Sunday, November 28, 2021

First Night of Hanukkah

First night of Hanukkah and I've seen several posts on Facebook saying, "Be the Light." Hanukkah is the festival of lights so that kind of makes sense. Here's my take on the phrase "Be the Light."

Be the light.

Be a beacon.

Be a path setter.

Be wild,

And Know when to be cautious.

Be smart,

And Know when to not overthink.

Be yourself,

And Know yourself,

Take care of yourself.

Be a caregiver,

And Know when you should step back.

Be the light.

Shine brightly,

Shine as long as you want to.

Light the way,

For yourself,

And others may or may not follow.

Be peaceful.

Be joyful.

Be hopeful.

Be kind.

Be the light.



Friday, November 26, 2021

Death Valley

Death Valley holds a special place in my heart.

Death Valley. Is where I fell in love. Or maybe I was already in love and Death Valley is where I realized it. Is there a difference?

In late 1988 I was living in San Francisco. I moved there in the summer and met a guy in the fall. I’d signed up to go on a group camping trip to Death Valley either over Christmas or New Year. I don’t remember which. Even though we’d only known each other a couple of months I decided to ask him if he wanted to go with me.

It turned out that Daeth Valley was one of his favorite places. He didn’t do much camping but he wanted to go. Everyone in the group thought we’d been together forever. A couple. Soulmates. When we got back I wrote a song, “The moon, the mountains, and you.”

Two years later we got married. Had a kid. Moved to Colorado. Had another kid. When we moved I had to give up my career. Slowly I built a new one. Somewhere along the line, around 10-12 years into the marriage, we started to grow apart. I’ve been asked several times why I stayed married, why I didn’t leave or ask him to leave. As with any relationship, it’s complicated. As much as I sometimes disliked him and he probably disliked me, I didn’t stop loving him. And maybe, just maybe, we could figure out how to make it work again. Fast forward to 2013. We had moved again but were renting the house so we could eventually go back. Job situations changed and he moved back. I didn’t. A few marriage therapy sessions later he asked for a divorce. Without a definite timeline it was too hard to work on it anymore.

I think I finally figured out why I stayed. I never forgot that Death Valley trip. The closeness. The excitement. Falling in love. The place. The time. The stars. The moon. The feeling that this was a special place. A sacred place The place where the next chapter of my life was beginning.

I’m going back to Death Valley soon. Once again, I’ll be camping with a group of strangers. This time I’ll be going solo but. I’m sure my ex will be with me in spirit. A younger version. The one I met in 1988. The one I married. And who knows, maybe I’ll write another song. 



Thanksgiving 2021

I drove, cycled, and hiked on Thanksgiving. And saw families, couples, and solo’ers like me.

Thanksgiving orphans,

Trying to avoid the families,

And well meaning people saying,

Happy Thanksgiving,

Happy Turkey Day.

And references to family, feast, and over eating.

No leftovers here.

Just another day,

Except couldn’t eat out,

And couldn’t last minute shop.

Tomorrow is called Black Friday..

For a Thanksgiving Orphan,

Today was Blaclk Thursday.

Why do people assume that everyone has a family,

A home.

That everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, 

By binging on food, family, and maybe football.

For some, 

Thanksgiving is one more holiday not celebrated,

One more holiday that reminds you,

You’re alone.

One more reminder that you’re the odd person out,

One more reminder that you don’t fit the social norm.

Thanksgiving orphans,


Mostly happy to be that way,

But a bit overwhelmed,

A bit embattled,

And a bit content.

Thankful for what they have,

Thankful for what they dream,

Thankful for so many things.

Counting their blessings,

Counting the minutes,

Until the holiday ends,

Families split apart once again,

And life returns to normal.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Can’t Sleep

I woke up at around 3:20 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep until I did a brain dump.

Can’t sleep

Woke up to pee

and couldn’t fall back asleep.

Thoughts pinging around my brain

like fire crackers.



Crack and fade.

Staccato phrases,

echo the latest news.

I envision a canyon,

Deepening, narrowing.

A path snaking it’s way through,

High walls the only other way out.

Will I ever reach the end?

Should I go back the way I came?

I sip some water,

And remind myself,

That the I in my head right now

isn’t me.

I’m awake because

the world is a scary place.

Cliffs and canyons,

Burnt trees, weather ravaged landscapes

Beauty mixed with destruction,

Order with chaos,



Sleepless nights,

Followed by the dawn

of another day.


All those times we said,

“Real men cry,”

Because boys thought crying was weak,

And they were supposed to be strong.

And now,

Men have learned to use tears,

to show innocence,


To get away with making a mistake.

How ironic that,

Men have complained forever,

About women using tears to get their way,

And now men use tears to get away with murder.

Is that what we call progress?

Pledge allegiance to a flag,

Instead of freedom, truth and justice.

There is no justice

in bigotry and hate.

There is no truth

in a closed mind.

There’s no freedom,

when you obsessively worship a symbol.

There is no peace

When assault weapons in open view

are accepted.

Easier to let them be than confront.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Dress the part,

Say the right words,

And you can get away with anything.

All my life I’ve felt like I didn’t belong

Like something was off

Like I was missing something.





All my life.

Alone even when surrounded by people.

Socially awkward.


The only place I was comfortable

Was on my own

Running, cycling, reading, writing 

Exploring a trail.

Conquering fears

Sometimes conquered by fear.



The realization that

Sometimes the journey defines 


Clarity at last.

Still awake.

The words keep coming.

It’s hard for my fingers to keep up,

To type them before they disappear.

I should be sleeping,

But I can’t,


Not until the thoughts

stop coming.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Hiking Day Musings

In my favorite post-hike hangout, a coffee shop. Unedited series of vignettes.

Hiking Day Musings


A young man in a black hoodie is taking down the artwork

In the coffee shop. 

They’re stacked and off he goes,

Converse sneakers and frayed blue jeans.

Blank walls are now staring at me

Pockmarked with the hangers that were left behind.


One slice of apple pie

In a to go container

So it can be savored,

Bite by bite

As slowly or quickly

As I want to eat it.

Bringing it back to my airbnb

Where there’s a refrigerator

In case

I decide

I need to enjoy it tomorrow


The coffee is in a paper cup

So it would stay hot

While I ate my fritatta, checked my email, 

And finally decided to go to the counter

And buy that slice of pie.


Bald guy in a white polo shirt,

On the phone,

Sunglasses perched on top of his head,

Laptop open

He was here working when I came in

And it looks like

He will be working when I leave.

I like his office.


Post hike fatigue

The adrenaline has gone

My body is tired,

My legs want to stretch.

I look at pictures on my phone

And smile

Laugh a little inside

At what a glorious day this has been

One of many.

Loving life.

Loving freedom

Loving my health

Loving exploring,

Meeting people on the trail,

Then settling by myself

To collect my thoughts

And process the beauty 

Of my life.

Feel a little entitled

But mostly I feel like

I am reaping what I sowed.

A content and fulfilling life

That I was earned

Sometimes the hard way.

Post hike reflections

As meaningful 

As the hike itself.


Hustle with a diamond hoodie,

Facial scruff,

And a ball cap,

Drinking coffee,

While his buddy eats a brownie,

And sips from a plastic cup,

Some kind of cold drink,

Topped with whipped cream.

Laptop versus tablet,

Study in contrasts,

Buddies all the same.


Trying to upload videos with the photos

A slow process

I suppose I could upload them separately

But what would be the fun of that?

I like it when uploading 

Is as challenging

As the hike.

Testing the limits of the WiFi.

Is easier than 

Testing the limits of my knees and calves.

@Prescott, AZ. Thank you, Wild Iris Coffehouse, for the yummy frittata. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Found her chill

I made a comment today about finding my chill and immediately thought, what a great line for a poem or song. I gave myself a writing prompt!

It took a while 

but she finally found her chill.

Thousands of miles, decisions, and moments of self doubt.

Hundreds of places and people, 

Dozens of years.

It seemed like millions of minutes of stress

transformed overnight 

into a flowing calm. 

A feeling of being in the right place,

no matter where she was.

A feeling of the right time,

no matter what the clock said.

A feeling of being in the right head space,

no matter what was going on.

A feeling that even the worst day, 

would be okay.

She found her chill,

and it warmed her heart.