Thursday, January 28, 2010

There are some days that sadness creeps in, no matter how diligent I am to stuff the cracks and close the doors and shutter the windows. The sadness I feel right now, however, is not mine. It is Uma's, who lost her father this week. It is Debbie's, who must put back on the armor. It is a sadness born of the helplessness I feel when people close to me hurt and there is nothing I can do but say, 'I'm here.'

Sadness is such an odd emotion. I tell my students the word is too ambiguous, too overused. It can mean anything from a general discomfort to a deep grief that threatens to swallow one whole. Pick a word that really means what you feel, I tell them. Yet I cannot find that word. I am troubled. Distressed. Sorrowful.

But not pitying. To feel pity would be to dismiss the incredible strength of these two women. My sorrow is tempered by awe, certainly; respect, always. And thankfulness. Because I have the privilege to be acquainted with them and to witness their incredible grace in the face of their pain, my love of the human spirit we posses is reaffirmed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


My white car is lost under the inches of snow falling outside. A real snow, not one of those dustings we've grown accustomed to here in the far northwestern corner of New Mexico. The weather forecasts promise this is only the beginning. I say, bring it on!

I am greatly appreciating the huge picture window in my front room today. It provides an excellent and gorgeous view of the happenings outside. And, it's clean, unlike the back patio doors that are decorated with muddy pawprints.

In the backyard everything is white, which brings out the brilliance of our visiting Woodpecker. He's a hefty fellow, with beautiful black stripes on his tawny wings. His chest has black spots on a light background, and he sports a flashly crimson cap. He is so perfectly dressed he could strut the red carpet anytime.

He has been hovering around all morning, working the huge cottonwood in the back yard, then turning his attention to my house, sending a resounding thump thump thump throughout until we shoo him away. It seems to be a game, now-- every time Savannah gets settled, he returns, thump thump thump.

I am not a bird watcher, so I had to research this little man to figure out what he was-- while he makes it clear he's a Woodpecker, he little resembles Woody, my only real image. Our visitor appears to be a Gila Woodpecker, which resides in the southernmost parts of Arizona and New Mexico. I have no idea why he would be so far north, unless he just couldn't stand the heat anymore.

Regardless, he has added a dose of color to an otherwise white day. He's welcome-- as long as he stays away from my back door.