. I am off today to cash in my birthday/Christmas/Mother's day gift, wrapped up in one intensive week-long Dulcimer workshop.

I hope to come home next weekend no longer an 'advanced beginner'.... taking the step to the intermediate level.... woohoo! :) And Fiddlegirl and I, (above on Easter Sunday), will have some new repertoire.

Dulcimer is literally translated 'sweet melody'..... and it's haunting and sweet strains have been echoing through these ancient mountains since the first Scotch, Irish, and English settlers settled here. If you have a moment, stop over and read this beautiful poem from a post that a MySpace friend so kindly dedicated to me. Thank you, Little Pup.

See you next week!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


when i tried to sit down and write this last year, on the first anniversary, i couldn't.
the tears flowed so heavily that i couldn't even see the computer screen.
the words weren't ripe yet.... it was too soon.

in this season of quiet in my heart, where i have been trying to sort through some sadness in my life , the words have finally come.
i told your sister i would write about you. and now it's time.

when she called me that morning and told me, she was so calm.
i didn't believe her at first. but then i understood. i think we all knew it was coming.
all my childhood memories of us came flooding back....

the most prominent, when you really established a permanent place in my heart, was a time when we were sitting in my bedroom together.
i was crying because my big sister had locked her door and wouldn't let me come in and play with her and your sister.
i thought she was trying to steal my friends.
you put your arm around me, looked in my eyes, and said,
"don't worry, amy. no one will ever steal me away from you."
that's just how you were. even though you were younger than me, you wanted to be my protector.

we spent almost a decade together, trodding back and forth on the forest path that we had made to connect our farms.
one day, while playing in the hundreds of acres of woods, we stumbled upon our special place and we named it 'paradise'.

it was a little clearing in the woods, where water pooled beneath a small, trickling waterfall.
it was our secret spot. we gathered old flowers that people dumped at the back of the cemetery and placed them in the ground, and weaved them through tree branches.
we cleared the brush and thorns away. it was beautiful and magical to us. we spent almost every day there.

but when we were older, my family moved away. your family stayed.
our paradise got overgrown, and the thorns grew back.

we talked regularly, wrote letters, and visited. we grew up.
you grew into a tall, handsome, caring young man.
but we both struggled with inner turmoil and poor life choices in our later teen years.
during those years, i thought the best way to deal with my problems was to run from them.
i ran away from home, and ended up on your front porch once.
your family took me in, and provided comfort and reassurance. my parents knew i was safe there.

once again, you acted as my protector.
we spent long evenings on the couch, talking into the wee hours of the morning.
we talked about the realities of growing up, our disappointments, the bittersweetness of it all. we longed for our innocent, carefree days of childhood.

one morning, after a very late night, i awoke to hammering.... and found you outside, hammering a dent out of my car that had been there forever.
you wanted to surprise me before you left for work.
you tried to give me your hard-earned money during my stay, because you knew i had little.
you brought me gifts to cheer me up. you wanted to know i'd be okay.

eventually, i garnered the courage to return home. i was able to sort through my problems, heal, and take control of my life again.
but, dear alex, you weren't so lucky.
i'm not sure what the difference was.

i guess big boys don't cry.... they just turn reckless to hide the pain inside.
you fell into the oppression of that area where we grew up.
you turned to drugs.
and the next time i visited, i found you in a place that scared me deeply.
all i could do was plead with you and pray.

shortly after returning home from that last trip, i received news that you were in jail.
i wrote to you..... probably one of the longest letters ever.
and you wrote back, and sent me a picture of you and your family.
you said it was the only picture you had with you in jail, but you wanted me to have it.
you ALWAYS wanted to GIVE...... that was your true heart.
we wrote regularly during that year.
you wrote of your regrets... and your hopes and dreams for when you got out.
you were confident that you could reclaim your life, and i believed you.

those letters were our last regular correspondence. you got released early for good behavior.... and you started your own roofing business. you began carving out a life for yourself, and working to find inner peace. but you were never quite able to find it. but it wasn't drugs anymore.... it became speed. your dad warned you about your motorcycle, and your recklessness on it.
he even called my dad and voiced his fear for you.

and one evening, almost two years ago, your dad's fears were realized. a beautiful soul, taken too soon.

' i got the call today....
my childhood friend has gone away.
he took that ride that took his life...
friend, i hope you've found your paradise.'

Alex (1978-2006)

Rest in peace, Alex....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I finally told someone about you.
I said your name out loud.
I whispered it into the universe....
and I told my closest confidante.

It made us real.... not a figment of my imagination.
Not a secret to hide.
It felt good.

But when I got home, you were gone.
And it made me sad.

But now someone knows about you.
They know you came and perched on my windowsill,
even though it was only for a short while.
They know that somehow you made me believe that I'll fly again...
that I may be able to find my song again.
And that's how I know you were real.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The best pick-up line, EVER!
or 'How you know you're raising a country boy'......

Sir Laughsalot, my son, takes great pride in our compost pile. He has put himself in charge of emptying the big yogurt container that I use for kitchen scraps.... and if he catches me trying to throw any organic matter in the trash can, he intercedes, saying in an exacerbated voice, "Mommy! You can COMPOST that!!!"

He spends hours gathering grass, pine needles, leaves.... and adds them to the pile and stirs it faithfully with a big stick.

Sir Laughsalot also loves waitresses. Everywhere we eat, he befriends the waitresses with his charming good-looks and friendly banter. Recently, one young, friendly waitress particularly caught his eye.... and when she sat down at the counter to take a lunch break, he saddled up next to her...leaned in close.... smiled, and said with all sincerity, "You wanna share my compost?"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wordless Wednesday
"Children and Nature"...

"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life."
-Charlotte Mason

(A great article on what has been termed 'Nature Deficit Disorder' in kids is here..... a worthwhile read, especially for parents and educators. For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Wine and Secrets...........

..... both poured forth at the table. The corner table with the scent of weeping cherry tree blossoms tinging the air, Ray LaMontagne playing on the laptop... that table in our little, rented room became our confession box.

Whispering into the late evening hours... laughing... sharing our hearts. Nourishment for our aching and weary souls. Burdens revealed and lifted for a sweet, short while.

After being apart for nearly a year and a half, a weekend of bliss with my sister........

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

"I think the extent to which I have any balance at all, any mental balance, is because of being a farm kid and being raised in those isolated rural areas."
- James E. Jones

(more wordless wednesdays here.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Turn Off the Lights!!!

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., local time, tonight for Earth Hour, to show solidarity and commitment towards Energy Conservation. I will take it one step further and leave electronics and lights off all evening and light our oil lamps.

Also, on another note, but related to energy, our Stop Mountaintop Removal Blog has moved to its own domain. The new address is EndMTR.com. Denny has done an excellent job setting up the new site and we also have several new co-authors, including Shirley Stewart Burns, author of 'Bringing Down the Mountains'. Check in regularly for updates, related issues, and action steps.

Let's send a message tonight.....

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Colors Of Easter....

Resurrection Day......

My alarm woke me at 5:15, as I was in our church's Easter play this year and we were performing it during the Sunrise Service. I got up in the pre-dawn light and shuffled about quietly, so as not to awake my other two sleeping beauties. It was a quiet drive to church and Easter morning dawned gloriously....albeit being quite chilly. It was a 'big sky' day, as I call them here in the mountains..... when the skies are clear and vast, with just specklings of clouds.

Easter Sunday is always very special for me, even more so than Christmas. The hope and celebration resonate in me. The celebration and joy that came after 3 days of darkness.... three days of hopelessness and despair.... deadness... when Jesus' followers thought the Light had gone away forever.... not quite believing His promise that He would rise from the dead.

As one who has struggled with depression in her life, the hope that my Saviour brings....the promise that there will always be a Resurrection morning, is what keeps rivers of Life flowing in my heart and soul. Despite dark times and times of sadness, I have always been a relentlessly optimistic, hopeful person and see beauty in the journey, even during the dark times. And I'm always reminded of that on Easter morning. Colors are more vibrant, light seems brighter, and hope springs eternal, when you view the world in light of the resurrection.

I hope all of you had as beautiful a Resurrection Day as I....

Thursday, March 20, 2008


My trail of tears,
where did it start?
I follow it like bread crumbs,
that lead back to my heart.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fire..... Ice

Warmth.... Cold

Light.... Dark

If our fingertips touched, would mine freeze? Or would yours melt?

Would your breath suck all the warmth from my bones? Or could mine ignite the tiny ember that is still ablaze in your heart?

Inhale...... I'll breathe on you.....

Exhale...... You breathe on me.....

I want to see.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"It is of the soul, and of the soul alone, that we can say with supreme truth that 'BEING' necessarily means 'being on the way'...."
-Gabriel Marcel

( photo taken on an appalachian backroad in fall.... and i will be taking a week or so off from blogdom to spend some much needed quiet time with my soul and heart, away from the distraction of the computer. much love, friends...... )

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Saturday night and the moon is out
I wanna head on over to the Twist and Shout
Find a two-step Partner and a cajun beat
When it lifts me up, I'm gonna find my feet
Out in the middle of a big dance floor
When I hear that fiddle wanna beg for more..
-Mary Chapin Carpenter

Fiddlegirl asked me to help play for a square dance a couple of weeks ago at the local Senior Center. As there's not a whole lot going on most Saturdays and I enjoy playing (and dancing), I obliged her. I'm telling you, those retirees know how to have a good time.... they had more energy than me! When I would take a break from playing to dance, they wouldn't let me sit any dances out, even when I was exhausted. I'd get grabbed back up on the dance floor.

And since our hubbies wouldn't dance, Fiddlegirl and I waltzed together. I made her be the guy. :) It was a fun night.... a perfect remedy for winter blahs, which I think we all had.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

When I took my son to his first day of Kindergarten this past fall, we walked past the school flower beds and I noticed how overgrown they were. I could tell that someone had put a lot of effort into them at some point, but they had been sadly neglected for quite a while. "What a waste", I thought.

I knew I wanted to volunteer in some means at the school, so I asked about the flower gardens. Apparently, a former teacher had started them with her students.... but she had since retired and no one else had continued her work. They told me how she loved flowers and would take the kids on spring wildflower walks and drives, and try to instill in them the wonder of nature, and the excitement of seeing the first spring blooms pop up.

I knew then what my task would be during the fall. I started coming on warm afternoons and tried to sort through what were weeds and what were flowers. When you aren't the one that did the planting, and everything is done blooming and beginning to turn brown, it can be hard to decipher what's what. So I did my best to walk delicately amongst the beds, and took my time deciding what needed to be pulled out, what was choking the flowers..... and what should stay.

And my reward came when I picked my son up from school last week..... when I saw these first delicate little blooms had emerged from the ground. I felt relieved that there was still life in the garden.... that I got to it in time, before the weeds had done irreversible damage.

I still have a ways to go, as winter came a little too quickly. There are several more beds I haven't gotten to yet. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy this little section of cleared bed, where sunshine can now hit and where there is enough room for the flowers that were so lovingly planted by an involved teacher, to breathe and come forth.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ani lyrics of the day:

I'm okay
if you get me at a good angle
and you're okay
in that sort of light
and we don't look
like pages from a magazine
but that's all right
that's all right

I crashed your pickup truck
and then I had to drive it back home
I was crying
I was so scared
of what you would do
of what you would say
but you just started laughing
so I started laughing along
saying, it looks a little rough
but it runs okay
it looks a little rough
but it runs good anyway

we get a little further from perfection
each year on the road
I guess that's what they call character
I guess that's just the way it goes
better to be dusty than polished
like some store window mannequin
why don't you touch me where I'm rusty
let me stain your hands

when you're pretty as a picture
they pound down your door
but I've been offered love
in two dimensions before
and I know that it's not all
it's made out to be
let's show them how it's done
let's do it all imperfectly

Friday, February 22, 2008


when i need to go to town, i go out of my way to drive past your farm..... even though it is not 'on the way'. as i crest the hill, i look down into the valley, and see the yellow farmhouse sitting there with smoke coming out of the chimney, and i imagine you as a boy, running through the yard, playing in the creek.

since you died when i was young, this is my living diary of your life... being able to walk the hills where you walked..... this is how i am coming to know you.... this is how i cling to you.

i have pictures of you asleep on our couch, with me curled up on your chest. my parents always told me how proud you were of me and my sisters.... how much you adored us. i remember you taking me to Druthers when i would visit, for your morning coffee with all the other retirees. we both would order biscuits and gravy, our shared favorite.... and you would brag of all my accomplishments to your friends. i remember proudly sitting by your side, driving around town, in your blue pick-up truck.

sometimes i get out the cards i made for you while you were in the hospital, dying from a disease you should never have had. i don't remember making them, but my mom saved them. i hope my scribbly handwriting and rainbows cheered you a little... or was it a bittersweet offering, reminding you what you had to leave behind? i didn't get to go to your funeral.... my parents thought i was too young, and your neighbor babysat me. she tried to comfort me by giving me kool-aid, and candy.... and she answered all my 7 year old questions about where you were going as best she could.

now that i am in your homeland, i see your eyes everywhere i go.... they are my eyes, too.... the most distinct physical feature that i inherited from you. and i tell my memories of you to my son, as we drive past your homeplace.... and when we frolic in the creek by your brother's house. i tell him, "this is where your great-grandfather played.... this is the house he helped build with his own hands..... he would have adored you". and i watch the grin come over my son's face as he hears those words.... and i know you are still here with me because of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In anticipation of the lunar eclipse....

sometimes, at night... alone in my bed....thoughts arise and get too big for my head...

the moon shines in and beckons me, saying, 'come, and keep me company'...

so i rise and go out alone in the dark...there's enough room out there for the longings in my heart..... the endless thoughts and possibilities.... yes, there's room for them all, out in the night breeze....

just the moon for my company... lingering thoughts surrounding me.... dreams and visions beckoning me.... when it's just the moon and me.

(the lunar eclipse starts tonight around 9 p.m... there won't be another one like this until 2010.....)

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm Waiting .......

Checking the mail......

in anticipation of this....

I love the people I have met in this blogging community of mine. There are so many wonderful, creative souls. One being L.L. Barkat.... and I couldn't be happier for her as her new book is arriving within the next couple of weeks. I am anxiously awaiting its arrival and my heart is eager for the revelations in it.

Great reviews are already coming in, such as these:

"Stone Crossings walks the reader through the foggy landscapes of life, arriving at subtle moments of true grace. Barkat's courageous, unblinking honesty is a gift, a gift offered in gentle, delicate, literary prose." (Don Everts, author of Jesus with Dirty Feet and God in the Flesh)

"With a storyteller's charm and a Bible teacher's grit, L. L. Barkat weaves memoir, humor and spiritual insight together into a satisfying read. She challenges us to open our eyes anew to the amazing graces God lavishes upon us every day, in ordinary and surprising ways." (Edward Gilbreath, author of Reconciliation Blues)

And there is a party going on here, at her bookclub site, as we all await the arrival. This post is part of the celebration. If you'd like to participate in the "Waiting for Stone Crossings" challenge, go to the Bookclub Wiki and you can post your own 'waiting' picture. It's a great opportunity for us to give a boost to a fellow blogger's creative endeavors. You can also contact L.L. through her blog here, or contact me for more info on how to participate.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

love is...... a father who gets up in the middle of the night when his little girl is puking her guts out, and sits with her in his easy chair, holding the bowl, rocking, and whispering words of comfort in her little ears.... who lends a nonjudgmental and consoling ear when she comes to him devastated and heartbroken because of mistakes she has made and poor choices that have left her in desperation.

love is.... a mother who sews little dresses for her daughter's dolls, who snuggles and reads to her even though she has lots of other things to be doing, who praises every accomplishment, no matter how small..... who's there in the room when her daughter is giving birth for the first time to lend encouragement and support.

love is..... a son that wakes up every morning and greets his parents with a big smile and so much excitement for the day, that he can hardly contain it.... who can change his mom's frown to a fit of laughter in a millisecond with something he says..... who tells his mom he loves her and is sorry for upsetting her, even though it was she who unduly lost her temper with him....who loves to serve his mom breakfast in bed on saturday mornings.

love is ...... a friend who shares coffee, laughter, and tears with you.... who 'gets' you like no one else....who tells you 'leave your son here and go home and rest for the day' when you walk to her house sobbing when life circumstances feel like they are too much to bear... someone you know your deepest secrets will always be safe with.

love is.... a God that stoops down to my weaknesses and draws me up to Him and invites me to dance with Him.... who never turns His back on me, even when I turn my back on Him..... who loves me so much that at times, I feel my heart will burst for the knowledge of it.... who rescued me from myself... and who never fails to paint a glorious sunrise or sunset over my mountains just for me.

" And now these three remain: Faith, Hope , and Love... but the greatest of these is Love."

-1 Corinthians 13:13

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...
'Waiting for Spring'

(Sorry, this will be a repeat for some of my long-time readers. For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

For Christianne....

Cloths of Heaven...

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

-W.B. Yeats

Friday, February 08, 2008

when i was young, i believed in fairy tales... innocence was my guide.
but now fairy tales don't fit into my grown-up world....
and my innocence got left behind.

so now anger and hurt are my guide.... and i don't want you inside.
i can make it on my own.... so just leave me alone.

and you wonder why i can't accept your love?
well, i know what love is.
it's broken promises..... bruises.... and fear.....

so now anger and hurt are my guide.... and i don't want you inside.
i'm ten years old..... i can make it on my own.

but before i go to sleep tonight.....
before you turn off my light...
will you sit here beside my bed,
and read me one more fairy tale?

( a song i wrote about denise)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

( This is my post in support of Blogging for Appalachia week.... a challenge issued by Outdoor Bloggers Summit , encouraging people to post about Mountaintop Removal Mining this week. Even though I post regularly about this issue, I wanted to participate as a show of support. The following is a Letter to the Editor I submitted in September to local papers.)

Dear Editor,

In the midst of our beautiful West Virginia mountains, there is a wolf in sheep's clothing. This wolf touts what a great thing he is for our state, how we wouldn't be able to survive without him. And he is on the prowl......

This wolf is King Coal. For over a century, Coal Companies have been making billions of dollars by extracting coal from our mountains, while West Virginia's people remain the second poorest in the nation. And now Coal Companies have found an even MORE profitable way to mine coal, that basically takes the coal miner out of the picture. This process is called Mountaintop Removal Mining.

Everyday in our state, three million pounds of explosives are used to literally blow the tops off of mountains to get to the coal seams below. So far, over 470 of our ancient mountains have been destroyed. All of the debris is then dumped into the valleys and streams below, so far burying over 1200 miles of streams. And now, with Governor Manchin's announcement that he wants to expand coal operations to make WV a coal-based economy and build 10 coal-to-liquid plants, Mountaintop Removal practices will continue to expand despite the fact that mountaintop removal accounted for less than 5% of US coal production as of 2001. According to a report from the US Geologic Survey in 2000, the Appalachian coal basin will not continue providing coal for much longer.

This is a very short-sighted energy goal, leaving WV's landscape devastated for short-term energy needs for the rest of the country. What does this mean for the residents of Appalachia's coalfields? So far, it has meant catastrophic flooding from the burying and re-routing of streams, the destruction of the mountains that their ancestors have lived in for generations, and contaminated drinking water from leaking toxic sludge dams. Impoundments are notoriously leaky, contaminating drinking water supplies in many communities, and are also known to fail completely. A sludge dam breach in Martin County, KY, in 2000, sent more than 300 million gallons of toxic coal sludge into tributaries of the Big Sandy, causing what the EPA called, “The biggest environmental disaster ever east of the Mississippi."

So far, Governor Manchin and Senator Byrd have turned a deaf ear to the residents of the coalfields, who have been crying out, "Our children are sick, our water is poisoned, and our mountains are no longer there!" Our politicians are only hearing the voice of Coal and its money. Mountaintop Mining is devastating Appalachia and no one knows or cares. It's time to speak up and help our fellow West Virginians. Call your representative and urge him/her to support the Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 2169). This Act is necessary to protect clean drinking water for many of our nation’s cities and to protect the quality of life for Appalachian coalfield residents. You can go to ilovemountains.org and 700mountains.org to find out more.

"I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength......"
But what if there are no more hills to look up to?

(Sidenote: You can scroll down to Monday's post, to access the ever-growing list of who else is participating)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

"The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around... It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, Like noises in a swound!"

- Samuel Coleridge

(more wordless wednesdays here...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

A couple of Monday tidbits....

It's a drop in the bucket...... but it's a start! Too bad our state's EPA didn't take charge and do something about the 4500 violations, so that the money would have benefited our state.... where the damage was done.


Remember, this week is Blogging for Appalachia week.... a challenge started by Denny and the Outdoor Bloggers Summit, to encourage people to post about Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. Posts are starting to come in, even internationally. I am going to start a link list here, so remember to let me know if you participate. If you'd like to know more about MTR coal mining, you can click on that label on this post, or go to "Stop Mountaintop Removal" under my links list. Thanks all!

Who's participating:
7. Colin-Life....a UK blog

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oh, the weather outside is frightful..........

The big picture...

And just for sh**s and giggles... (pun intended)

This is what greeted us yesterday morning as we awoke. I ventured outside just long enough to take some pics, but as you can see, I had to watch my step. :) We'll be staying inside and cozying up next to the woodstove this weekend.....

Two things I wanted to pass along, though: First, a friend of mine just started a new blog. She has her first post up, so if you get a chance, click over and welcome her to the blogging world.

Second, The Outdoor Bloggers Summit is declaring next week, 'Blogging for Appalachia' week, and is encouraging people to blog about Mountaintop Removal. I will be participating and encourage any of you who may be up to the task, to also post about it. If you do, let me know and I will link to it. It has the potential to reach thousands if we all do it.
Stay warm, everyone......

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blogging For the Mountains.........

A very exciting project is in the works, folks! As you all know, I am very passionate about putting an end to the destructive practice of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. I have to temper my posts about it, so that I don't drive all my readers away. :)

Well, in the process of blogging about MTR issues and action steps, I have connected with some other bloggers who are spreading the word, including Denny, over at Backwoods Drifter. He is just as passionate about ending MTR as I am, and some lively discussions have been going on over at his site.

In the same conundrum as I about the topic being somewhat all-consuming, he is beginning a blog entirely devoted to MTR awareness, issues, and action steps and has invited me to be a contributing author, along with another blogger. The link is in my sidebar: 'Stop Mountaintop Removal Blog'. I invite you to stop over and tell Denny 'Hi', and continue to check in regularly to see what is going on in the fight against the destruction of our mountains. I am sure more lively discussions will be happening and I am excited that the word is spreading and people are uniting against this atrocity.

"A strand of three cords is not easily broken....."

(Oh, and just a side-note... to get an idea about how bad the Coal propaganda is in our mountains, go to This post by Denny. It's about these ridiculous commercials that Walker Machinery (which supplies the big machinery for MTR sites) has out. )