love hard, love fierce

our work is 
building community
making love in a world 
without gun violence
without sexual assault
without prejudices
with my imperfect self
i see into this creek
so very clear
a living foundation 
mindful of what matters
connection with others
as our authentic selves
makes for solid friendships 
for our work is listening
truly paying attention
is a most wonderful act of kindness
supporting each other to be our best
nurturing our children to be their best
so that we can tell them, 
yes, simple goodness 
has a natural rhythm 
in our world


It's raining apples

this morning's mindful stretchi imagine my loved ones
alongside me 
my feet flow
along the earth
raindrops keep fallin' on my hood
thoroughly soaked
leaves fallen in love 
turn mid-stream 
into fallen apples --
flashes of golden delicious,
pink lady,
& maple crisp


How wild it is, to let me be

My daily hike-runs keep me sane. I alternate between two local lakes, Lake Royal and Burke Lake. I do my two rounds totaling 4.4mi at Lake Royal. I promised myself before year's end, I'd hike Burke Lake's 4.7mi loop by myself. I usually circle halfway around and turn back, meeting my at-least-three-times-a-week if not everyday, a little over four miles. 

A couple of days ago, I did it. I. DID. IT. The entire Burke Lake. I have to admit, that last .3mi seemed a little more alone than it needed to be. Especially when I have my partner's worries hanging over me. Are there other people on the path? Did you bring the red bag (fanny pack with the bear spray)? I run into patches where a most welcome silence greets my morning monkey brain. What I savor most about my mindful hikes is going to my place of Alone, where I can be . . . just me. My customary woodsbath soothes me as does treading for miles with no other reason to experience that I am powerful. In that moment, I bear witness to my very own wild like Cheryl Strayed.

In my place of Alone, I exercise my emotional courage. I say a prayer for a newly eloped cousin and his love. Most recently I wander through holiday memories of loved ones, usually my Dad or best friend who are way beyond the fall's oyster blue sky that hovers above the deep roots that remind me to be brave and to keep rising up. 

So tomorrow once again, I will rise up . . . rooted. 


Where there's october

love where there's October
enthralled by all that i discern
through my vivid warm filter
only there is no lens
vivid warm befalls me 
and i dare not shy away 
from October's sparkle
or its ripened glow


Tastes like autumn

somewhere in the intersection of leaves fallen 
yet not turned in color
and the lakeside grass that smells of muddy green,
campfires burn of ruddy brown,
and the mid-morning sun sounds boldly yellow
amidst the wonder of blue.
this autumn taste is what i crave
where the breeze meets my face
just close enough
i feel its breath
and i reclaim mine.


Saturday nothing

nothing like a lazy saturday morning
with my girl
freshly pressed strong cuppa in one hand
she sitting on my lap
as we gaze at the dancing leaves 
that mesmerize us with their shadows 
against the mighty woods
and she insists, 
tell me a story about your life


Blue memory

bouquets of blue daisies in the river
shades of cornflowers, soft skies and cool springs
burning wishes 
my prayers float into the sea, into the sun
this daughter's love for you
swells like the forever jersey ocean waves
reflected in my mind's eye
and every butterfly that stops by
stops me in my tracks
hello hope


August bliss

bliss is the scent of the blistering sun
sweltering in NoVA's woodlands
our invitational dips 
in the neighborhood's chlorine reprieve
refreshed with good friends

bliss is week-long madness 
with family under one roof
funning shoreside 
winning prizes
but the real swag lies in 
our intimate cold brew moments
as simple as making brekkie 
as easy as prepping banana leaves
for the evening's kamayan celebration

enchanted august
teeming with birth anniversaries
we rock & bop
in smashing delight


So I remember, I have to remember

I had the honor of attending my godsister's wedding this past weekend in Jersey. Wonderful to celebrate Janel's marriage to her longtime love, Carlo, as well as be with so many of my parents' oldest friends, whose children with whom I'd grown up and are extended family cousins and whose parents we've known since they were single! The most overwhelming moment for me was the oh so lovely choreographed father-daughter dance to Barry White's "My first, my last, my everything." I stood captivated by Janel and Uncle John's moment. Simply happy. With every unsuccessful effort to hold back a surge, I found my way through the crowd to the table and grabbed my dinner napkin.

memories run breathlessly
i grasp for my Dad, we are not really there anymore
yet delighted in a suspended moment 
of gratitude for what was
once again love revvs me up
loosens the blubbering from deep within
bittersweet am i against which nothing can be done
except let go

Having not stayed in my Mom's home since Dad died almost 11 years ago, I paged through photo albums on a mission to hunt for my Holy Communion pictures, so I could share them with N. since she'll be doing the same next spring. I dug through more than 50 years of photos looking for the turquoise album with a golden diamond design etched on the cover, whose cellophaned sleeves were folded in threes . . . and finally found it. 


Here I am

Twas Wimbledon Sunday, which meant while A. was watching the final men's match, I took myself to church, a much needed visit w. Goddess Nature. Since N. has been on summer break, I've tried to creatively strike a balance between enjoying doing nothing (so she can figure out what to do with herself when she complains "I'm bored" amidst way too many toys that no matter our monthly donations, more make their way into our home and mountains of books, blank notebooks, colored pens, markers and art kits) and experiencing summertime complete with murals, pillow fights, taiko drums, pooltime and piano and theater camp, along with sprinkling Tagalog/Ilocano, math and reading fun too. Not to mention the challenge of limiting screen time! Also trying to make up for last summer which was super difficult what with my being in and out of the hospital. 

So took myself to church this morning . . . to save my sanity.
enchanted am i 
when lakechurch surprises me
waterfall calls out
here. i. am.



nighttime danceoff flit
kids chasing after fireflies
summerbeat's rockin'


Summer solstice

as i wash the dishes
and glance out the kitchen window
a simple white winged friend
lands on our deck's butterfly flowers
a sure sign of summer solstice
this white butterfly with its delicate petal wings
sits for 
just a moment 
on its purple throne
if only for three seconds
and reminds us 
that angels watch over us


Edge of June

everyday hikes
along the lakeridge
green bursts everywhere
in the water
like emeralds and peridots to vivaldi's spring
my daughter's first grade school days wrap up
i tread the muddy path 
quickly and wipe out
a fallen branch scrapes long down my arm
and rising hurriedly & embarrassed
slowly & cautiously
i crack up
on the edge of June


In love with spring

o bring me peace --
i hike alone
in springtime's reflection
let beauty and kindness flourish
lush and deep like the woods
that whisper,
be here
with me
right now


Grieving wild things

So much to grieve for the Earth, especially on Earth Day. Losing nature and wild things, the loss of plants, animals, habitats. Saying goodbye to pieces of the ocean, species, trees and clean water. It can be devastating. Heavy and overwhelming. Despite this sadness, walking along the edge of the wild is a healing act. 

This afternoon, as I took my woods bath, I grieved my disabled-autistic-deaf-nonverbal-gesturing brother's 50th birthday (April 21st). Before autism was an everyday word, some professionals may have labeled him a 'wild thing.' Every birthday of his, I look at photos that my cousins send online and feel that familiar distance. My primary knowledge of him is through photos, other than my trips to the Philippines since I was 12 years old. My last one was 15 years ago. During my anxiety-ridden twenties, my therapist supported me in acknowledging and learning how to cope with my survivor's grief. And so every birthday of Michael's, I am reminded how blessed and abled I am as well as how heartbroken, brave and strong my Mom is. I don't think my or my Mom's guilt has disappeared. It just sits there buried deep in our hearts. My Mom never speaks of her guilt, but I know it's there. Me? I like to think I have learned to deal, but the feels creep up on me, especially on his birthday, and I make every effort to just sit with my complex grief. 

This year, Manong Michael's birthday happened to fall on Easter Sunday, and my Mom is there to celebrate him. 

And so during my hike, I drowned myself in the quelling noise and perfume of wild things, sending loving energy to my Mom and Michael as they share mother-son time together.


Into the woods I go

into the woods i go, 
to be mindful.
the larger than life pileated woodpecker comes knocking
with its flaming peaked head and ravenesque body, 
a foot long like a boulevard hotdog

into the woods i go, 
to acknowledge that life is full.
the blood orange winged blackbird 
who hovers lakeside as somber 
as all the black we used to wear 
during our love of depeche mode 
and new order in the '80s
my very own woodlands creep 
with the most invasive weeds 
yet daffodil cheery
like the bed of buttercups that lies in front of Lincoln
who sits statuesque 
next to my second home of 13 years

into the woods i go, 
to find my soul. 
the clamor fills the darkness 
as it swells with 28 species of frogs
they keep my woodslands healthy and mosquito free
a lively chorus of spring peepers
like dusk's rush hour lullaby 
of jersey city's summer crickets 
in the basement of my nunda avenue home


Spring enchantment

i have the lakescape, 
rapturous trilling tree frogs, 
whose chirping travels deep into the March night,
and prayerful poetry
they are more than enough 
as i await the art of Spring



I patiently await the warm Spring sun . . . 

to deal with the
i veer off course
and happen upon a path not taken
no footsteps behind me
none in front of me
only the soft ground 
drenched by the season's wintry mix
waiting for spring's creeping greenery
my feet quicken
eager to see where this moment leads . .  
to . . . 
this afternoon's private haven --
a familiar creek's rush


Wonky weather

The weather down here in nothern Virginia has been pretty wonky. One moment spring sun, the next a wintry mix. Call it climate change, call it global warming. Either way, our county seems to be going for a record breaking no full week of school since the new year what with two-hour delays, snow days and professional work days. 

And when my 6.5-year-old happens to catch a rainbow like she did last weekend, it's an impromptu moment of prayer. A doorway into a mindful moment when I throw a couple of words together, just a simple thank you . . .

i pay attention, 
warm winter Rain. 
you may approach early, 
in the Mist, 
she tells me, oh look up!
there you are, 
a Rainbow's surprise. 
and for an instant, 
i listen to Her silent voice. 


Run soft, run fierce

Currently on day 24 of my Dedicate challenge Yoga with Adriene, I've been gingerly trying poses out on my stomach. I'm more sensitive than I'd like to be, but after my crazy summer, that area remains tender. Six months after my second surgery, I finally attempted a short trot in the woods. I was doing okay until it started pouring. Absolutely no one else was on the trail (A.'s constant worries nagging me that I'm putting myself in danger what with one off news stories about runners murdered in the woods), and it probably wasn't a great idea to try running in the rain. Yet it was. I usually don't mind a lone walk in the woods, and yesterday morning felt especially adventurous.

heal me, wintry rain
mucky lake breathes soft and fierce
my face caught its mist


One of my favorite things

my favorite kind of white noise 
like the snow we fall 
ever so delicately 
into hygge


Tiny gifts, big presence

It's something to be able to offer a piece of ourselves to others in our communities. I chair the PTA wellness committee at my daughter's school. Our weekly cafe meetings have shifted to my home, where we begin with a brief mindful moment. Just five to ten minutes to ground ourselves and set an intention. Yoga mats and pillows down, the combination of a centering mint candle and lavender diffuser is a tiny gift we give to each other in the new year. 
mexican chocolate & plum ginger teas
and a toasty taste of champorado
for my momma friends 
who inspire
who carry our school community
we converse and create
we carry each other
a tiny moment 
to root, to breathe
to be together
we offer our tiny gifts
that make for big presence
this new year's hopeful wellness